This year, the local celebration of World Environment Day centered on the theme, “Connecting People to Nature,” and sought to encourage everybody to go outdoors, appreciate the beauty and importance of nature, and take part in the universal campaign to protect Mother Earth.
Heeding the call of the organizers, the Bulacan cluster of Republic Cement composed of its two cement plants and an aggregates quarry, hosted an Environment Youth Camp in June at the St. John Marie Vianney Retreat House in Norzagaray, Bulacan.
Forty youth delegates from communities around the Republic plants attended the camp. Among them were 25 Republic scholars from their host communities in Barangays Bigte and Minuyan as well as other delegates from Barangays San Mateo and Minuyan 1-5.
Republic teammates facilitated the program which included an introduction to the company’s iSTAND4 sustainability program, a creative workshop, a guided EcoWalk at Angat Dam and learning sessions about the environment with guest resource persons.
At the creative workshop conducted by ComRel Officer Jill Palapal, the participants were encouraged to express their sentiments about the environment through various art forms, with the best entries given recognition and special tokens. The work of Ariel Cruz, a scholar from Brgy. Minuyan was cited as the best drawing while special recognition was given to Nerissa Policarpio, a scholar from Brgy. Bigte and Ralph Guinto, delegate from the Republic quarry community. Among the written work, the top honors went to Jerome Juan, a scholar from Brgy. Minuyan for his poem “Kabataan para sa Kalikasan”, and Rasha Menina Manuri and Aubrey Jane Valiente, both scholars from Brgy. Bigte.
The highlight of the first day at camp was the EcoWalk. To prepare for this, Forester Charlene Devela of the Angat watershed team briefed the young delegates about what watersheds are and their important contribution to ecological balance. As the students walked around Angat Dam, Forester Devela also pointed out the different species that considered the area as their home.
The second day was dedicated to learning sessions with Paolo Pagaduan of WWF Philippines and Engr. Ed Licuan of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 3 who both shared their knowledge about the environment to the eager delegates.
Inspired by the enthusiastic response of the youth campers, the organizers from the Republic Bulacan plants now plan to hold this event annually to be able to reach out to more of the young people of Bulacan.