Bicol youth convene in Sorsogon for ecosystem summit in October

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Photo courtesy by xplorerboyz.blogspot.com
Photo courtesy by xplorerboyz.blogspot.com

SORSOGON CITY (18-Sept-2012/PNA) – Bicol youth will have the chance to explore innovative science-based strategies which are socially and culturally acceptable to nurture, manage and protect the region’s ecosystem when they convene here for the “Eco-Youth Summit 2012” on October 13 to 14.

“This two-day gathering of around 1,500 youth from all over the region will offer a collaborative eco-experience that is expected to inculcate into the young generation the value of our ecology, its need for nourishment and how to take part in the universal efforts toward its protection,” Roberto Gigantone, the project coordinator on Tuesday here said.

Organized by the Sorsogon provincial federation of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), Gigantone said the summit will also provide a high profile platform to encourage exchange of ideas among researchers, planners and decision makers to develop a better understanding of the complex nature of ecological systems.

While the summit will be more focused on protection being the call of the times given the fast deteriorating situation of the ecosystem due to both man-made and natural destructions, enhancing its uses for sustainable development will also be dealt with seriously, Gigantone said.

In the summit, advocacy for the rights of young people to facilitate and participate in development involving environmental concerns would be relived so that a network for them to learn and exchange ideas on a range of pressing global issues concerning ecosystem for sustainable development is established, he stressed.

“This event also seeks to make government, schools, and communities more responsive to the aspirations of youth for a better world and to place the actions, experiences and ideas of young people on local and national agenda,” according to Gigantone.

In the evening of the summit, the participants will hold a 10-kilometer Ecology Night Run, the first ever in the province whose forests, ecological parks, wildlife, rivers, lakes, watersheds and coastal resources are seriously threatened by destructions owing to illegal activities like mining, quarrying, timber poaching, hunting, and slash-and-burn farming (kaingin), among others.

The province plays host to an iron ore mining operations in Matnog town which have been subject of public protests and the operations of the giant geothermal energy project of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in its 250,000 hectare Bacon-Manito (BacMan) reservation that have been ripping forests for its exploration.

Another geothermal project is also being started by a private developer within the 350,000-hectare Bulusan Volcano Natural Park (BVNP) covering five municipalities around the active Mt. Bulusan reportedly.

The establishment of the new geothermal facility was contracted by the Department of Energy (DOE) with the Summa Kumagai Industries (SKI) that expects to produce some 40 megawatts of geothermal power following a five-year exploration and construction activities that would slash into the BVNP.

The project is under the DOE’s Geothermal Resource Energy Service Contract (GRESCO) and the SKI Construction Group Inc., a fully-owned subsidiary of First Philippine Holdings Corporation of the Lopez Group.

BVNP is a forest area gifted with lush vegetation teeming with exotic flora and fauna being home to several endangered species of rare birds and animals that enrich its biodiversity and serves as the main watershed area supplying water to thousands of households and irrigating the expansive farmlands within the towns of Bulusan, Barcelona, Irosin, Juban and Casiguran.

BVNP also covers the scenic Bulusan Lake Ecological Park, a sprawling virgin forest area that encloses the magnificent Bulusan Lake, Sorsogon province’s main eco-tourism landmark.

Illegal logging, timber poaching, charcoal making and kaingin remain unabated in the province despite the total logging ban being enforced by the national government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other law enforcement agencies.

Illegal fishing with use of dynamites, trawl, cyanide and other forbidden forms of fishing is also rampant on its municipal waters.

“These are among the issues and concerns that the youth would be dramatizing in the Ecology Night Run. This event will drumbeat our advocacy for a sustainable ecology and awaken local government officials, national government agents and other sectors into taking more noticeable measures towards ecological protection and preservation,” Gigantone said.

This night time race which would be open to community participation, according to Gigantone is also aimed at awakening public awareness on ecological protection and to introduce the roles of the youth toward this advocacy.

Participants will be required to submit waivers of liability and declaration with medical certification of physical fitness to participate.

Other activities lined up for the summit, Gigantone said are Green Supermarket, Mangrove Planting, Green Cinema Film Festival and environmental band concert “Tunog Kalikasan”, all designed to make the event more meaningful for the youth delegates, he added. (PNA)

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