Monday, April 25, 2011

Awards for eco-heroism slated to be given today

THE celebration of Earth Day is set to be highlighted today with this year’s Father Neri Satur Award for Environmental Heroism, which will be presided by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and broadcast over NBN 4’s Equilibrium at 8 p.m. tonight.

Named in honor of Father Neri Satur, who was slain in 2001 for defending the forests of Bukidnon, the award was established by Earthsavers founder and former Sen. Heherson Alvarez, who now serves as a Climate Change Commissioner.

The award is organized in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, headed by Sec. Ramon Paje; the Philippine Center of the International Theatre Institute, currently chaired by Dr. Vilma Labrador; and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization National Commission of the Philippines, led by Officer in Charge-Director Jean Tuazon in liaison with the Office of Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila.

Notable among this year’s awardees, who will receive an Abdulmari Imao trophy, are two recently departed personalities: radio commentator and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega of Palawan and renowned botanist Leonard Co.

The rest of the honorees are Father Pete Montellana, for fighting illegal logging in the Sierra Madre; Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay province, for local government leadership in climate adaptation; the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.-SMART Foundation, for assisting with eco-communications tools, The Manila Times, for eco-education through print media coverage; the Green Water Pump of the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, for innovative technology in the delivery of water; and the Climate Institute, led by its president John Topping Jr., for heightening international awareness with practical ways to achieve a significant reduction in green house emissions.

Other past awardees include personalities like Father James B. Reuter, Father Ben Beltran, Jerry Esplanada of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Katherine Andraneda of the Philippine Star; eco-friendly businesses like Unilever, SM Malls, and GTZET; eco-entertainers-artists like the late Francis Magalona, ABS-CBN weatherman Kim Atienza, and young actor Richard Gutierrez; and eco-advocates like Arch. Jun Palafox, Dr. Metodio Palaypay, science-media editor-port Tomas Ongoco, and inventors Jun Catan and Ben Santos.

For almost a decade, a growing creative army of Mother Earth’s caring defenders has been spreading the gospel of protecting the womb of life.

The ceremony is especially significant for 2011, as messages from President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Cardinal Rosales are featured in the observance of the Year of the Forest and the operationalization of the honor of the Philippines as the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations culture capital.


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