Written by Ma. Christine de Vera
To fully embrace the role of mangrove forest rehabilitation in mitigating the climate crisis, Sun Life Financial-Philippines Foundation, Inc. (Sun Life Foundation), in partnership with the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI), gathered public school teachers in Gubat, Sorsogon, for a three-day Eco-Camp from October 11 to October 13. This initiative embodies the shared, long-standing commitment of both companies to contribute to effective environmental protection through community-driven development.
The Eco-Camp kicks off the third phase of ABS-CBN Foundation and Sun Life Foundation’s Mangrove Community project, which aims to support mangrove protection efforts through the integration of mangrove education materials in the school curriculum. This initiative provides an excellent platform for educators to learn about mangroves and their significance — learnings that they could later impart to their students.
Present during the Eco-Camp were Ms. Lea Santos, Municipal Environmental and Natural Resources Officer, Ms. Stephanie Anne Loanzon, Programs and Volunteer Management Specialist of Sun Life Foundation, Mr. Gary Espeloa, President of the Tulay sa Tibo People’s Organization, and Ms. Dolores Endraca, Science Department Head of Gubat National High School. The participants were able to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current situation of mangrove ecosystems in Gubat and of the Philippines. The main highlight of the Eco-Camp was the review of the current DepEd curriculum to identify integration points for Mangrove Education.
Sun Life Foundation and ABS-CBN Foundation are no strangers to collaboration. Tulay sa Tibo People’s Organisation, in fact, is among the beneficiaries of Sun Life Foundation and ABS-CBN Foundation’s strong partnership.
The success of the Eco-Camp comes at the heels of the Regional Climate Change Caravan organized by the Department of Education (DepEd) Bicol last October 10. Here, educators supported by this project shared engaging education materials developed in Phase II with their fellow teachers from the region.
“We need students. We need the skills [of] not just educators, of local governments, of scientists… but [also of] technicians, students, learners—the youth who are willing to go inside the mangroves, collect data, [and] find out what they need to do to protect these areas,” ABS-CBN Foundation Bantay Kalikasan Head Engr. Joal Ascalon shared during the caravan.
After the showcase, the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between AFI, represented by Ascalon, and DepEd Bicol represented by Mr. William E. Gando, CESO VI – Schools Division Superintendent for Sorsogon, took place in support of Phase III of the Mangrove Environmental Education Project.
Projects like this make apparent the need for teachers, community members, civil service organizations, local government units, and stakeholders in general to act for the planet together.
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