Green in the Philippines with Edong!

This article is a post that comes from Greening Forward’s legacy blog. It was originally written by Bree Preuitt on August 26, 2013.

Published: Jan 1, 2021

Green in the Philippines with Edong!

Meet Edilberto Magpayo, an environmentalist all the way from the last Ecological Frontier of the Philippines, Palawan!

I was so happy I got the chance to interview Edilberto to share with you all how the green movement is going in other countries around the world. Edilberto is a youth and community mentor, an ecological educator, a writer and former radio broadcaster, a nature and culture photographer, a freelance capacity building trainer, and former Executive Director of Palawan Conservation Corps. Whew! From all of these experiences, I’m pretty sure he has a lot to share with us. Well, let’s get started.

How did you first become involved with the environmental movement?

I started my passion with environmental conservation and educational programs when I was in college (way back in the ’90s). Our community-based school organization taught me how to create environmental initiatives and help the youth and community with [support] programs.

After I graduated from college, I became a volunteer for the Environmental Non-Government Organization; the Palawan NGO Network Incorporated (PNNI). After 6 months of volunteer work, I was hired by International Marine Life Alliance worked with them for almost five years.

Soon after, I became involved with the Palawan Conservation Corps to become a youth mentor for out-of-school-youth. I trained them with many ecological workshops/seminars. In this stage, I also become a radio anchor in Palawan (our Province) for our program “This Earth is Ours”, and a writer for local environmental news.

You served as Execute Director for Palawan Conservation Corps, an organization “dedicated to empowering marginalized youth in rural Puerto Princesa, Palawan to restore and conserve their unique natural resources through a holistic approach” for a few years. How was that experience for you? What achievements did you get see happen while you were with them?

For the past Ten Years of being in this group we have already restored more than 20 damaged areas of ecosystems in different remote communities, and most of these were closely found in eco-tourism destinations in our town. Plus 15 schools were benefited in our Theater Caravan; and Public School Teachers participated in our Teachers Training Workshop on the Web of Life (Basic Ecology) and Climate Change in Puerto Princesa City and in the whole Province of Palawan.

How is environmentalism viewed in the Philippines? Is the population generally supportive of the idea of working together to stop climate change or other environmental concerns?

People from the Philippines are very much aware on the issue of climate change. The people, the community, and different sectors are also very supportive in different environmental programs. The Philippine Government has this initiative of planting a million of trees. Also, a program called Green Philippine to combat the issue of climate change, and people in our country have adopted this project in their respective towns. Here in Puerto Princesa, we are doing these initiatives every year And in the Civil Society particularly the Palawan Conservation Corps we have our own version of this and we call it ‘Balik Gubat’ or ‘Return to the Forest’ where we plant endemic trees.

What is your opinion on young people creating environmental changes independently?

Yeah that’s a big opportunity to show and use the talent of young individuals like youth; I believed that they have a BIG role in protecting, conserving and preserving our planet. We’ve been proved this already as we in their shoes before, we creating and initiating environmental activities and community work during or High School and College Days. Independently they can easily handle their own Ecological Group, like what we did here, we also formed their group and while they are on our Residential Program they planned and created their own project, and all we need is to guide and assist them and help them monitor and evaluate the progress of their Eco Group.

Do you have any advice for these young people making a difference on the earth?

All we need is to THINK sensitively and critically because everything in this Planet is interrelated; everything connects to everything else. And you as a youth of today have the ability and capacity to act as stewards of our environment. Let’s use your skills and talent for environment conservation. It is your time to show the world that you are responsible enough to prove that you can make a difference; to help restore our only home, the Earth.

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