Loren Legarda

Green Jobs For Filipinos

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Senator Loren Legarda today stressed on the importance of promoting green skills and green jobs, stating that it would provide employment opportunities and boost climate change adaptation efforts in the country.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Environment and Natural Resources and on Climate Change, noted that there are already 3.5 million green jobs worldwide and the Philippines has the potential to generate thousands of green jobs, especially if there are more renewable energy investments in the country.

“We take note of the government’s continuing efforts to generate more jobs for our growing population. But despite the various programs to address unemployment, we still need to do more. We can encourage our citizens to train in green skills such as management in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, environmental information technology and other careers that contribute to environmental preservation,” she explained.

“We should also strengthen efforts to encourage more renewable energy investments in the country because this industry can provide thousands of jobs for our people. According to Greenpeace, a geothermal company in the country was able to employ 2,582 individuals for a 1,189-MW plant and that a 10-megawatt solar power plant can provide jobs for 1,000 people for six months during the period of construction and 100 permanent positions for its operation and maintenance,” she added.

The Senator, citing additional data from Greenpeace, said that the availability of green jobs in other nations and regions is rapidly increasing. In Europe, there are already about 650,000 green jobs created; more than 175,000 are employed in the United States’ wind and solar industries; and China has an estimated one million green jobs.

“In generating green jobs, we also need to actively promote the importance of renewable energy projects and encourage Filipinos to consider employment in green industries which provide healthier working environment,” said Legarda.

“Our path should be towards sustainable and resilient development where progress is measured not only through material wealth, but also and more importantly, through the happiness, safety and well-being of our citizens,” Legarda concluded.

Stop Exploitation Of Marine Life, Says Senator

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AS the world celebrated Earth Day last April 22, Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call to protect marine biodiversity and preserve the country’s ecosystems.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said that the country’s natural resources, especially those within our seas, are crucial to the survival of Filipinos, especially that the Philippines is an archipelago.

“We are fortunate to have been blessed with abundant natural resources. In fact, we are one of the 17 megadiverse countries, home to majority of Earth’s species. Unfortunately, we are also one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots, with a large number of species that are endangered or threatened with extinction,” she lamented.

“The Philippines also has one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems, characterized by extensive coral reefs, sea-grass beds and dense mangroves. But despite this richness in marine resources, about 3.9 million families still experienced hunger in the last quarter of 2013 and many of those living in coastal communities remain poor with 4 of 10 coastal residents living under poverty line,” she added.

“We must all work, in our own and simple yet big and determined steps, to help resuscitate our ailing environment. Let us turn away from extractive and consumptive way of living and strive to make a positive impact on our natural resources—may it be by saving on fuel, energy and water consumption, recycling, proper solid waste management or growing trees,” Legarda said.

“We must put an end to the exploitation and exportation of corals as well as the fishing and taking of any rare, threatened and endangered species. Our fishermen should stop the use of fine mesh net, explosives and other poisonous substance in our seas,” she added.

Last April 22, the Senator launched a video documentary on Philippine marine biodiversity to raise awareness on the current condition of the country’s marine life and underwater resources.

The project is a collaboration with award-winning director Brillante Mendoza, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Information Agency.

The documentary features marine videos from underwater videographer Robert “Bobbit” Suntay and his fellow videographers Jan Acosta, Boogs Rosales and Wowie Wong from the Network of Underwater Digital Imagers (NUDI).

“We celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22 and we are reminded to nurture our planet which abundantly provides us with the resources we need to survive. We are encouraged to strengthen our commitment to save the Earth and contribute to the sustainability of our nation,” Legarda said, in concluding her speech.

The senator also warned that neglecting our marine resources can result to hunger and poverty for millions of Filipinos. “Its (marine ecosystem) destruction affects the livelihood of coastal communities, our food supply, our tourism and our economy.”

Legarda: We Should Be Stewards, Not Destroyers of Nature

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Senator Loren Legarda today stressed on the responsibility of every citizen to protect the environment, stressing that “we should be stewards, not destroyers of nature.”

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, made the statement after a forest fire, which is believed to be man-made, transpired at the top of Mt. Banahaw, affecting about 10 hectares of forest land.

“It is unfortunate that even our protected areas are not safe from such a tragic event. If the forest fire was indeed man-made, we must condemn and punish such irresponsible acts, ” she said.

“This is a gruesome crime against nature, the species that live in the area, and the resources that we are tasked to conserve. Our responsibility is to protect our forests and undertake further efforts towards reforestation and biodiversity conservation. We must not betray our purpose as stewards of our natural resources. We must be accountable for the environmental impact of our actions,” Legarda added.

The Senator assured that her committee is working on proposed measures, including the National Land Use Act, the Final Forest Limits Act, and the Protected Areas Declaration Act, that will put into place tougher safeguards to protect the country’s natural resources and ensure sustainable development planning.