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Celebrating Earth Day during a pandemic

By: Gloria Estenzo Ramos - Columnist/CDN Digital | April 23,2020 - 07:00 AM

Yesterday’s 50th year celebration of Earth Day was subdued compared to the various activities in the past when millions converged to get the message across: Protect our environment. 

Because of social distancing measures in most parts of the world due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, we could not celebrate it in multitude — no gathering and rallies. But, celebrate we did in various forms — in solitude, telecommuting, and virtual forums.

Thanks to technology and the vision of our leaders in enacting  and implementing, albeit slowly, the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, RA 8792, we could work from home and communicate with family, friends and colleagues through Zoom, Teams, Skype and other electronic platforms.

This columnist participated in three such events yesterday, among which was the virtual Kapihan on the theme, “Karagatan at Kwarantin, Talakayan ng Mga Isyu sa Panahon ng ECQ”. It was a highly informative discussion on the issues faced by our local authorities and artisanal fisherfolk relating to food supply and enforcement of fisheries laws, when the enhanced community quarantine measures were implemented in various parts of the country. 

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, Director Odilon Pasaraba, Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Bureau of Local Government Supervision and Assistant Director Drusila Bayate of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), BFAR regional directors and officers, the Philippine National Police Maritime Group from the public sector participated. Stakeholders in local communities were represented by Mayor Mariano Martinez of San Remigio and Mayor Arthur Despi of Santa Fe and civil society organization leaders and artisanal fisherfolk.

Secretary Dar emphasized prioritization of food security and exhorted the path towards sustainable agriculture and fisheries and the full implementation of our laws. He chairs the Task Force on Food Security of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Director Pasaraba shared information on the policy issuance and advisories of the DILG to ensure food security such as innovative measures that take into consideration the welfare of the fisherfolk and farmers with LGUs buying their products and/or providing community markets for products, so they are closer to the communities or sitios rather than have people converged in public areas.

Our agencies have hotlines for easier access by the public when there are questions raised in the implementation of the ECQ regulations.

The pandemic managed to do what we never expected — that is, halt the human activities that caused so much pressure on our planet through overexploitation and destruction of habitats and burning of fossil fuels that increased carbon emissions and caused the climate crisis and its dire consequences.

Going the path towards clean energy, science-based management of our fisheries and zero-waste lifestyle is the smartest thing to do for the future of our children and their children./dbs

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TAGS: COVID-19, Earth Day, ECQ, pandemic

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