With the aim of educating student leaders and helping them craft legislations with regards to local environmental issues, the 2nd EcoCongress invited different advocates and experts to talk to the delegates during the three-day event last Novemeber 30 to December 2, 2018.
With the theme of “A Futute for the Common Home” the EcoCongress was composed of students from different schools such as Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), University of Mindanao (UM), University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP Min), and University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP).
Christian Dominic Ang, the project head of the event expressed his enthusiasm on what resolutions will be made during the congress since the approved legislations would be then turned over to the Office of the Sagguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation President Jaffar Marohomsalic for further planning and action.
“I am excited to see resolutions that would give lasting impact to communities. The resolutions crafted shall be turned over to the office of Councilor Jaffar and eventually to the city council and hopefully become city ordinances,” shared Ang.
Experts on environmental issues
Multiple speakers and advocates were invited by the event organizers to inform the participants on how to craft the needed resolutions and why the environmental issues need to be addressed immediately.
The resource person invited for Day 1 was former SAMAHAN Secretary-General Amara Abrina who gave a workshop on Drafting and Lobbying Boards.
For Day 2, the participants were exposed to the different advocacies of the speakers starting with Arnold Van den Broek, a member of the Sustainable Davao Movement (SDM), who discussed the importance of Urban Green Spaces.
Other speakers were Ecoteneo Director Carmela Marie Santos who shared about her work in Ecoteneo and Project Dyesabel head Amiel Lopez who shared about his initiatives of using community empowerment in helping to reduce marine litters.
In an interview with Atenews, Santos addressed the school’s current drive to ban single-use plastics and how she sees the program going forward.
“Since it’s implementation in October 19, 2018, we’ve seen positive results so far… We’ve actually decreased our waste generation from 60% – 80% across all classifications. We’re addressing not just the plastics the single-use per se. So maybe in a year or two when we’re ready we can already start addressing our single use of paper cups. The ban is not just a ban but a switch to reusables such as tumblers and dishwashable cups,” said Santos.
Firefly Brigade founder Jack Yabut also shared his time to the student leaders to discuss his program’s advocacy of encouraging people to use their bicycles more often to reduce air pollution and promote healthy living.
“It’s a very simple act of saying “Come on, let’s ride the bicycle, join our events.” We have free monthly events and maybe two or three big annual rides. We encourage people to join not only in Metro Manila but also all across the country which is why we partner with groups such as in Davao like the Cycle for Life,” shared Yabut.
Interface Development Interventions Exec. Dir. Chinkee Pelino-Golle. During her talk, Pelino-Golle shared that the program aims to encourage water conservation and protecting known watershed areas through laws and legislation.
“I think very important ‘yung banning ng single-use plastics… We really urge the city council to pass (ordinance banning single-use plastics) because we really have to address the production of wastes. The second one is the Environment Code of Davao City. It’s the codificiation of all the environmental policies and ordinances…it’s a landmark policy consolidating all the existing ordinances,” she shared when asked on what legislations are needed to be passed immediately.
The final speaker for the event was from Urban Container Gardening (UCG) expert Jojo Rom.
In charge of crafting the resolutions were five committees, namely the committee on Terresstrial Preservation, Marine Preservation, Solid Waste Management, Single-Use Plastic, and Water Conservation.
The body also elected officials to help them organize the process in approving or blocking the proposed resolutions. Wennno Aclo, a student leader from USEP was elected as the congress’ Chairperson. Princess Villan from UP Min was voted as the Secretary-General and Caile Dayrit from AdDU was elected as Sergeant-at-Arms.
Aclo found it initially hard to follow the parliamentary rules and procedures but was still grateful for the experience and all the data presented.
“My experience as the chairperson was medyo mahirap sya sa start because we have different interpretations of the PRP na gagamitin kasi hindi ako yung nagsuggest sa format na talaga but in between medyo mga after two resolutions kay nasanay na ako sa format na gagamitin. As a delegate, maganda talaga yung talks especially about yung sustainable gardening yung parang maliit lang sya na garden, magandang idea sya and also about yumg data na pinakita.
The resolutions passed are presented below:
- A resolution urging the city council to adopt a three-month comprehensive fishing ban in the Davao Gulf and appropriating necessary budget for alternative programs for affected small-scale fishing communities in the area.
- A resolution urging that all supermarkets at malls and public markets in Davao City should ban the use of plastic grocery bags
- A resolution requesting the city council to amend and strengthen the provisions of the city ordinance No. 037171-10 series of 2009 otherwise known as the Davao city ecological solid waste management ordinance of 2009
- A resolution on coastal settlement zones of barangays to strengthen solid waste management and waste water management through community education and budget allocation for installation of sewerage and sanitation facilities
- A board resolution requiring the compliance of city ordinance No. 0298-09 series of 2009 and city ordinance No. 0310-07 of 2007, respectively known as the proper harvesting, storage, and utilization of rainwater ordinance of Davao City and watershed protection, conservation and management ordinance of Davao City
- A resolution requesting the city council to amend the solid waste management ordinance No. 037171-10 series of 2009, giving highlights on the strict implementation of biodegradable waste composting
SK President’s Executive Secretary Jamill Repors attended in behalf of Marohomsalic during the turnover of the passed resolutions.
“The Office of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation is very much open for all your proposals,” Repors shared during a speech.
The first EcoCongress was held in 2015 at Ateneo de Davao University.