July 5, 2021 – Promoting green and sustainable education and practices, two Philippine Public High Schools were recognized for their programs addressing plastic problems at the recently concluded 2020 Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) – Japan Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Award.

Salvacion National High School (SNHS) in Davao Del Norte bagged the 3rd prize for their initiative titled Project Go G.R.E.E.N. (Greeneration, Rehabilitation, and Education for an Eco-friendly Nation against waste pollution), while Baay National High School (BNHS) in Abra won the Special Prize for the Best Programme Carried out in Small Schools of Less than 250 Students with their project called CHANGE (Clean, Habitable, Adaptable, and Nurturing Greener Environment).

“The Department is proud of our public schools for taking an active role in addressing pressing environmental issues in their communities. This will not only increase the awareness of our learners, teachers, and school personnel but will also generate action to find solutions to these concerns,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

The two eco-projects bested entries from 181 schools from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam that participated in the event with the theme “Addressing Plastic Problems for Transforming Communities.”

Headed by SNHS School Principal Dr. Alma Canton and Teacher Coordinator Stanley Manaay, Project GO GREEN conducts activities such as environmental awareness drive, buy-back plastic waste operation, outreach program where residents undergo training on proper solid waste management, clean up drives, an eco-caravan program for other schools, and income-generating projects like the Trash to Cash Center and selling of Eco Decors.

On the other hand, Project CHANGE, implemented by the Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O Club), BNHS Principal Hector Lopez, and Teacher Coordinator Paul John Dawal, promotes reducing plastic wastes, including clean-up activity Trash Tag, recycling program Fold a Plastic, EcoTrash Bin project, the tree planting Adopt a Forest Program, and Ecobrick Campaign that transforms wastes into modules.

Undersecretary for Planning and Human Resource and Organizational Development Jesus L.R Mateo and International Cooperation Office (ICO) Director Margarita Consolacion Ballesteros witnessed the virtual award presentation held last June 8.

“The Department of Education is very proud of our dear awardees and we hope that more inspiring initiatives from the field will soon emerge. We are also grateful for the support of the students and their parents. Indeed, not even a pandemic can hinder a joint effort where everyone is willing to lend a helping hand,” Usec. Mateo said.

Meanwhile, three Filipino educators, namely Christopher Chua of Batangas State University, Fernan Tupas of Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College, and Mildred Crisostomo of Don Honorio Ventura State University, were among the Top 10 shortlisted for the 2020 SEAMEO-Australia Education Links Award.

Under the 2020 theme “Education Innovations that Work: Enhancing Links between Southeast Asia and Australia,” the award recognizes and funds proposals that display education cooperation between the said region and country.