NSTP Session 3: Environmental Awareness
‘Panawagan sa mga Iskolar ng Bayan’
This is in connection with the successful third session of our NSTP which tackled on contemporary environmental issues here in Cebu and throughout the whole world. Regarding the Coal Ash (sounds like Con-Ass) issue of Toledo City, Atty. Gloria, our resource speaker recommended me to share to the class the things I told her that may help them as they struggle for environment’s and people’s safety. However, due to time constraints, I was not able to share these “things” to all of you and so, I came up to an initiative to just post these in our Yahoogroups, in Facebook, in Friendster, and in our Multiply site.
Going back to the topic, my home province, the island-province of Biliran that is northwest of Leyte, and Cebu City really have the same struggle; the only difference is that ours was on mining.
Last year, our Naval Diocesan Church has found out that there was mining that was happening in a mountainous region of Caibiran (municipality) named Pulang-Yuta. That mining was run by a Chinese company who aimed to dig sulfur (an element which that place is abundant of) in order to sell them where our provincial government would be given little share from their profit. As they went further to mining, they planned to build pits for storing the mined soil.
Our Diocesan Church fathomed on mining and pits and they found out that many tragedies had already happened in the history brought by mining and establishment of pits. One was the case of mining pits in a province in Luzon (I forgot that province) where there came a time that the pits gave up and a great flashflood struck the vicinity of the mining area where hundreds of people died and suffered from the effects of the hazardous particles mined.
Alarmed and concerned that these consequences might happen in our province, our Diocesan Church with the help of its youth ministry named “Youth in Social Action” where I am a member of, took the first step to solve this issue.
WHAT WE DID?
What we did first was that we sent letters to our Governor presenting the horrible consequences of mining. Unfortunately, none from the Provincial Capitol, even the Governor, responded to our grievance. What we did next was that we never gave up sending letters to the Office of the Governor and this time, we questioned why he gave free way to the miners to mine and we also told him that we may file a case against the Provincial Government and to the miners. Maybe he got afraid, our Governor finally responded to our letters saying that he will order the miners to stop their activities and to pay back the properties that the province has lost. In God’s will, the mining in Pulang-Yuta already ceased by this year.
WHAT’S MY POINT?
What I’m trying to tell you, my classmates in NSTP, is that in the Toledo City’s Coal Ash issue, there is still hope to resolve it. I tell you now that Cebu is seeking for help from its youths and that includes us, mga ISKOLAR NG BAYAN. I told Atty. Gloria that the first and least thing I could help them is that I will be sending a letter to Gov. Gwen Garcia attaching the powerpoint presentation that Atty. Gloria presented us in the session. Should not I receive response from the Office of the Governor of Cebu, I believe, kinahanglan na jud nako inyong mga tabang maybe through signing in a signature campaign urging the Cebu Provincial government to cease the plans for building another coal plants.
NGANO MAN NGA KINAHANGLAN TA MUPARTICIPATE?
We chose or our parents decided for us to study here in UP. UP does not only envision to breed witty people but also to produce responsible youths that will help the country. It’s a fact that our education is funded by the National Government (that is why we have lesser tuition than other universities); so, to pay back what the government has done unto us, we are encouraged to SERVE our fellowmen and our country.
If we are responsible youths and citizens of this country, we should not wait for tragedies to come – tragedies that may affect not only the people around us but may also affect us. Because if that great tragedy happens, everybody can run but no one can hide from it.
Lastly, everyone heard that we proudly said during our session that we are all environmentally aware, conscious and concerned. I am happy for that! However, the challenge for us is to be true to our words, to be men and women of words, kasi nakakahiya naman ‘pag lagi lang tayo sabi nang sabi ngunit wala namang ginagawa even in little ways.
God created us to be stewards of our environment; therefore, we must act upon this main purpose why we exist here on Earth. Otherwise, our life is non-sense. In heaven, it is not how many medals or properties we have gained that will matter; it is how much we have done to serve our brethren for what we are doing to our brethren is also what we are doing to God, our Father and Creator.
Save Toledo! Save Cebu! Save Mother Earth! Save Ourselves!
[Apathy breeds injustice. Activism does otherwise!]