Legarda Promotes Sustainable and Nutritious Diet, Culinary Heritage Preservation in 8th Episode of “Stories for a Better Normal” Series
MANILA, 10 July 2020 - House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, together with resource speakers, shared tips on good nutrition and diet as well as the importance of preserving local food heritage, during the 8th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic, “Nutrition, Diet, and Culinary Heritage” shown via Facebook Live. Sustainable food enthusiasts and nutrition experts joined the online conversation, including  Zenaida Velasco, National President of the Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines; Virgith Buena, Chairperson of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of Nutrition & Dietetics; Professor Luchie Callanta, College of Home Economics of the University of the Philippines-Diliman; Chef Jam Melchor, founder of the group Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement; Manuel Onalan, an indigenous Filipino organic farmtrepreneur; Sashah Dioso of the University of the Philippines-Visayas; and Asha Peri, a plant-based chef and founder of The Ecology of Food. The episode was held in celebration of Nutrition Month this July, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 491, s. 1974, underscoring the importance of proper nutrition and a diverse diet, as well as growing food in a sustainable manner. “Isinusulong natin ang konsepto ng sustainability sa ating pamumuhay upang ang ating likas na yaman ay nagagamit natin sa paraan na hindi ito nasasayang, naitatapon, o nauubos. Sa ganitong paraan, tinuturuan natin ang ating sarili na mamuhay nang wasto at may paggalang sa ating kalikasan,” said Legarda. “Ngayong idinadaos natin ang Nutrition Month sa ating bansa, nawa’y maintindihan din natin ang tama at wastong pagkain at pamumuhay para mapanatili o mapalakas natin ang ating katawan at resistensya lalo na sa panahon ngayon ng pandemya,” added Legarda.  Ms. Zenaida Velasco shared the benefits of eating a balanced diet for our mental health and wellbeing. She noted that unhealthy dietary intake and nutrient depletion can lead to mental health disorders. “Sa panahon ngayon ng pandemya, marami tayong iniisip at pangamba kaya overwhelmed tayo. Dumadagdag pa ang social distancing sa ating isolation. One of the cornerstones in supporting good mental health is food. Ang ating kinakain at hindi rin kinakain will affect our mood and behavior,” said Ms. Velasco. Ms. Buena shared tips on how to ensure that families eat healthy food during this pandemic by reading the nutrition label and eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. She also advised viewers to drink more water to avoid dehydration. “A whole-food, plant-based diet is more of a lifestyle. We emphasize whole minimally-processed food to limit or avoid animal products, focusing on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. A healthy diet excludes refined foods like added sugar, white flour, and processed oils,” said Ms. Buena.      Prof. Callanta shared the one-week nutritious and balanced cycle menu that was developed by the students of the UP College of Home Economics to help households cook healthy dishes from relief goods provided. She also shared some of the infographics they designed featuring various food rich in vitamins and minerals that can boost our immune system.  “Ngayong may COVID-19, ang unang hinihingi sa atin ay kung papaano papalakasin ang ating resistensya. Sa pamamagitan ng infographics, naglabas kami ng recipes para gawing mas masustansya ang mga delatang nakukuha nating bilang ayuda. Naglabas din kami para sa mga pagkaing mataas sa bitamina at mineral. Dumadating po ang mga ito sa mga local government units (LGUs) at ipinapaskil nila sa mga palengke, at ang iba pa ay humihingi ng permiso para maituro sa mga paaralan,” said Prof. Callanta. Chef Melchor shared the online database called Ark of Taste, which seeks to create an archive of indigenous food and ingredients from different countries, adding that Slow Food members nominate these food in an effort to promote and preserve biodiversity in grains, rice, fruits, or cooking traditions. He said that for the Philippines, there are 64 approved and archived local food and ingredients, but the aim is to document more through a complementary food mapping initiative.  “Kapag pinaguusapan ang isang produce o pagkain, hindi ito nawawala sa discussions—pwede pang itanim at ihain. Kapag hindi na pinaguusapan, maaaring mamatay ang mga ito katulad ng kultura natin. We have 64 indigenous ingredients and crops at the moment, that's why I am pushing for food mapping. Kung sasandal lang tayo sa international organizations, matagal na panahon ito bago ma-approve. Marami tayong produkto at indigenous crops na kailangan nating gamitin, pag-usapan, at itanim pa para humaba ang buhay at mapakinabangan ng susunod na henerasyon,” said Chef Melchor. Mr. Onalan, known by many as Mang Manny and an indigenous Filipino organic “farm-trepreneur,” explained the physiology of rice and shared rice nutrition and rice heritage.  “Rice relates to the political, social, and cultural context in our life in the Philippines. Rice in the cultural minorities, particularly in the Cordillera, dito na-develop ‘yung tinatawag natin na heritage, not only in the production side, but also in the consumption side. We are promoting organic rice, which is technically unpolished rice, and usually brown, black, and red. White rice is considered “desecrated” because they have polished off parts that have nutritional phytochemicals. What is left is compound and complex sugar and carbohydrates,” said Mr. Onalan. Mr. Dioso shared how environmental protection has aided Northern Antique in sustaining the basic needs of Antiqueños during the pandemic. “Noong nagsimula ‘yong pandemic, ang Pandan ang kauna-unahang bayan sa Antique na nag-register ng positive case ng COVID infection. At dahil nga sa government-imposed lockdown and community restrictions, the community resorted to backyard gardening and river fishing para ma-sustain ang pangangailangan sa pagkain. Naging malaking tulong ‘yung paniniwala at pagprotekta sa environment sa pag-sustain ng pangangailangan ng mga tao sa Northern Antique,” said Dioso. Ms. Peri gave a quick overview of the “Ecology of Food,” a plant-based nutrition course, and encouraged people to cook their own food using local, organic, and biodiverse food. “As an educator and chef, when I prepare food on my plate and when I teach, I tell my students that our plate should be a reflection of the biodiversity that grows in the fields, as practiced by our permaculturists, biodynamic farmers, and agri-ecologists, where we grow different crops together instead of just one crop. When we talk about nutritionally diverse food, this can only come from local, organic, and seasonal sources,” said Peri. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities to lead sustainable lives towards a healthier, safer, and much better normal than we used to have.   This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation. Episode 8 may be watched on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/conglorenlegarda/videos/320743009090549/) and on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea2jxzqdiGs).
July 10, 2020 Friday
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Legarda Supports GCA Call to Action on Sustainable and Resilient COVID-19 Recovery
MANILA, 10 July 2020 — House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, as one of the Commissioners of the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), has joined a Call to Action for governments and businesses to integrate climate resilience into their COVID-19 recovery packages.  The GCA issued the statement, Call to Action for a Climate-Resilient Recovery from COVID-19, urging world leaders to integrate climate resilience in decisions at all levels of government, and calling on businesses, organizations, and communities to do the same with particular focus on resilience in infrastructure and financing.  The statement put a spotlight on the threats arising from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of people’s health, well-being, and livelihoods and how these will be multiplied by the worsening impact of the climate crisis with more extreme storms, droughts, heat waves, food crises and diseases. “The raging COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the sobering reality that the world is not as advanced, prosperous and as resilient as we thought it to be. We have realized that our societies and economic systems are fragile and dependent on the health of our natural environment, and that we are only as strong as our most vulnerable,” said Legarda. “As the GCA has observed, “The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically exposed the risks humanity faces and how unprepared we are to respond,” she added. Legarda said that the Call to Action builds on the Commission’s 2019 flagship report, “Adapt Now”, laying down a triple dividend from embracing climate adaptation “by averting future losses, spurring economic gains through innovation, and delivering social and environmental benefits to everyone, but particularly to those currently affected and most at risk.” The GCA seeks to raise the profile of adaptation work by bringing together stakeholders and investments along seven Action Tracks: locally-led adaptation, urban resilience, water resources management, social safety nets, food security, nature-based solutions, and disaster prevention. These sectors are considered the most vulnerable to climate impacts or most critical for climate action under international frameworks including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Paris Agreement on climate change, and Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.  Legarda said that she will work with the Climate Change Commission towards ensuring that the need to strengthen public health standards to fight COVID-19 is aligned with the goals of a sustainable and resilient pandemic recovery. She recently authored and sponsored House Bill No. 6864 or the “Better Normal for the Workplace, Communities and Public Spaces Act of 2020,” which seeks to establish safety measures and protocols in place in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and emphasizes the significance of pursuing sustainable pathways, protection of biodiversity, and the strict implementation of environmental laws. “I hope that this crisis has taught us well to be more cautious and approach today’s risks with concrete measures that will diminish our present vulnerabilities. As the world responds, it must build back better, towards a recovery that values the complex and interconnected relationships of human health, the economy, the climate, and the environment,” Legarda concluded. 
July 10, 2020 Friday
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CCC, OML Center Hold Virtual Press Launch for Klima Film Festival
MANILA, 10 July 2020 —The Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the Oscar M. Lopez (OML) Center held the Klima Film Festival Press Launch on Wednesday, 8 July 2020, encouraging more of the youth to sign up as teams and participate in climate film labs, in an event streamed via Facebook Live through CCC’s Facebook Page.   The KFF, a joint initiative with the OML Center as part of its Balangay Project, aims to reach out to various young filmmakers all over the Philippines and inspire them to tell stories from their own communities.   “We conceptualized the Klima Film Festival, together with the Oscar M. Lopez Center, by putting emphasis on the biggest challenge of our time that is climate change, and the vital role of our youth in driving climate action. This project will not only give our youth a platform to exhibit their creativity but also enable them to champion climate justice and sustainable development,” said Commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera of CCC during her welcome remarks.   “The genesis of this activity is really the realization that we, the Oscar M. Lopez Center, as a science organization, needs to be more than just about science. We need to communicate. We need to tell stories - not just one story. Because if you think about climate, there are a lot of local stories. So what we want to do is use science while interacting with various sectors of society to help them effectively tell their various narratives, especially the youth from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” said Dr. Rodel D. Lasco, Executive Director of the OML Center.   Rep. Edgar M. Chatto of the 1st District of Bohol, Chair of the House Committee on Climate Change, graced the launch and expressed his full support to the project.   “Dalangin ko na sana ay maging makabuluhan ang inyong mga maikling pelikula na siyang magmumulat sa ating mga kababayan, maging sa ating mga pinuno sa gobyerno -- kamulatan na siyang pupukaw sa kanilang isip at damdamin upang kagyat na kumilos upang mabigyan ng lunas ang climate change at maisalba ang inang kalikasan at ang sangkatauhan,” said Rep. Chatto.   House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, who authored several environmental laws including the Climate Change Act of 2009 which created the CCC, also expressed her support to the KFF.   “To our youth, use this platform to make your voices be heard. I believe that you are the most active partners in challenging development norms, politics, governance, and leadership. Each of us has opportunities to make a difference for our future. We must take hold of the opportunity to responsibly manage our environment and lead the way towards resilient and sustainable development,” said Rep. Legarda in her message.   Open to all young filmmakers aged 16-22, the KFF opened its registration on June 30 and will end on July 31, 2020.   The full guidelines, mechanics, and submission requirements can be viewed at https://climate.gov.ph/events/klima-film-festival, or through the Facebook accounts of the Climate Change Commission at facebook.com/CCCPhl, and the Oscar M. Lopez Center at facebook.com/OscarMLopezCenter.   Watch the replay of the Klima Film Festival Digital Press Launch through this link: https://www.facebook.com/CCCPhl/videos/665185324077361/.
July 10, 2020 Friday
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Nutrition, Diet, and Culinary Heritage in 8th Episode of “Stories for a Better Normal” Series
MANILA, 8 July 2020 – For the eighth episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways,” with a topic on “Nutrition, Diet, and Culinary Heritage”, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, together with food experts, will share their knowledge on good nutrition and the importance of preserving local food heritage through sustainable diets.   The episode will air on Thursday, 9 July 2020, 10 AM, via Facebook at facebook.com/conglorenlegarda and facebook.com/CCCPhl/. Joining Legarda are nutrition experts and sustainable food enthusiasts Ms. Zenaida Velasco, National President of the Nutritionist-Dietitians' Association of the Philippines; Virgith Buena, Chairperson of the Board of Nutrition & Dietetics, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC); and Assistant Professor Luchie Callanta from the University of the Philippines. The episode will also feature Chef Jam Melchor, founder of the group Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement; Mr. Manuel Onalan, indigenous Filipino organic "farmtrepreneur"; Mr. Sashah Dioso from the University of the Philippines Visayas; and Ms. Asha Peri, founder of Ecology of Food and a plant-based chef.  A staunch advocate of the preservation of indigenous culture, health, and environment, Legarda authored House Bill No. 637 or the Food Forest Gardening Act, which highlights the importance of establishing food gardens as a sustainable practice to help ensure food security and adapt to the impacts of climate change.  The previous episodes of Stories for a Better Normal featured backyard farming and food gardening, saving seeds, and planting organic fruits and vegetables the permaculture way in order to teach urban farmers how to be self-sustainable and self-sufficient.  This upcoming episode will highlight how maintaining a healthy diet to support a strong immune system can help Filipinos cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Legarda will also underscore how a sustainable and resilient food system can help preserve the culinary heritage of Filipinos. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.             This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation.
July 08, 2020 Wednesday
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CCC Further Mainstreams Gender, Emphasizes Integration of Gender-Responsive Principles in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Programs
MANILA, 7 July 2020 — The Climate Change Commission (CCC) today announced that it is ready for Level 3: Gender and Development (GAD) Application from its previous status of Level 1: Foundation Formation, following the Philippine Commission on Women’s (PCW) initial assessment of the CCC’s Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework (GMEF).   The CCC said that the presentation of the results of its GMEF last year and the submission of its Gender Audit Report are part of its commitment to mainstreaming gender, while aligning with the national policy to allocate 5% of every agency’s budget to GAD initiatives. It also emphasized that gender-responsive principles must be applied in all climate adaptation and mitigation programs in the country.   The CCC’s GMEF were assessed of its gender mainstreaming initiatives based on policies, people, enabling mechanisms, and projects, activities, and programs (PAPs).   The GMEF is a tool that identifies the status and/or progress of government agencies in mainstreaming gender and development in their respective organizations, particularly in their systems, structures, policies, programs, processes, and procedures, in line with the implementation of the Magna Carta of Women and other GAD mandates, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   In terms of policy, the PCW highlighted the adoption of CCC Resolution No.2019-002: Mainstreaming and Strengthening Gender-Responsive Approaches in the Formulation and Implementation of Climate Change Policies, Plans, Programs, and Activities; the issuance of CCC Office Order No. 2018-022: Constitution of GAD Focal Point System based on RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, Chapter VI Section 36.b; the issuance of statements supporting gender and climate change at national and international levels; and the integration of GAD perspectives in national plans, such as the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) and the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change (NFSCC). The PCW also positively noted the continuous advocacy on gender and climate change at the international level, such as the appointment of gender focals in the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the active participation in mainstreaming gender in UN climate talks.    In terms of human resource, the CCC is said to have a gender-balanced and gender-supportive management and is gender-inclusive in hiring personnel; while in terms of enabling mechanisms, the CCC initiated exploratory activities with PCW and other organizations to facilitate gender mainstreaming, such as in the development of the Green Jobs Certification and Standard process, NDC consultations, and the NCCAP monitoring and evaluation (M&E) validation process, as well as the forging of Memorandum of Understanding with PCW on gender and climate change and the practice of collection of sex-disaggregated data.   In terms of PAPs, the PCW highlighted the integration of gender concerns during the conduct of 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation (APAN) Forum, which was co-hosted by the CCC with partners in the region, the 2nd National Convention on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCA-DRR), and the UNFCCC negotiations; the conduct of consultation activities with internal and external clients to identify gender issues in the climate change sector and its corresponding strategies; and the consultation with the PCW and partner agencies and relevant organizations in its GAD mainstreaming efforts.   The CCC stated that while the Level 3 status—up by two levels from previous assessment—is already a positive indicator of its efforts to effectively mainstream gender, much work needs to be done as it strives to achieve the highest, which is Level 5: Replication and Innovation, where GAD programs are institutionalized and replicated in other agencies and offices and where peoples, policies, enabling mechanisms, and PAPs are further enhanced based on the results of GAD M&E.   The CCC has always expressed that climate change is not gender-neutral—that the societal roles and responsibilities of women and men affect the way they experience and cope with climate impacts, which already aggravate existing gender inequalities. On the other hand, this very vulnerability of women makes their insights and experiences extremely valuable in planning and implementing climate action.   It is therefore the CCC’s commitment to ensure that the aspect of gender equality and empowerment in climate action, which is already enshrined in international and national policies, is demonstrated in our country systems and processes.
July 07, 2020 Tuesday
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CCC, OML Center Launch Klima Film Festival for Young Filipino Filmmakers
MANILA, 7 July 2020 — To showcase the creativity of young filmmakers in advocating for climate action through short films, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the Oscar M. Lopez (OML) Center have teamed up to launch the Klima Film Festival for original short films revolving around the theme, “Adapting For A Sustainable Future”.   A Digital Press Launch will be streamed on Wednesday, July 8 through the CCC’s Facebook Page at facebook.com/CCCPhl. Media people can register through this link: bit.ly/KFFPressLaunch.   The Film Festival, dubbed as KFF, is part of the OML Center’s Balangay project which aims to chronicle the stories of the changing climate in the context of the Filipino experience and how it has shaped the Filipino identity and culture.   All interested participants shall form a team with a maximum of ten (10) members aged 16 to 22 years. The representative of the team shall register online through this link: bit.ly/KFFSignUpSheet. Registration is from June 30 until July 31, 2020.   Before submission of films, participants are required to attend a series of free online workshops, including a climate change seminar-workshop and climate film labs, to deepen their understanding and appreciation on the science behind climate change and of film as a medium to mobilize community action.   After attending the climate change seminar-workshop, each team is required to submit their film concept/synopsis before they may proceed to participate in the climate film labs.   After completing the climate film lab activities, teams must ready their films. Submissions shall include: the short film in the form of narrative fiction and running between five (5) to seven (7) minutes; a 30-second trailer; an official poster (18’ x 24’); and behind-the-scenes footage. The film may be in any Philippine language but must have either English or Filipino subtitles.   Entries should be original. Any use of material (footage, music, etc.) not originally produced or owned by the team must secure permission from the original copyright owners. The submitted film will be co-owned with the CCC and the OML Center and shall be used as part of information, education, and communication (IECs) and promotional materials only.   Entries should also adhere to the MTRCB Rated-G classification on movies and may not contain any violence, explicit scenes, and foul language.   All entries may be submitted to the address klimafilmfest@gmail.com with the subject format, “KFF Entry | Team ID Number” until 12MN of October 23, 2020.   The Klima Film Festival shall announce the Top 10 finalists where the chosen Best Film, 1st Runner Up, and 2nd Runner Up shall receive cash prizes of Php 50,000, Php 30,000, and Php 20,000, respectively. The remaining seven (7) finalists will receive Php 5,000 each.   Special Awards including for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Musical Scoring, Best Performance, Best in Research and Content, Audience Choice Award, Best Poster and Most Liked Teaser, will also be given and shall receive Php 3,000 each.   Awarding will be in time for the 2020 National Climate Change Consciousness Week to be held online in November. For more details, visit the official Facebook page of the Climate Change Commission at facebook.com/CCCPhl, or its website at climate.gov.ph/events/klima-film-festival. 
July 07, 2020 Tuesday
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Legarda: “Everyone Must Benefit from Permaculture”
MANILA, 2 July 2020 — On the seventh episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic, “Saving Seeds and Growing with Nature,” House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda and experts shared the basics of permaculture and encouraged individuals and households to start saving their own seeds and grow food in a manner that heals nature. Joining Legarda were permaculture practitioners and seed saving experts and enthusiasts, including Bert Peeters of the Philippine Permaculture Association; Jabez Flores of Permaculture Research PH; Rina Papio of Green Space Pilipinas; Karen Hizola of Global Seed Savers PH, and Dr. Blesilda Calub of the University of the Philippines - Los Baños.  Environmental lawyer Atty. Ipat Luna; Earth Leader and founder of Kai Farms Karla Delgado; and DowntoEarth PH founder Atty. Paula Aberasturi joined as panel reactors. Mr. Bert Peeters described permaculture as designing with nature through an ecosystems and biodiversity approach. He also explained how permaculture empowers communities. “Permaculture in action entails working with a lot of local government units (LGUs). It is being able to make products that are locally relevant with the abundant materials that are in the area. It is also teaching people how they can craft and use raw materials into something useful like baskets or bamboo bikes, or wines and juices,” said Peeters. Mr. Jabez Flores talked about the permaculture and biodiversity mapping of the Philippines, which is an essential tool that allows farmers and researchers to visualize the geographic location of their potential sites, determine the available resources, and identify farm components.  Flores also highlighted that there are species that act as natural pest control, seed dispersers, or pollinators, thereby making the entire ecosystem more functional and resilient. “Permaculture landscapes are designed for diversity. The aim is not just to promote biotic diversity with crops, wildlife, and trees, but also biophysical and sociocultural biodiversity as well, which are sometimes neglected in the design,” said Flores. Ms. Rina Papio discussed the importance of soil health and illustrated new ways of turning food waste into healthy soil through Bokashi composting. “Whenever we send our food waste to the landfill, we are throwing away a valuable resource that can help build soil. It’s time we make a change from being land fillers to land healers,” said Papio. Ms. Karen Hizola showed the basic steps of seed collection and storage, encouraging more people to adopt seed-saving practices as she highlighted their benefits. “Why are seeds very important in our lives, especially sa panahon ngayon ng pandemya? When you hold a seed in your hand, it is like holding the past, the present, and the future because mayroon kang record ng kung ano mang tanim ang na-produce ng seeds na 'yun. You are holding the future in your hand because seeds are actually self-replicating and key in making sure that we are able to flourish in the future” said Hizola. Dr. Calub explained how the UP Los Baños and its surrounding communities have benefited from the school gardens, home gardens, and community gardens through their mentorship and learning resources. “We made use of the school gardens as an open air classroom for teaching Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan, Science, Math, and English. We integrate in these subjects the science of food and nutrition, organic agriculture, edible landscaping, climate resilience, and composting from biodegradable wastes,” said Dr. Calub. Legarda, author of House Bill no. 637 or the Food Gardening Act of 2019 and Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law, reiterated the need for every household to implement segregation of food waste and composting in practicing permaculture. “There’s so much we could do together to help implement existing environmental laws. When we design small or big farms in rural or urban areas, let’s make sure that every local government, people’s organization, and citizen can understand, implement, operationalize, and benefit from permaculture,” said Legarda. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities to lead sustainable lives towards a healthier, safer, and much better normal than we used to have. This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation.
July 02, 2020 Thursday
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Saving Seeds and Growing with Nature on 7th Episode of “Stories for a Better Normal” Series 
MANILA, 29 June 2020 – On the seventh episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways,” with the topic, “Saving Seeds and Growing with Nature,” House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, together with resource persons, will discuss the basics and benefits of permaculture and the importance of saving seeds in ensuring food self-sufficiency.  The episode will stream on Facebook Live on Thursday, July 2, 2020, 10:00 a.m. at facebook.com/conglorenlegarda and facebook.com/CCCPhl/. Joining Legarda are permaculture and seed saving experts and advocates, including Karen Hizola, Executive Director of Global Seed Savers Philippines; Dr. Blesilda Calub from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños; Bert Peeters, founder of the Philippine Permaculture Association; Jabez Flores of the Permaculture Research PH; and Rina Papio, founder of Green Space Pilipinas. Reactors will include Karla Delgado from Kai Farms and Atty. Paula Aberasturi of Down to Earth PH. Legarda, author of House Bill No. 637 or the Food Forest Gardening Act of 2019, highlighted in previous episodes the importance of establishing food gardens as a sustainable practice to help ensure food supply and availability, while helping address climate impacts. This upcoming episode will also provide practical tips to encourage households and communities to save their own seeds and grow food the permaculture or organic and sustainable way. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities to lead sustainable lives towards a healthier, safer, and much better normal than we used to have. This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation.
June 29, 2020 Monday
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Legarda Calls for Mass Access to Mental Health Care Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
MANILA 26 June 2020 – On the sixth episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic, “Mental Health and Wellness: Coping in the Time of COVID-19 and Disasters”, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, together with resource speakers, discussed the importance of mental wellness as we cope in this time of COVID-19 and disasters.   Joining Legarda in the discussion were mental health experts Dr. Rene Samaniego, Former President of the Philippine Psychiatric Association; Dr. Jasmine Vergara, National Professional Officer on Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization – Philippines (WHO); and Prednison Morales, Psychosocial Support Focal Person and Registered Social Worker from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).   Dr. Samaniego discussed how COVID-19 affected more the psychosocial well-being of frontliners, households with confirmed cases or deaths due to COVID-19, and those living in areas with a high number of cases. He shared tips on how healthcare professionals and frontliners can take care of their mental health and deal with feelings of hopelessness or helplessness in this difficult time.   “This is not the first time we’re dealing with a crisis, whether personal or collective, but this may be the biggest one yet. It is important for us to tap into the resources that we have been able to accumulate over time. Hindi naman po tayo completely helpless about the crisis because we have dealt with crisis in the past. There’s a beginning and end to everything, so we would just need to see ourselves through this,” said Dr. Samaniego.   Dr. Samaniego also emphasized that it is important that all workers have access to COVID-19 testing and receive adequate emotional and moral support. He also said that employees will have a sense of security if there is a commitment from their employers that they will receive support in the event that they become ill.   Dr. Jasmine Vergara emphasized that maintaining mental health, defined by the WHO as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community,” is also a priority in the current pandemic.   Dr. Vergara also provided advice for health workers, managers of health facilities, people who are looking after children, older adults, people in isolation, and the general public to look after their own mental health during this pandemic. She also discussed the WHO’s stress management guide.   “Difficult thoughts and feelings hook us and pull us away from our values. When we engage in life, pay attention to others, focus on what we’re doing and live by our values, we manage stress much better. Looking after yourself and your team members while working in COVID-19 response is not a luxury. It is a responsibility, and this also goes with everyone else and the general public. Going to the new normal, we have to be aware that it’s our responsibility to take care of our own mental health,” said Dr. Vergara.   For the PRC, Prednison Morales shared their Psychosocial Support Initiatives which aim to provide practical and basic psychosocial support for people in distress such as returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and people who are suffering or recovering from COVID-19.   “The Philippine Red Cross is always willing and ready to support our national and local governments, especially in terms of psychosocial support and psychological first aid. We want to reach out even to our barangay or local health workers. Sa ngayon po, we are working on several videos and presentations na pwede po nilang ma-access online. But for now, gusto po namin yung may direct interaction so gumagawa po kami ng mga iba’t-ibang platform kung saan pwede kaming ma-access. It can be through Facebook or Zoom, and we are more than willing to help through our local chapters,” said Morales.   Legarda, who co-authored the Mental Health Act of 2018, emphasized the need for mass access to mental health care or psychological first aid including in remote areas. She also highlighted that being productive can help people cope in stressful situations.   “Even while forced to be indoors, small accomplishments are important because it is part of our coping. People doing their hobbies like gardening, exercising, or cooking are practical approaches to cope in stressful situations. It gives us a reason to look forward to the coming days,” Legarda said.   As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities to lead sustainable lives towards a healthier, safer, and much better normal than we used to have.   This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation
June 26, 2020 Friday
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CCC on Arbor Day: Plant More Trees for a Resilient, Sustainable Philippines
MANILA 25 June 2020 — In observance of the Philippine Arbor Day, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) urged local chief executives to ensure the integration of tree planting programs and other environmental conservation measures in its local development and investment plans. Proclamation No. 643 signed in 2004 declared every 25th of June as Philippine Arbor Day to be observed throughout the nation by planting trees and ornamental plants. In 2012, Republic Act No. 10176 or the Arbor Day Act was enacted into law, mandating local government units (LGUs) to designate a day of the year to observe Arbor Day and to allocate budget for the implementation of an annual tree planting activity. The law also requires local officials to create an Arbor Day Celebrations Committee which will specify the area within the LGU where the tree planting or reforestation activity will be performed. Moreover, the law also requires all able-bodied citizens of the Philippines, who are at least twelve (12) years of age, to plant one tree every year. The climate body said that there is a need to review the compliance of LGUs with the provisions of the Arbor Day Act and to assess how it has contributed to the efforts of the government to combat environmental degradation and climate change. According to the CCC, strengthening the said law will be one of the public policy reforms and climate actions necessary to recover and rebound stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic. The CCC added that the government should ensure that the pandemic recovery will be used an opportunity to transform the country into a climate-resilient and sustainable society that is more resilient to the impacts of climate change and the emergence or reemergence of infectious diseases.
June 25, 2020 Thursday
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Mental Health and Wellness in 6th Episode of “Stories for a Better Normal” Series
MANILA, 24 June 2020 — For the sixth episode of the online discussion series “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, together with resource experts, will tackle mental health and underscore the importance of mental wellness as we cope in this time of COVID-19 and disasters. The episode will air this Thursday, June 25, 10:00 am, via Facebook Live at facebook.com/conglorenlegarda or facebook.com/CCCPhl.  With the alarming spread of COVID-19 and the sudden stringent health and safety measures being implemented across the country to contain the spread of virus, people have been reported to be suffering from anxiety, stress, and even depression. According to the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted in May, nine out of ten Filipinos are stressed due to the pandemic. Of those who experienced great stress, at least 4.2 million families experienced involuntary hunger due to lack of food to eat. Moreover, those who said the pandemic brought great stress are those who have jobs but were not receiving compensation and those who were laid off their jobs. Furthermore, several studies show that exposure to calamities and disasters, whether as a survivor or as frontliner providing assistance, can lead to a variety of mental health consequences such as development of post-traumatic stress disorder and psychological impairment.    Legarda, who co-authored the Mental Health Act while she was at the Senate, will be joined by the former president of the Philippine Psychiatric Association, Dr. Rene Samaniego; National Professional Officer on Mental Health of the World Health Organization - Philippines, Dr. Jasmine Vergara; and Psychosocial Support Focal of the Philippine Red Cross, Mr. Prednison Morales, RSW. The resource speakers will discuss the mental health challenges of COVID-19, the ways to cope with stress and to look after the mental health and well-being of the most vulnerable, and support being offered by various organizations to those who are dealing with heightened anxieties during disasters. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities to lead sustainable lives towards a healthier, safer, and much better normal than we used to have. This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation.
June 24, 2020 Wednesday
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CCC Enjoins Public to Watch New Show on PH Protected Areas
MANILA 22 June 2020 — The Climate Change Commission (CCC) is inviting everyone to watch and participate in a new online webinar called “PA Talk: Protected Areas for a Protected Future,” which will be streamed live on Facebook today at 10:00 am. The show, which is organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), in partnership with the CCC and the Office of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, will feature all of the country’s protected areas and the efforts to preserve and protect these areas from environmental degradation, climate change, and other threats. PA Talk will air as a monthly online webinar and will cover all 107 legislated protected areas in the Philippines. Today’s first episode will feature the following areas:  •    Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental •    Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape in Surigao del Norte •    Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park in Negros Oriental •    Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape in Cagayan •    Mt. Isarog Natural Park in Camarines Sur •    Mts. Iglit-Baco Natural Park in Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro This new show is launched today, June 22, on the occasion of the 2nd anniversary of the enactment of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018, which Legarda authored and which substantially increased the number of protected areas in the country from 13 to 107. Join in the livestream of PA Talk today at 10:00 am via facebook.com/conglorenlegarda, facebook.com/CCCPhl,  and facebook.com/denrbiodiversity.
June 22, 2020 Monday
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Legarda in 1st Episode of PA Talk: Protect IPs and their IKSPs While Preserving Protected Areas
MANILA, 23 June 2020 — “When we protect the trees, when we protect our source of water, we should also protect the inhabitants and those who were there ahead of us, and know their culture, their practices, their prayers, their language, and their food,” said House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, during the first episode of the online webinar “PA Talk: Protected Areas for a Protected Future” streamed via Facebook Live on June 22. The webinar is a joint collaboration between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) and the Office of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, together with the Climate Change Commission (CCC).   “Sa ating pangangalaga ng ating mga protected area, hindi lang po ang kalikasan, ang mga hayop, ang mga bulaklak, ang mga puno, ang malinis na hangin, ang lupa, at ang ating biodiversity ang pinapangalagaan. Pati rin po ang mga tao na nauna pa sa ating lahat at ang mga may karapatan sa lupa—ang ating mga katutubo. Ang kanilang kultura, kasama na ang kanilang pananamit, ang kanilang kinakain, mga gamot na ginagamit mula sa mga herbs at mga halaman, at pati na rin ang kanilang mga dasal at religious practices ay dapat din nating pangalagaan,” added Legarda   Together with DENR-BMB Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon, Dr. Rex Cruz of the CCC National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE), and DENR lawyer Atty. Ipat Luna, Legarda convened the virtual discussion which featured stories and insights from Regional Executive Directors (RED), and Protected Area Superintendents (PASU) from the first batch of six (6) featured protected areas, namely:   • Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental; • Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape in Surigao del Norte; • Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park in Negros Oriental; • Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape in Cagayan; • Mt. Isarog Natural Park in Camarines Sur; and • Mts. Iglit-Baco Natural Park in Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro.   The first episode was launched in celebration of the second anniversary of the passage of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act of 2018, and in celebration of the month of June as Philippine Environment Month.   Asec. Calderon emphasized that with the ENIPAS Act, there are now 107 legislated protected areas, covering around 7.76 million hectares, from just 13 areas before the enactment of the ENIPAS.   “Kung makikita ninyo po, in terms of land area, meron po tayong 15.7% ng ating kalupaan set aside for protected area at meron po tayong 1.4% of territorial waters set aside as protected area. Ito po ay ayon sa ating Convention on Biological Diversity na dapat po para maging maayos ang ating biodiversity at ang ating protected areas. Meron po dapat tayong 17% of our land area as protected area and 10% of our marine waters should be declared as protected area, to ensure the continuous supply of food, and at the same time, continuous management of our biodiversity,” said Asec. Calderon.   DENR-Davao RED Asec. Ruth Tawantawan and CENRO and PASU Martiniano Rotol highlighted how mossy-pygmy forests represent a complete set of an intact mountain ecosystem. They also showed “camera trapping” or surveillance cameras placed along the trails of Mt. Hamiguitan to document the movement of wild animals or human intruders.   Legarda mentioned that she filed House Bill 6973, a “DENR Enforcement Bill” which aims for the creation of the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB) in order to apprehend and defend against violators of environmental laws.   For Mts. Iglit-Baco Natural Park, RED Ma. Lourdes G. Ferrer and PASU Roberto P. Duquil also showed the Tamaraw Core Zone Habitat and how the indigenous peoples living within are contributing to the conservation of the protected area.   Legarda also called for the establishment of science and heritage museums in each of the 107 protected areas and pushed for mapping the environment, biodiversity, and culture and heritage therein, which could be done through a partnership among the DENR, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the CCC.   DENR-Central Visayas RED Paquito Melicor, Jr. and PENRO and PASU Nestor Canda highlighted that there are 427 flora and fauna species in the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park, which include critically endangered and vulnerable species of plants and animals, making the park the second most biodiverse area in the country next to Palawan. The park is also a popular venue for trekking and bird watching.   DENR-Cagayan Valley RED Gwendolyn C. Bambalan and PASU Tito M. Mangantulao shared accounts of how their law enforcement team maintains security to prevent illegal activities in the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape, which houses unique and endangered species of eagles.   DENR-Bicol RED Antonio A. Abawag and PASU Vicencio M. Cabanayan, Jr. stated how the Mt. Isarog Natural Park, nicknamed as “Vulcan de Agua,” provides an abundant water supply to its surrounding communities, and discussed the challenges they faced in terms of forest protection because of kaingin, encroachment and hunting, and seeking approval for Special Use Agreement in Protected Areas (SAPAs).   DENR-Caraga OIC Hadja Didaw D. Piang-Brahim and PASU Joseph E. Langanlangan said that they have an existing Ecotourism Management Plan in all of the ecotourism sites within Siargao, including the Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape. They are also collaborating with the LGUs to make sure that the conservation of biodiversity in the protected area is balanced with sustainable tourism and livelihood activities.   Dr. Rex Cruz, as an expert on Environment and Ecology, gave insights on the impacts of climate change in protected areas.   “Consequences of climate change related to biodiversity include species migration, pest and disease outbreaks, deforestation, forest and habitat degradation, and species extinction. There are also impacts of geohazards, like landslides and floods, in addition to the impacts of increasing temperature and variability of rainfall,” said Dr. Cruz.   He suggested expanding the network of PAs which had earlier started through government funding with the aim of monitoring long-term climate impacts on ecosystems and watersheds in the country.   In closing, Legarda reiterated the importance of knowing the carrying capacity of the country’s 107 protected areas and ensuring the strict implementation of environmental laws, such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.   PA Talk is a monthly webinar series that aims to feature the country’s legislated protected areas and the efforts to preserve and protect these from environmental degradation, adverse effects of climate change, and other threats.   The series is organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), Office of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, and the Climate Change Commission (CCC).
June 22, 2020 Monday
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Diwang Kabayanihan ni José Rizal Marapat Isabuhay sa Kasalukuyang Panahon
MAYNILA, Ika-20 ng Hunyo taong 2020 — Nakikiisa ang Climate Change Commission sa ika-159 na pagdiriwang ng kaarawan ni José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda, ang katangi-tangi nating Pambansang Bayani. Sa panahong ito ng pandemya at pagbabago ng klima ating gunitain at bigyang-pugay si Rizal sa kanyang mahalagang ambag na kaalaman sa pagpapaunlad ng pamumuhay ng Pilipino sa pamamagitan ng pagsulong ng kalusugan ng mamamayan at ng kapaligiran. Bihasa si Rizal sa napakaraming larangang pangkapaligiran tulad ng pagiging isang agriculturist, botanist, conchologist, horticulturist, ichthyologist, sanitary engineer at zoologist. Marahil lingid sa kaalaman ng marami, habang nanirahan si Rizal sa Dapitan, tumulong siya sa pagplano ng bayan nang may pagmamalasakit sa kalusugan ng taong bayan at kapaligiran. Kabilang sa kanyang mahalagang kontribusyon ang pagtatayo ng unang sistema ng patubig ng bayan, ang pagtatanim at pagpaparami ng mga puno ng prutas, ang paglikha ng mga kabuhayan mula sa mga proyektong ito, at ang pag-alis sa mga pugaran ng malaria. Sinaliksik din niya ang mayaman na biodiversity ng lupain sa pamamagitan ng pagkolekta at pagsusuri sa mga uri ng halaman at hayop, insekto, ibon, reptilya, amphibian, isda at shell na natuklasan niya at ipinakilala ang mga ito sa Ethnographic Museum sa Dresden, Germany. Kabilang sa mga species na ipinangalan sa kanya ay ang Apogonia rizali, isang uri ng salagubang, Draco rizali na isang uri ng tutubi, at Rhacophorus rizali na isang uri ng palaka.  Sa buod, inialay ng ating Pambansang Bayani ang kanyang dunong, panahon at buhay sa ikabubuti at ikauunlad ng lipunang Pilipino.  Ating ipagpatuloy ang makabayang adhikain ni Rizal. Pahalagahan at paglinangin natin ang kanyang pamana sa sambayanang Pilipino.  Isabuhay din natin ang kanyang kahanga-hangang katangiang Pilipino na may pagmamahal sa lupang tinubuan at malasakit sa kapaligiran.
June 20, 2020 Saturday
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Legarda Urges Schools, Millennials to Use Idle Lands and Small Spaces for Growing Food
MANILA, 19 June 2020 — During the 5th episode of the online series “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways” on the topic ‘Growing Your Own Food Part 2’, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda featured urban farming and home gardening tips and advice from experts and advocates, as well as urged schools and millennials to follow suit. The episode presented University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion and wife Atty. Gaby Concepcion; Dr. Carlos Primo “CP” David, chair of the Climate Change Commission’s (CCC) National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE) and UP Diliman professor of Geology and Environmental Science; University of Antique President Dr. Pablo Crespo, Jr.; Carlo Sumaoang, founder of MNL Growkits Corporation; Chef Jam Melchor, head of Slow Food Youth Network Philippines and founder of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement; Karla Delgado, Earth Leader and director of Kai Farms; and Bea Misa-Crisostomo, owner of Ritual, who all shared practical information on food gardening. Sonia Mendoza of Mother Earth Foundation, Atty. Paula Aberasturi of DowntoEarth PH, and Atty. Ipat Luna of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources also joined the online conversation as reactors. President Concepcion and Atty. Gaby shared how the UP Diliman campus started converting their executive gardens into gulayan beds, and how the UP system could further encourage individuals to jumpstart their own food gardens through videos and online tutorials. “Sa UP, mayroon tayong ilau-launch na isang programa upang turuan ang ating mga kababayan na walang bakuran para magtanim ng halaman. Karamihan po sa mga nakatira sa siyudad ay walang space. Sa TVUP (YouTube), maglau-launch kami ng tutorials kung papaano magtanim sa paso at saan ilalagay ang paso. Higit sa lahat, magtuturo kami ng hydroponics o kung papaano magtanim nang walang lupa sa loob ng bahay,” said Concepcion. Dr. David discussed his proposal, Commercial Scale Urban Agriculture: Transforming UP Diliman as a Major Food Production Area, which aims to convert some of the university’s 25-hectare idle lands into a major food production area. “Urban farming should not only be confined to our own backyards. If we look at Metro Manila, it is highly urbanized, but there are still pockets of land where we can do massive urban gardening and farming. By far, the largest open area in Metro Manila is the UP Diliman campus. The proposal is to make UP campus as a major food production area. The purpose of producing our own food connects a lot to climate change. During times of calamities, flooding and pandemic, we want our food to be within our reach and know that it is fresh and free of pesticides,” said Dr. David. Dr. Crespo shared some initiatives of the University of Antique to promote edible landscapes and resilient agriculture. “Marami tayong mga plants and herbs na akala natin hindi kinakain, pero nakakain pala. So we’ve been coming up with a book about this. We also have one project now with the Central Philippines State University that has perfected a technology on vermicomposting. We will make sure na sa lahat ng campuses ng University of Antique ay mag-vermicomposting kami,” said Dr. Crespo. Legarda then urged other state universities, colleges, and even private schools to utilize spaces and plant vegetables, edible flowers, and trees within their campus and called for the strict implementation of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001 where segregation at source, recycling, and composting practices are followed. Ms. Mendoza shared the different methods of composting, such as underground composting, clay pot composting, using tire towers, and vermicomposting, which can be done within households. Sumaoang recalled how he introduced organic grow kits in the Philippines through MNL Growkits and shared how urban gardening became a growing interest and more relatable even among millennials. “The objective of MNL Growkits is basically palitan ‘yung perception ng mga kabataan towards farming. Naglabas po kami ng grow kits. Lahat ng kailangan para mag-start magpalaki ng halaman ay nasa isang box. We really try to make farming relatable. We’re very happy to say that, after so many years of inviting people to farm, ang dami na ngayong first-time growers na talagang tuluy-tuloy na ang pagtatanim nila,” he said. Chef Melchor, an advocate for slow food and food mapping, shared his efforts on fighting food waste and promoting urban and sustainable agriculture, especially among the youth. “Our objective is to fight food waste. We also reached out to our LGUs that instead of giving out canned goods, fresh produce ang kanilang ipamigay. We also want to teach our youth na dapat ang approach nila sa pagkain is multi-faceted. Dapat ‘di lang sila active sa keyboard, pero lumabas sila para magtanim, makihalubilo sa mga farmers, at bumisita sa mga farms. Kami din pong mga chefs, hindi lang dapat nagluluto, dapat alam namin kung saan nanggagaling ‘yung pagkain,” said Melchor. Legarda supported the food mapping project of the Slow Food Youth Network Philippines mentioned by Melchor and also asked the UP System, CCC, and The Climate Reality Project Philippines to help in this initiative. Karla Delgado, an owner of a permaculture farm engaged in seed saving and education for sustainability, shared her top three reasons why we should save seeds. “One, seeds are wealth. Currently in the Philippines, most farms buy seeds. So by saving our own seeds, farms will be able to save cash in their farming operations. Two, seeds promote food security. The answer to food security is families and households planting food in their backyard, in pots, or any space they can manage. And third, seeds protect biodiversity and promote a healthy gut. Eating local, biodiverse, and organic food will keep us healthy and strong,” Delgado said. Bea Misa-Crisostomo, an eco-entrepreneur, shared her experience in establishing Ritual, a sustainable general store, and her efforts to promote biocultural diversity. “We said if we are going to do a store, then we don’t want to use plastic. We put up the store and said zero waste is the “how” and not the “what” of our business. Ritual focuses on biocultural diversity. We wanted to represent local products, heritage products, and start helping at least one farmer at a time. It works in a palengke setting because most people want access to their regional products,” said Crisostomo. To close, Legarda, a backyard farmer herself, stressed how food gardening and sustainable farming can help ensure food availability and supply in our households, while helping protect the environment and climate. “Food gardening teaches us how to be self-sustainable. It tries to correct our hyperconsumerist mindset, which is killing our planet. It teaches us to segregate and recycle, to save our seeds and plant what we eat, and to grow our own food no matter how small a place we live in. These small steps can really impact our communities in a huge way,” Legarda concluded. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities to lead sustainable lives towards a healthier, safer, and much better normal than we used to have. This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation. 
June 19, 2020 Friday
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159th Birth Anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal
 
June 19, 2020 Friday
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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
 
June 17, 2020 Wednesday
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CCC on Desertification and Drought Day: Behavioral Change and Policy Interventions are Keys to Sustainable Land Management
MANILA, 17 June 2020 — In observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought today, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) underscored the importance of behavioral change and policy interventions in ensuring the efficient and sustainable management of our lands. In line with the theme of this year’s observance, Food. Feed. Fibre, the CCC said that changing consumption patterns and enacting the right policies could send a powerful signal to producers and suppliers of the change they need to make in order to thrive in a more sustainable and better normal. In 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land revealed that the major drivers of desertification and climate change are the expansion of croplands, unsustainable land management practices, and increased pressure on land from population and income growth. Based on the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by mid-century and could peak at nearly 11 billion by 2100. By 2030, food production will require an additional 30 hectares of land while the fashion industry is projected to use an additional 35 percent of land or approximately 115 million hectares, according to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Given these figures, the climate body emphasized that the shift to sustainable consumption and production is necessary to ensure a livable and thriving planet for the generations to come. According to the CCC, there is a need to develop policies that will create an enabling environment for the private business sector to practice resource efficiency, establish sustainable supply chains, and adopt more efficient and sustainable land use and land management practices. This will require collaboration between multiple areas and levels within the government. In this connection, the CCC reiterated the call of President Duterte for the enactment of the National Land Use Act (NLUA) which seeks to ensure the sustainable and efficient use of the country’s land and physical resources. In his 2017, 2018, and 2019 State of the Nation Address, the President has asked the Congress to pass the proposed NLUA, which has been pending in Congress for two decades. Early this year, in lieu of a law still pending in Congress, the National Economic and Development Authority has initiated drafting an executive order that will institutionalize national land use planning in the country.  
June 17, 2020 Wednesday
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Growing Your Own Food Part 2 in 5th Episode of “Stories for a Better Normal” Series
MANILA, 17 June 2020 – For the fifth episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways,” as part two of the topic on “Growing Your Own Food”, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda will gather experts and home gardeners to exchange stories, approaches and practical tips on building home and community food gardens, which help in building climate resilience and ensuring food security. The fifth episode will be shown live on Thursday, 18 June 2020, 10 AM, via Facebook at facebook.com/conglorenlegarda and facebook.com/CCCPhl/. Joining Legarda are millennial urban farmers and sustainable food advocates, including Carlo Sumaoang, Founder of MNL Growkits Corporation (a team of millennials first to offer organic plant kits in the Philippines);  Chef Jam Melchor, Head of the Slow Food Youth Network Philippines and Founder of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement; Karla Delgado, Director of Kai Farms (a permaculture farm engaged in seed-saving and education for sustainability based in Silang, Cavite); and Bea Misa-Crisostomo, Owner of Ritual (a sustainable general store). University of the Philippines (UP) President Danilo Concepcion and wife Atty. Gaby Concepcion; Dr. Carlos Primo David, Chair of the National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE) of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and a UP Diliman professor on earth science and environment; and Dr. Pablo Crespo, president of the University of Antique, will also join the online conversation. Reactors will include Assistant Director Rosana Mula from the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), Atty. Paula Aberasturi of Down to Earth PH, and Ms. Sonia Mendoza of Mother Earth Foundation. Legarda, author of House Bill No. 637 or the Food Forest Gardening Act of 2019, highlighted the importance of establishing food gardens as a sustainable practice to help ensure food supply and availability while helping address climate impacts, during the previous episode of “Growing Your Own Food” aired last May 21. Part one of the topic also discussed the government’s “Plant, Plant, Plant Program” which aims to increase the country’s agri-fishery output in order to support productivity across all commodities, as well as the DA-ATI’s distribution of free household starter kits on home gardening for those living in areas with no adequate space for gardens. For this upcoming episode, Legarda will further provide practical tips to encourage households and communities to start their own home and community food gardens as well as implement ecological solid waste management. As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.             This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and Mother Earth Foundation.
June 17, 2020 Wednesday
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Legarda: Free Our People from Oppression of Immobility, Outdated Thinking
MANILA 12 June 2020 – “What we want now is nothing less than the liberation of the 88% of Metro Manila households who, because they do not have the fortune of owning cars, remain imprisoned by the lack of inclusive sustainable mobility options. And as long as we in government prioritize the minority, which is only 12% of households who own cars, how can we call ourselves free?” said House Deputy Speaker and Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda.   Legarda made the statement during part two of the sustainable urban mobility episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” streamed online on June 11, eve of the Philippine Independence Day.   “It is high time that we support a holistic approach in the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program by ensuring that it translates into building bicycle lanes and sidewalks, as well as promoting sustainability and green and blue economies. This is how we can honor the efforts of our ancestors to free our people today from the oppression of immobility and rigid, outdated thinking,” added Legarda.   Mr. Red Constantino, Executive Director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) and Legarda’s co-host for the episode, shared the study that 88% of households in Metro Manila and the rest of the Greater Manila Area do not own cars, while only the remaining 12% own at least one.   “The keyword is mobility. It’s not just about cars, not about cycling, not about mass transport. It’s moving people, not cars. It’s providing policy means, budget, and government support for the majority of the population or the 88% of people within Metro Manila —instead of the minority who actually have the means to move around in a protected way because they own cars,” said Constantino.   The episode’s resource speakers included Dutch Ambassador Saskia De Lang; Mr. Benjamin De la Peña, Advisory Council Member of the Roddenberry Foundation and a global expert on urban development, transportation, and planning; ICSC Urban Transitions Analyst Celine Tabinga; The Climate Reality Project (TCRP) Philippines Branch Manager Nazrin Castro; and Climate Reality Leader Len Jamandores. Reactors from the government included Undersecretary Frisco San Juan, Jr. of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Assistant Secretary Sheilah Napalang of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Director Anna Mae Lamentillo, Chairperson of the 'Build Build Build' Program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).   Ambassador De Lang shared the culture of cycling in the Netherlands, saying that it is the decision of the Dutch government to support safe biking infrastructure and veer away from cars to prioritize cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport.   “For the Dutch, cycling is for everyone. It is a great equalizer. You can even see the Prime Minister going to work on his bike. It gives the feeling of freedom, to be in contact with the surroundings, the sights, sounds, and smell of the city. That's one of the reasons why Dutch children are considered the happiest in the world,” said Ambassador De Lang, who also mentioned the Dutch Cycling Embassy organization’s efforts to hold Think Bike workshops, already piloted in Iloilo City, to help urban planners develop cycling route maps within a city.   De La Peña meanwhile stressed that traffic is just a symptom and that the country needs to focus on transportation. He added that transportation is not just a technical concern but also a political one.   “As Bogotá (Colombia) Mayor Enrique Peñalosa said, having a protected bike lane on a major road is a moral statement that says, “People who can only afford a one or two-thousand-peso bike are as important in our infrastructure as people who can afford half-a-million-peso cars.” If you believe that we are facing a climate crisis, you have to be for protective bike lanes. There is no way that you can hold these two truths in opposite,” said Dela Peña.   ICSC Urban Transitions Analyst Celine Tabinga presented findings on the PH Mobility survey their group conducted with MNL Moves and the University of Twente, including the top proposals to improve walking and cycling in Metro Manila.   “Active mobility (walking and cycling) can and should be made easier and safer in Metro Manila. We have to enable cycling and pedestrian infrastructure; change mindsets, priorities, and policies to move people, not cars; and generate more data to support planning and policies.”   Ms. Nazrin Castro shared how The Climate Reality Project Philippines is supporting this movement and cited initiatives that can help encourage and cultivate a culture of biking, such as extending bike loans to employees; installing showers, lockers, and dressing rooms; having coaching programs to accompany beginners from home to workplace; and incentivizing workers to bike to work.   “Our potential for sustainable urban mobility initiatives to address air pollution and curb greenhouse gas emissions is really massive. We need to grab this window of opportunity to plan, strategize, and actually implement our policies to transition our local government units to a better normal, to have a better reality for the Filipino people,” said Castro.   Climate Reality Leader Jamandores also shared how her organization and the government collaborated on the proposed Metro Manila bike lane network map, which aims to establish bike infrastructure along major roads, and provided insights on how LGUs can visualize and sustain bike lanes.   “Delegate which roads to designate as bike lanes. They don’t have to be permanent immediately, but there must be conviction from LGUs that these are lanes to cater to our vulnerable commuters. Aside from converting roads, we should also target connecting critical infrastructure, such as hospitals or schools. It’s not about how long your bike lane is, but about how many of these infrastructures are connected and servicing the people,” Jamandores explained.   While the DOTr, DPWH, and MMDA expressed support to the establishment of bike lanes and other sustainable mobility initiatives, Legarda invited them once again for another episode to clarify which agency should be leading in the planning and implementation of bike lane programs.     “The words dignified, fair, and equitable should be applied to bikers and pedestrians. The roads are our common areas, which must be shared with people who cannot afford a million-peso car. Those who walk five or more kilometers have rights just like anyone who can afford a car,” said Legarda. To conclude, Legarda greeted the viewers with: “Happy Independence from fossil fuel! Happy Independence from rigid, outdated thinking!”   As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities to lead sustainable lives towards a healthier, safer, and much better normal than we used to have.   This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation.
June 12, 2020 Friday
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