Local volunteer group holds clean-up drive on Labor Day

Cotabato City — A group of volunteers here celebrated Labor Day with an activity that promotes environmental preservation and conservation. 

More than 30 volunteers composed of students, young professionals, members of military, and officials of the Barangay Local Government Unit of Kalangan II participated in a half-day coastal clean-up on May 1, 2019 at the shoreline of Buaya-Buaya, Barangay Kalanganan II, Cotabato City. 

The activity was an initiative of the Volunteers’ Initiatives in Bridging and Empowering Society (VIBES), a volunteers’ organization of young professionals based in the city. It is in partnership with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the city government, the 10th Special Forces Battalion, and the Barangay LGU of Kalanganan II. 

The group collected a total of 24 sacks of garbage during the clean-up drive. It is mostly composed of cellophane, plastic bottles, and diapers. These items usually take 75 to 450 years to decompose. 

After the clean-up drive, a short lecture was held at the barangay hall of Kalanganan II wherein the group explained on how to embark into a zero-waste lifestyle and introduced the 6Rs which are Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, Repair, and Rot. 

Anwar Usop, one of the volunteers of the activity said that it was a privilege to help the community to lessen their wastes. 

“I hope that our action motivated the community members to clean their surroundings. Cotabato City is one of the hottest area in the Philippines right now and we need to work together so that the future generation can still breath the fresh air we have today,” said Anwar. 

Lo Ivan Castillon, VIBES chairperson said that the organization envisions an environmentally and culturally sensitive communities living harmoniously towards sustainable peace and development in Mindanao. 

“This activity is part of our advocacy to promote environmental conservation and preservation to achieve peace and development in our community. This clean-up drive is a small initiative that aims to promote solid waste management and encourage the public to practice proper waste disposal,” Lo Ivan explained. 

The activity is part of the Project KALINGA (Kalikasan Ngayon) of the organization and under its Fostering Environmental Stewardship (FES) program. It intends to initiate activities and local mechanisms in promoting environmental protection, upholding social responsibility, and strengthening community participation involving various stakeholders to be catalysts of change in saving Mother Earth. The program involves tree growing activities, capacity development on technologies in preserving environment and promote advocacies on Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Organic Farming, and Proper Waste Management. (Hajar Kabalu)