As part of this year’s celebration of Earth Day, several officials from the Department of Education (DepEd) expressed their commitment towards conservation, preservation, and restoration of the environment in their solidarity speeches during the agency’s National Earth Day Online Celebration last April 22.
In accordance with the theme “PINASiglang Mundo,” Sec. Leonor Magtolis Briones and other invited DepEd executives, such as Usec. for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua, Usec. for Finance Annalyn M. Sevilla, Usec. for Legislative Affairs Tonisito C. Umali, and Asec. For Procurement and Administration Salvador C. Malana III, reaffirmed their advocacy of taking actions and decisions that will benefit the environment through the important role of the education sector
The Department Chief stated that aside from making general statements and promises of protecting the planet, the people, especially from DepEd, must engage in activities that will help the environment; that’s why they started their campaign of reducing the production of modular materials.
She explained that as they relied on modular materials to deliver education despite the pandemic, many trees were cut down to provide paper, which results in wanton damage to nature and floods that will also destroy more printed materials.
“During the series of storms and floods, we lost billions of pesos in printed materials which were destroyed because of floods, and if more floods come, more materials will be wasted and billions once more will be spent to replace those materials,” said Briones.
Briones also added that DepEd aims to continue the learning process despite the pandemic through the reduction of dependence on modular materials and perhaps greater reliance on technology to reach every learner around the country.
“Sama-sama tayo. Let us hold hands together. Let us help each other. Let us share technology. Let us share new ways of delivering education and let us make sure that we reach the children in last mile schools and in conflict-afflicted area, without actually destroying our environment,” Briones affirmed.
She highlighted the importance of providing a quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating education to every learner anchored on the Filipinos’ core values, particularly in being “Makakalikasan.” Furthermore, Briones mentioned that President Rodrigo Duterte specifically instructed her to teach the children to protect the environment.
Before that, Usec. Sevilla said that they integrated Climate Change Education (CCE) in the current curriculum because it is important for both learners and DepEd personnel to understand, learn, and know how to apply it.
“In DepEd, we challenge ourselves to be better actors to the environment. We need to be climate literate and proactive in caring for our nature. We need to build responsible and sustainable communities and change our lifestyles to preserve our environment and prevent further harm,” Sevilla said in her speech.
According to her, this year’s theme is a challenge for everyone to act with urgency to restore the Earth and to continue to amplify voices, raise awareness and encourage people to move, as she believed that “One minuscule action can cause a ripple effect in the ecosystem.”
As a wildlife photographer, Usec. Pascua imparted that he supports the goals of Earth Day 2021 and aims for environmental conservation as he saw its beauty as well as the threats and the slow destruction of it.
In his speech, he said that the Office of Administration sincerely supports the projects and programs related to the environment such as climate change awareness, School in Garden (SIGA), Search for Campus Heritage Trees, National Climate Change Conference (NCCC), and Manila Bay Rehabilitation. He vowed that they will continue to work towards the goal of Earth conservation, preservation, and restoration.
Meanwhile, Usec. Umali encouraged everyone to continue participating and supporting the green initiatives of the DepEd to show their care for Mother Earth and ensure a brighter future for the current and next generations.
In addition, Asec. Salvador C. Malana also expressed their willingness and dedication to initiate efforts and decisions that will enable positive environmental and social impacts and physical resource mobilization by encouraging everyone to use sustainable products and utilization of environmentally friendly technologies.
The National Earth Day Online Celebration was organized by the Bureau of Learner Support Services – Youth Formation Division (BLSS-YFD), Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), DepEd Region IV-A, and Schools Division Office (SDO) of Dasmariñas City with the support of the Public Affairs Service (PAS) and in partnership with World Wildlife Fund for Nature Philippines, Greenpeace Philippines, City of Dasmariñas and Dasca Fiber Blaze. For more information, you may visit http://bit.ly/DepEdEarthDay2021
This article was written and prepared by Amabelle Franchesca C. Boncato (Student-Journalist) and Mark Bryan A. Bautista (School Paper Adviser) from Congressional Integrated High School, Division of Schools Division of Dasmariñas, who are graduates of DepEd-DRRMS and AYEJ.org’s Green Beat Initiative: An Online Environmental Journalism Training.