The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in the province of Aklan have recently engaged the Indigenous People (IP) youths in Boracay Island and the young Kalibonhons in Environmental Summits with activities like tree planting, clean ups and learning events for them to better understand the importance of environmental protection and conservation.
Two batches of Environmental Summit were facilitated by PENRO Aklan with Batch 1 dubbed as “Youth and Indigenous People’s Summit for Better Boracay: Action Towards Innovation (ATI) for Environmental Sustainability of Boracay Island.” Thirty six (36) youth members of the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization (BATO) attended the event and actively participated in various activities, namely: Upcycling Contest using plastic wastes and the Eco-Draw contest that highlights the importance of various ecosystems. In each activity, the assigned leaders of the group make a presentation of their outputs. Winners were awarded with certificates and tokens and other non-winning groups received consolation prizes.
The IP youths along with personnel from Department of Environment and Natural Resources PENRO Aklan (DENR-PENRO), Lawin Patrollers of Community ENR Office in Boracay Island and some members from the Ati community also joined the beach clean-up near the Ati Village in Brgy. Manocmanoc, which was part of the Summit activities. The IP youths understanding on the need to sustain the gains of Boracay Island rehabilitation was reinforced with the things they have learned from the Summit.
Meanwhile, Batch 2 of the youth summit was dubbed as “Youth of Aklan for a Better Environment Today and Tomorrow” was conducted at the Ati-atihan County Inn in the capital town of Kalibo, Aklan.
A total of forty-eight (48) Aklanon youths attended Batch 2 of the summit with invites from the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Ambassadors, Youth Artists, Future Leaders of the Philippines Officers ASU – Banga, Regional Science High School for Region VI (RSHSVI) YES-O Officers, Sanggunian ng Kabataan (SK) Chairpersons and Members from different municipalities including Balete, Banga, Batan and New Washington.
The one-day activity included lectures on the following: Challenges of various ecosystems in Aklan; Understanding Geohazard’s Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Maps; Youth Empowerment for Better Aklan; Digital Literacy 101: An Introduction to Graphic Design as Tool for an Effective Communication Link Toward Environmental Education with logo making contest; Bamboo and Clonal Propagation for Forest Rehabilitation with video making on the procedures by the participants; Knowledge and Practices of Akeanon Bukidnon Tribe in Harmony and Nature; and, the signing of Pledge of Commitment.
“Engaging the youths and the Indigenous People community in our environmental activities and thrusts achieves a win-win situation. The Indigenous People are keepers of traditional practices that work in harmony with nature while the modern youths can be our information multipliers, even influencers, to expand our reach. Both groups of young people can work to further promote understanding and appreciation for environmental protection and conservation,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.
The youth is considered as the hope of our future as they possess the power to easily adapt to the changes from generation to generation. The DENR is tapping on their youthful vigor to hone their adaptive skills and abilities towards crafting environmental campaigns to achieve behavioral changes towards environmental protection and conservation.