NWU holds Governance forum on Tree Cutting with Father Robert Reyes

Save the Trees

Father Robert Reyes. He was noisy, yes. Not so visible like he was before very recent years, the running priest is back. Still noisy, yes.

He looks 2 decades younger than his actual age of 60 years. I presume his natural beauty and youth come from his being a true people person and living by his faith.

He says, “The roads are my pulpit. The trees are my altar. My church is the universe.”

NU Governace on Tree Cutting Forum

Father Robert Reyes joined local environmentalists, journalists, a broadcaster, students and educators of the Northwestern University; and the lone representative of the provincial government, Board Member Joel Garcia, who was gentleman enough to stand up for his own personal beliefs, government’s position and the economic gains on the other side of the coin, at a forum, facilitated by the school’s KWAGO Society. PENRO de los Reyes, like in last year’s NWU environment forum, was a no show.

Social and environment advocate and researcher Shermon Cruz says, “The forum was aimed to provide key actors the space to discuss the issue and to collaborate in exploring alternatives and options to prevent the killing of 1200 trees covering around 60 hectares of forest land in Currimao. The purpose is to get the real score from proponents, advocates and governmental authorities on the issue and to engage concerned citizens and communities by increasing awareness on the tree cutting controversy in the province of Ilocos Norte.”

Ilocos Times and KWAGO Society MOA signing

At the highly charged forum, a memorandum of partnership between the NWU-College of Arts and Sciences and the Ilocos Times (the oldest running community newspaper in Ilocos) was also signed to advance good governance, transparency and accountability in local development and environment management projects in the province of Ilocos Norte. “Like a watchdog, it hopes to impact the different aspects of policy-making and project development in the province,” adds Shermon Cruz.

Ilocos Times Editor-in-Chief Jay RamosIlocos Times editor-in-chief and a barangay captain of Laoag City Jay Ramos.

“Who are willing to die for a tree?” Father Reyes asked.

I raised my hand. Who is afraid of dying for the life and strength of a tree? How many lives, how many thousands of trees have been murdered in the last 5 years or so?

Bombo Bernard VerHappy to meet speaker Bombo Bernard Ver in person

Madonna Rabang Peta of DEFEND Ilocos comments about the just-concluded environment forum, “Nagpapakita lamang ito na dumadami na ang mamamayan ng Ilocos Norte na nagtatanggol sa kalikasan sa hanay ng mga kabataang estudyante, mula sa akademiya at kasama na rito ang mga taong simbahan. Patunay lamang ito na lumalawak na ang naabot na kampanya ng mamamayan ng Ilocos Norte kasama na ang mga na ang mga komunidad kung saan sila ang direktang apektado sa epekto ng pagkasira ng kalikasan.”

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

Northwestern University Holds Environmental Forum On Black Sand Mining

Northwestern University BlackSand Mining Forum

Yesterday, with some 300 students, I went to vote at the first ever forum on BLACK SAND MINING at the Northwestern University New Media Hall.

Photo by DEFEND Ilocos and Piso Para sa Kalikasan

Ilocanos protested all forms of mining at the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan Hall back in June (here). In spite of Board Member Joel Garcia’s withdrawal of his infamous resolution (here), the threat of black sand mining in the province continues to hang over.

PanelistsDefend Ilocos Exhibit

Representing DEFEND Ilocos, Madonna Rabang Peta was instrumental in bringing an art and photo exhibit by students in Ilocos Sur. Also one of the panelists, she gave a clear-cut presentation of the mining status in the Ilocos Region

Co-guest panelist Arthur Valente of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte says — there should be more follow-ups for fora on environmental threats and degradation, especially for the young minds to ponder on.

Anti-mining advocates, Ilocos Times columnist Steve Barreiro and Patrick Cerezo of the Kabataan party-list served as reactors.

Atty. Joel Garcia assured the attendees that he will not support black sand mining, not now, and in the future, garnering him a courteous applause.

NU Forum on BSM

Says Shermon Cruz, convenor of the black sand mining forum, organized by the KWAGO Society.

The “revealing” discussion on Black Sand Mining this afternoon is bit better in “content and context” than the SP Public Hearing we had a few months back. What was presented were real data, assessments, intensive research, case studies, immersion experiences, personal stories, legal and media views on black sand mining and its real (not potential) impacts. Students, professors and concerned citizens were exposed to real NGO-GO-GA-NGA-PO-Party list-Media talks and dynamics of mining (small and large scale), quarrying, public safety and risks, environmental governance, government enforcement issues, impact to poverty incidence, food security, public safety, resilience, climate change and others. Student questions were direct and reactions were straight to the point.

The AwakeningSharing my journey as a LEAD Movement member.Picture 050Taking out the black in black sand and the verdant in nature.NU Forum and ExhibitBleakEffects of MiningFishwith KWAGO Society
Photos by DEFEND Ilocos, LEAD Movement , Shermon Cruz and BlauEarth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

UNESCO Futures forum-workshop in Laoag: We build our cities

UNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshop

Where do governments or even ordinary citizens fail? As opposed to long-term, we tend to plan short-term. To be able to see what lies ahead and sketch a system to reach our preferred future was the focus of “Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures”, the first ever futures forum-workshop in the Philippines, organized by UNESCO in collaboration with Northwestern University and the City Government of Laoag, held at the Laoag City Hall Auditorium last week.

World-renowned futurist Dr. Sohail Inayatullah engaged participants, which included representatives from local government units, the private business sector, non-government groups and the academe, both from here and abroad.

“Back to the future — we are past our prime, we need to return to simpler times,” Dr. Sohail Inayatullah says of the need for transformation.

UNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshopUNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshop

Prior to the workshop proper, futurists from the Tamkang University, the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, Chung Ang University and Laoag’s Northwestern University shed light on futurology as a tool for recognizing issues.

Project NOAH Executive Director Mahar Lagmay, globally-recognized architect/urban planner Felino “Jun Palafox Jr, Dean Mario de los Reyes of the University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning, WWF Moncini Hinay of WWF-Philippines, Makati City Urban Development Officer Merlina Panganiban, Laoag City Mayor Chevylle Fariñas, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office Statistician John Eugene Vincent Escobar presented more or less climate change status and disaster management in some parts of the country.

UNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshopUNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshopUNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshopUNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshop

Looking back at the outputs, we arrived at a future of a participatory governed, forward-rallying society. Hereafter, the future is something You and I build.

UNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshopUNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshopUNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshopUNESCO "Resilient Cities, Brighter Futures" futures forum-workshopWith fellow local participant.

Photographed by Alex and Blauearth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014