The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) has joined hands with the Universidad De Manila (UDM) to engage the students of the university in the protection and conservation of the environment through information, education and communication (IEC), social mobilization, and partnership-building.

“This partnership with Universidad De Manila is a vital component of environmental education which the DENR advocates. We fully believe that when the youth is equipped with knowledge on their environment and the issues that surround it, they can better take action and spur behavior change,” said Environment Chief Roy A. Cimatu.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and Supervising Undersecretary for the Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS) and Task Force Tayo ang Kalikasan Benny D. Antiporda vowed the “full support of the DENR in the environmental and natural resources activities of the students and the whole university.”

DENR-NCR Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan and UDM president Dr. Ma. Felma Carlos-Tria led the signing of a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Ambassador Project during a virtual event on Sept. 22.

Caancan said the MOA formalizes the agency's commitment to collectively empower the youth and harness their potential as environmental advocates and influencers.

"The DENR-NCR is very privileged and honored to have the UDM as its new partner for the ENR Ambassador program especially now that the reach of our educational environmental activities has been limited by the pandemic," Caancan said.

"It is a timely intervention addressing the need for continuous engagement of the youth, academe, and other stakeholders in our efforts to protect and preserve our environment and natural resources," she added.

After the MOA signing, the DENR-NCR turned over 50 units of pocket LTE-wi-fi and tablet computers to the UDM.

The agreement specifically aims to identify, capacitate and mobilize qualified students of the university as competent and credible champions of DENR-NCR programs on IEC and advocacy for the protection, conservation, preservation, restoration, rehabilitation and development of the environment within its jurisdiction, including the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, under its ENR Ambassador Project.

The DENR-NCR will train, guide, and develop the skills of the selected ENR Ambassadors. It shall provide the university and its ENR Ambassadors with appropriate resources to expedite communication and coordination between stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the UDM will screen, verify, and vouch for the good standing of its students applying as ENR Ambassadors under the project.

It will also assist the DENR-NCR in monitoring and evaluating the IEC and advocacy performance of ENR Ambassadors and recommend improvements on the project. It shall also be responsible for the management and distribution of resources that may be provided for the project.

According to SCIS Director Hiro V. Masuda, “supporting the youth through education and providing them with the right tools will motivate them to be environmental problem solvers and responders.”

Before the MOA signing, DENR-NCR Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Al O. Orolfo conducted a webinar on the 10 Priority Programs of the DENR, while SCIS Assistant Director Maria Matilda Gaddi discussed the agency’s Tayo ang Kalikasan advocacy.

The webinar was followed by the virtual signing of the ENR Partner’s Commitment where UDM expressed its commitment to the initiatives of the DENR in the protection, conservation, and proper management of the country’s environment and natural resources, and support environmental management as one of the immediate actions to help sustain Mother Earth.

The university will also practice environmental actions such as avoiding the use of unnecessary plastic materials such as PET bottles; and promote the use of alternative environment-friendly materials such as bamboo tumblers, reusable water containers, reusable straws and the like.

The UDM also pledged to use the bicycle as an alternative to public transportation/private vehicle; practice proper waste disposal; reduce, re-use or upcycle materials; conduct urban gardening; and participate in cleanup activities, urban gardening, and other environmental activities.

Last year, the DENR also turned over to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila units of pocket LTE-wi-fi and tablet computers for its ENR Ambassador Project partnership. ###