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12 million Pinoys pledge to save Mother Earth

A teary-eyed Ma. Luz Magallanes, mother of 18-year-old construction worker Muelmar Magallanes, who saved the lives of 30 people at the height of storm ‘Ondoy’ last year, receives the 2010 Fr. Neri Satur Award for Environmental Heroism yesterday as part of activities marking Earth Day. With her is husband Samuel (right). Looking on (from left) are NCCA executive director Malou Jacob, Education Secretary Mona Valisno, and Climate Change Commission vice chairman Heherson Alvarez. The trophy for the award was designed by National Artist for Sculpture Abdulmari Asia Imao Sr.

MANILA, Philippines - More than 12 million Filipinos nationwide have committed to do simple environment-friendly deeds that will protect and preserve the planet, surpassing the 10 million target set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Earth Day Network Philippines.

Some 12,301,866 Filipinos have promised to do simple environment-friendly acts, a month after the “10 Million Movement” was launched.

The pledges were made during the Earth Day 2010 celebration at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City yesterday.

Commitments include simple acts of loving the planet, which include participating in Earth Hour 2010, planting native trees, practicing waste segregation, using compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), switching off lights when not in use, patronizing mass transport, and using biodiesel or other types of clean fuel.

Other green acts are use of reusable grocery bags, use of a glass of water when brushing, walking or riding a bike, use of the stairs instead of elevator, putting candy wrappers inside pocket, and use of a pail and dipper when taking a bath.

The environment pledgers also vowed to recycle used water from washing clothes, not to kill or harm native plants, animals and insects, and even share their time, skills and resources to a noble environmental cause.

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The 10 Million Movement was launched jointly by the DENR and Earth Day Network Philippines last March as an activity for this year’s Earth Day celebration in the Philippines.

Environment Secretary Horacio Ramos considered this year’s theme, “Hamon ng Panahon: Climate Change; 10 Milyung Solusyon (Kilos Na! Ngayon Na!)” as timely and appropriate for it is “attuned to the global efforts to mitigate the impact of global warming and climate change.”

In his speech at the SM Mall of Asia, Ramos emphasized how the state of the environment plays a critical role in the pace and sustainability of the country’s development.

The DENR, through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), also launched yesterday a program that will give recognition to the country’s most eco-friendly government offices next year.

The DENR wants to set a new platform of competition among government agencies including government-owned and controlled corporations, which contest results would be one of the highlights of Earth Day 2011.

Participating government corporations are the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes, and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, among others.

EMB director Juan Miguel Cuna said the project aims to assess the implementation of environmental management programs of participating government offices for an entire year.

The government agencies will be rated according to how they conserve the environment through programs such as electricity conservation, waste management, water conservation, fuel conservation, air pollution prevention, greening, emergency preparedness and green procurement.

The competition will run from May 2010 to April 2011. Outstanding offices will be awarded in Malacañang on Earth Day 2011 on April 22.

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