Cebu City government to lead “Earth Hour” tomorrow
(The Freeman) - March 24, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - To make the event more significant compared to the previous years, the Cebu City government will host the “Earth Hour” tomorrow through the Office of the Mayor and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office along with non-government organizations.

The official switch-off will start from 8: 30 pm to 9:30 p.m. This year’s celebration is themed “Shine a Light on Climate Action.”

Dubbed as the single, largest, symbolic mass participation event in the world, Earth Hour is a yearly global event when homes and offices switch off electricity for one hour.

Those who participate would shut off all lights and used appliances and electronics in support of efforts to solve the problems related to climate change and global warming.

The effort, which is on its 10th year, is also intended to raise awareness on the need to reduce carbon emission.

Former city councilor Nida Cabrera, overall head of the event, said this year’s emphasis is on the goal to reduce carbon emission and for the public to realize that there is a need for cooperation to resolve the environmental issues of the city.

As part of the observance, there is a multi-sectoral dialogue on environmental issues at the University of San Jose-Recoletos Main Campus at 3 p.m. Participants would then join others in going to Plaza Independencia for the Earth Hour program.

The program would be followed by an expected 4, 000 bikers traversing Plaza Independencia, M.J. Cuenco Avenue, Imus Road, General Maxilom Avenue, Fuente Osmeña rotunda, then back to Plaza Independencia passing along Osmeña Boulevard.

Cebu City Transportation Office Operation’s Chief Francisco Ouano said there would be at least 14 traffic enforcers deployed along the bikers’ route and an ambulance of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.

Members of   HABAGAT, which spearheads the night ride, would also deploy a number of marshals who would work with the traffic enforcers.

Verlin Basira, HABAGAT head marshal, said the night ride is open to everyone who wants to join.  She advised the bikers to wear safety gears to prevent any untoward incidents during the event.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr., deputy mayor for sports, said he supports the move of the biking enthusiasts in taking part of the Earth Hour observance.

Jake Ave, HABAGAT event organizer, admitted this is their first time to work with the city government for Earth Hour.

Aside from HABAGAT, other organizations like Sugbuanong Nagpakabana sa Kalikupan, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, and private companies such as Smart Communications, PayMaya, Voyager, and Jollibee are also joining the event.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the  Philippines has consistently registered as having the most number of participating towns and cities, earning the distinction as an “Earth Hour Hero Country” since it first joined the event in 2009.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million residents switched off the lights of their homes and offices in order to pledge their support to saving the environment.

The trend soon caught on and several other countries participated across the globe in the initiative. — Odessa O. Leyson, Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (FREEMAN)

EARTH HOUR
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