Recent eco-initiatives

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Sir Al Arquillano is a very quiet man. He is more of an action person than a speaker. His achievements in San Francisco, Camotes are globally and locally known but Sir Al remains very simple, very humble, and still so enthusiastic to reach out to anyone interested about people and community empowerment, disaster resiliency, and, environmental awareness and protection, among others.

During a brief reunion last Wednesday, Sir Al mentioned their present campaign in San Francisco encouraging everyone to "go environmentalism" as a tribute to their father, former San Fran Mayor Alfredo Seno Arquillano Sr. " He really was the first to initiate and inspire change in our town. His vision was to develop a peaceful Sanfran, where there was no abuse of power and everyone treated equally, through sincere and dedicated service for and with the community residents.

Sir Al Jr. said they requested various sectors to come up with their own idea to celebrate the environment through some simple sustainable activity that will make everyone aware and be inspired to protect the environment from this year on. We will share with you these eco-initiatives of the Sanfran constituents after getting updates from Sir Al soon.

This week, we also received a request from Teresa Ruelas, Program Director of "the Liwanag World Festival 2015 which engages audiences to deeply talk about the systemic issues of many change movements in society, one centering on Genetically Modified Organisms, Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture."

According to a press release written by Ruth Mercado for this group, "movements to stop the production of genetically modifying organisms did not seem to raise as much alarm in Cebu City as when City Councilor Nestor Archival proposed an ordinance that would protect agricultural land and farmers against the threats of genetically modified crops. During a public consultation, it was found that the interlocking issues to stop Genetically Modified Organisms involve organic and sustainable agriculture on one end versus the consumption patterns, eating lifestyles and the fastfood economy on the other."

"To date, the increase of fast food chains, restaurants and hotels have created extreme pressure in the production of meat, fish, and vegetables. The National Statistics Office in 2012 disclosed that the country had a total of some 13, 119 establishments engaged in food and beverage activities. Of the total number, fastfood chains ranked second with 2,535 establishments next to restaurants with 6,917 establishments. It was also found that 90 percent of these fast food outlets were franchised."

"With the increase of fast food restaurants in Cebu and in the rest of the country, so will there be an increase in the demand for poultry, potatoes, beef, eggs, vegetables, and processed food. Marketing gimmicks like eat-all-you-can, unlimited rice and value meals, all increase demands for poultry and other meat-based products, rice yields, and other carbohydrate-filled food."

"This demand adds pressure on suppliers to alter organism growth so as to increase production. Changing lifestyles in consumption patterns to fastfood and processed food have created environments that justify continued use and consumption of genetically modified organisms. "

"Hence the movement to stop Genetically Modified Organisms may entail more than just stopping the production and treatment of produce to genetic engineering and glyphosate inputs, there may be a need to rehabilitate both the poisoned soils until they are petrochemical free, as well as the ways we eat and the places we source our food and sustenance."

"In the meantime, finding time to cook meals at home, do some vegetable landscaping or simply staying away from fastfood restaurants can help alter the demand for GMO-based products. Stopping GMOs may take a movement of a lifetime. Still it begins with an inner conviction of regulating eating habits in fastfood restaurants and simply saying "NO" to eat-all-you-can and value meals."

Those of you who may be more interested to join more discussions on the issues surrounding the anti-GMO movement and other movements are invited to the Liwanag World Festival on September 24 to 26 at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall. Find out more about Liwanag at www.liwanagworldfest.net or on Facebook: Liwanag World Festival or on Twitter: liwanagwf.

"The Liwanag World Festival 2015 is an annual event spearheaded by MISSION, the Movement of Imaginals for Sustainable Societies through Initiatives, Organizing and Networking. MISSION is a civil society movement with a membership of volunteers of many professions, from various backgrounds and of different ages, in area nodes in different regions of the country. MISSION leads initiatives that hope to transform our society into greater livability and sustainability through the fields of education, environment, culture, healthcare, women's and children's rights and welfare, agriculture, entrepreneurship, urbanization and governance. The LIWANAG World Festival, is a call to many like-minded people to come together for a few days, collectively reflect on the manner in which we are addressing these societal issues and together find new ways to achieve a more lasting positive impact on our world and our future."

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