MANILA, Philippines (Mar 31 2012) - The government has mobilized its resources to drumbeat wide participation among Filipino as the country joins the world tonight in observing Earth Hour 2012.
“We encourage everyone to participate in Earth Hour to be part of global awareness on the use of energy and our environment,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
Three simultaneous switch-off ceremonies will be held in the cities of Makati, Cebu and Davao from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. had earlier issued a memorandum directing all heads of government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to get involved in the observance of Earth Hour.
He also urged public servants nationwide to help ensure a broader reach of the campaign and echoed calls for people to make a long-term commitment to environmental preservation.
“Everybody benefits from the vast resources that our planet gives us and so it is only appropriate that everybody takes responsibility and do our share, even in our own little ways, to help preserve Mother Earth,” Ochoa said.
LGUs back Earth Hour
The entire Philippines will be in the dark for an hour as provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays nationwide are expected to join the rest of the world in the observance of Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign aimed at raising public awareness on the need to conserve energy.
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said he has issued a directive to all local governments to support Earth Hour 2012 by turning off their lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“By doing the simple act of turning off lights for one hour, let us show our commitment to protect and preserve the environment and be counted in this campaign to save Mother Earth,” he said.
Earth Hour, which started in Australia in 2007, is a global environmental consciousness campaign that encourages governments, communities and businesses to switch off their lights for an hour and adopt a low-carbon lifestyle to help address the threats of global warming.
In 2011, a total of 1,661 cities and municipalities all over the country participated in the event.
In his directive to local chief executives, the DILG secretary encouraged them to conduct their own Earth Hour events by undertaking the following activities:
1. switching off lights and electrical appliances during the designated Earth Hour;
2. hanging of streamers/ tarpaulins to announce the event in conspicuous places in their localities;
3. announcing Earth Hour campaign during flag-raising ceremony or weekly conferences;
4. organizing a forum discussing the benefits of the activity and the threats of global warming;
5. tree-planting activities involving everyone in the community;
6. using social media as a vehicle to involve the youth in the campaign;
7. continue using compact fluorescent lamps instead of incandescent bulbs in all government installations.
Catholic bishops also encouraged the public to switch off electricity for an hour to demonstrate the people’s concern for the preservation of Mother Nature.
The appeal was issued by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Commission on Doctrine of the Faith chairman Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Palawan Bishop Pedro Arigo, CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace chairman Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, CBCP-Office on Bioethics chairman Malolos Bulacan Bishop Jose Oliveros and Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.
Pabillo said the people should offer their lives and the beauty of nature to God by fighting excessive eating, excessive buying and lack of sleep.
Ledesma, on the other hand, said that Filipinos should help address the problems brought about by climate change.
But Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said that in his diocese, there is no need to observe Earth Hour since they have been suffering from power outage in the last few months.
In Cebu City, Shangri-La’s Mactan resort and spa will also join in the country’s observance of Earth Hour.
Shangri-La’s event dubbed “Illuminated” aims to generate funds for the Hands of Mercy Foundation based in Talisay City.
The foundation is an independent non-profit organization that strives to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities in the Philippines.
The resort will turn off non-essential lights for an hour.
Hotel guests would get an Earth Hour t-shirt and a lantern for the lighting ceremony for P500.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for Nature-Philippines will lead the activity through the “I Will If You Will” campaign.
Meanwhile in Malolos City, solar-powered light bulbs will highlight the observance of Earth Hour at the SM Supermall in Baliuag town.
Beverly Bernardo-Cruz, public relations specialist of SM Baliuag, said they will switch off lights installed by Solartech Enterprises at the walkway of the mall’s parking lot. (From Philstar.com)