Santa Rosa runs race towards a Green City


Earth Week in the City of Santa Rosa was marked with a series of activities participated by various stakeholders from April 20 to April 26, 2015. This year’s theme is “Santa Rosa towards a Green City.”

            On its culminating activity, 1,300 environment and fitness advocates joined in on the annual Sikad-Lakad-Takbo (SILAKBO) on April 26, 2015 held in Nuvali, City of Santa Rosa.

            Now on its seventh year, SILAKBO is an annual fund raising activity for the benefit of the Save Silang-Santa Rosa River Foundation, Inc. (S3R2), a non-profit organization and a partner of the City Government of Santa Rosa in the protection and rehabilitation of the Santa Rosa Watershed.  It is the City of Santa Rosa’s unique way of raising environmental awareness and responsiveness.

            Participants came from inside and outside the City, and from different sectors.

Environmental partners

            Nayl Rebay, Unit Manager of the Environmental, Health and Safety Division of HGST Philippines Corporation, was one of the active participants of SILAKBO since 2008.

With a total of 133 participants, HGST Philippines Corporation won the Biggest Delegation award this year and all succeeding years that they participated in SILAKBO.

According to Rebay, this is their way of encouraging employee involvement in environmental activities and corporate social responsibility of the company.

The registration fee of their employees is paid on a 50-50 basis: 50% shouldered by the employees and the other 50% is paid by HGST. The company also provided shuttle to and from the venue, and drinks and food for all participating employees.

Rebay also noted that they observe an increase in employees participating in SILAKBO. In 2014, 125 employees from HGST participated.

Aside from joining in SILAKBO, HGST Philippines Corporation also contribute in other environmental activities of the City of Santa Rosa such as river and lakeshore clean ups and tree planting. This, despite the fact that their company is not located in Santa Rosa but in an adjacent city, in Biñan, Laguna.

            “We believe that environmental CSR starts at home and this is why we encourage our employees to practice proper waste segregation at home by conducting in-house orientations at their respective homes,” Rebay said. He added that they have employees living in Santa Rosa so they also coordinate with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office of Santa Rosa to get information on the schedule of hauling of wastes so they can inform their employees as well.

Saving the Silang-Santa Rosa River

            Another active partner of the City Government of Santa Rosa since the inception of SILAKBO is the Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMP).

            According to Ronald Gaspar, Assistant Vice President of Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation Foundation (TMPF), TMP is a major sponsor for SILAKBO 2015.  Raymond Goshi of the Toyota Runners Club served as race director of SILAKBO. There were a total of 25 volunteers from TMP.

            Gaspar said that Toyota Autoparts Philippines, Inc. (TAP) provided some of the seedlings given as freebies to the participants.

            The TMP however does not only contribute in SILAKBO but in many of the City’s other environmental programs.

            Gaspar shared that Toyota also initiated the Adopt-a-River Foundation. It was started through a Memorandum of Agreement signed between the City Government of Santa Rosa, Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), S3R2 and Toyota Autoparts Philippines, Inc. for the Adoption, Conservation and Protection of the Silang-Santa Rosa River in October 21, 2011.

According to the signed memorandum, all parties were “inspired by a common aspiration for clean rivers and streams, lush forests and a healthy Santa Rosa River Basin and in recognition of the need for concerted effort to protect the environment.”

Gaspar is also the President of S3R2.

“The Silang Santa-Rosa River is 27 kilometers and it stretches up to the Laguna Lake, this is why conserving and protecting the river is of vital importance,” he said. The Silang Santa-Rosa River covers the cities of Santa Rosa, Biñan and Cabuyao in Laguna and the municipality of Silang in Cavite.

            He shared that S3R2 conducted a study and it revealed that aside from regular clean-ups, there are different interventions needed in the river such as tree planting, making it into a bio park, or putting a fish pond.

            Gaspar said that the study is worth 1.2 million and most of the proceeds of SILAKBO were used for the study while majority of the funds were sourced from TAP and Toyota Singapore.

Earth Week

            The Earth Week celebration was officially opened on April 20, 2015 with the Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the integration of environmental and traffic safety education into the school curriculum of public elementary schools.

            There were two MOAs signed. The first was MOA for the inclusion of Traffic Safety Education in the school curriculum. It was signed by the City Government of Santa Rosa, Department of Education Division of City Schools (DepEd), TAP, and University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies (UP-NCTS).

            The second MOA was for the implementation of School-Based Ecological Solid Waste Management (SESWMP) into the elementary school curriculum. It was signed by the City Government of Santa Rosa, DepEd, TAP, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).

             Present during the MOA signing were City Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas; Vice Mayor Gomez; City Councilor Laudemer Carta; Erlinda Creencia EnP., City Environment and Natural Resources Officer; Dr. Hereberto Jose Miranda, School Division Superintendent of Deped Santa Rosa; Mr. Shinji Mizoe, President of TAP; Mr. Emmanuel Mendoza, CSR Project Adviser of TAP; Engr. Elidio Ildefonso, Executive Director of NSWMC; and Ms. Aileen Mappala, Officer-In-Charge of UP-NCTS.

            As part of the MOA, TAP will print 800 road safety curriculum integration manuals to be used as reference materials by the elementary Araling Panlipunan teachers and 800 waste management curriculum integration manuals to be used by the elementary Science teachers. These will manuals are designed for grades three to six.

            During the kick-off of Earth Week 2015 on April 20, 2015, Mayor Arcillas said that the MOA signing and the printing of the manuals are good examples that “Here in the City of Santa Rosa, we truly practice Public-Private Partnership (PPP).”

            She also said that partnering with various stakeholders is an essential part of the participatory style of governance that her administration employs. In participatory governance, Mayor Arcillas gives importance to the role of the citizens in the creation and implementation of projects and programs, thus making sure that all needs are addressed and met at the soonest possible time.

            Other activities during the Earth Week include launching of Adopt-a-Lot program on April 20;Orientation of Developers on the Urban Nexus Project and alternative Technologies for Wastewater Management on April 21; Strengthening cooperation structure among local government units on the water-food-energy nexus on April 22; and Local climate change action plan formulation: orientation and workshop for barangays and Basuranihan on April 21.

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