Hisgutanang Klima sa Mindanao: Stories from the Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula regions

By Marisol Tuso

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It is always interesting to see climate actions going on in many parts of Mindanao. When I met some Climate Reality Leaders in the Northern Mindanao and the Zamboanga Peninsula regions, I was amazed by their stories of climate actions.

In Malaybalay City, an undergraduate student of Science Education from Bukidnon State University, Jan Pauleen Corpuz, is leading a youth environmental organization to implement a Treebuk Project, advocating environmental education, climate action, and reforestation in Bukidnon. The group is leading reforestation by converting Facebook netizens engagement to tree planting. The group is turning its first anniversary next month. Kudos to the organizers and everyone behind the initiative!

In Valencia City, Mat Macote used the airwaves to advance climate discussions. He used to have a daily one-hour program in Radyo Abante on climate advocacy. He is now a dean of a college in his locality and has been mobilizing his students in climate advocacy through awareness-raising and clean-up drives.

Marian Jule Cedeño is the President of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte. She strongly advocates for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly on sustainable climate actions. The only youth and woman in the legislative body, she enacted policies addressing plastic waste pollution and depletion of aquatic resources in their community.

The pandemic has also opened the window for Mharee Lynn Eulanda Guillena of Sapang Dalaga, Misamis Occidental to organize a chapter of SEED4Com, an organization that aims to provide renewable energy solutions to last-mile communities, promote education for sustainable development, foster social enterprise through partner communities, and protect the environment and people’s health. She was also able to speak in different engagements about climate advocacy such as zero-waste minimalism.

On the other hand, newly trained leaders Stefani Chan from Ozamiz City and Isobel Ocao are now taking their first steps in the climate action journey. Stef started sharing to her friends about climate issues while Isobel is now helping us forge a partnership with Jose Rizal Memorial State University on climate education through our regular Klimatotohanan webcast.

Other climate initiatives in the region include the development of information, education, and communication (IEC) materials, Mangrove Sanctuary Development Project, policymaking in the legislative bodies, reef resilience initiatives, providing job security among indigenous Subanon women, and green peace advocacies.

Insights from the March Regional Hangout

Mindanao is home to 148 Climate Reality Leaders. At least 25% of the leaders are in the Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula regions. For this month’s Regional Hangout, most of the leaders who attended were members of the Ecological and Environmental Stability, Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Waste Clusters of our organization.

There are pressing climate issues in the region that need immediate sustainable solutions. Some identified issues include excessive fluctuating temperature due to global warming, solid waste management-related issues, deforestation, overfishing, and water sufficiency issues. The urgent need to climate-proof infrastructure and post-harvest facilities was also identified to reduce the impacts of climate-related weather events on the livelihood of farmers and fisherfolk.

It must be noted that several initiatives are already underway to address these issues. However, the lack of political will on the implementation of environmental and coastal resource management programs, including those of plastic ordinance regulation, zero waste management, and fish sanctuary and mangrove protection ordinance, among others, remain a challenge.

Climate leaders in Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula recognize that it is crucial to choose leaders who are ready to put the climate and environment agenda front and center of their plans. Moreover, they recognize that it is important to advance climate change and environmental education in our communities.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
 

Marisol is the Mindanao Coordinator of The Climate Reality Project Philippines. She has been working in the development sector for 16 years. She is a specialist in training, institution and community development, information, education, and communication (IEC), and gender and social inclusion. Aside from being a broadcast journalist since 1997,  she also served as the Project Coordinator of the Global Fund for Malaria Component Project for 10 years and as Training and IEC Specialist of the Philippine Cold Chain Project. 

ABOUT HISGUTANANG KLIMA SA MINDANAO

Hisgutanang Klima or “Climate Discussions” is a space that aims to amplify the climate stories and initiatives of the more than 100 Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders in Mindanao.

It is one of the monthly columns launched by The Climate Reality Project Philippines to elevate the climate discourse and strengthen climate action across all regions in the Philippines.