Taking care of the environment is every one’s concern. With emerging issues on climate change, forest degradation and other ecological concerns, individuals, businesses and organizations have started to embrace solutions.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) has long banked on partnerships to promote its science-based solutions. As such, WWF paid homage to its allies via its annual “Partners’ Night” at the Raffles & Fairmont Hotel in Makati City.
WWF National Ambassadors Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez hosted the affair while WWF Forest and Watershed Steward Piolo Pascual serenaded guests.
WWF-Philippines honored its outgoing National Advisory Council Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala for his valuable support and outgoing WWF-Philippines Board of Trustees Chairman, Vincent Pérez for his leadership. Pérez turned over the Chairmanship to WWF-Philippines board member and Far Eastern University Chairman Aurelio Montinola 3rd.
Pérez formally opened the ceremonies and thanked all individuals and organizations that supported WWF. “I am truly proud that here at home, WWF remains a reliable and credible environmental solutions-provider. You’ve helped us secure greater protection for critical areas that provide food and income for millions of Filipinos. You’ve helped us prepare more farmers and fishers for climate change. You’ve helped us place the environment at the center of public sector policy. You’ve helped us illuminate far-flung communities without access to electricity.”
One of the biggest highlights of the event was the recognition of Environmental Leadership Awardees. Recognized were Arthaland Corporation, BDOUnibank, Bank of the Philippine Islands and BPI Foundation, Cebu Pacific Air, Century Pacific Food, Costa Del Hamilo, Far Eastern University, Fox International Channels, Banana Peel, Philips Electronics And Lighting, Republic Cement Services Philippines, Samsung Electronics Philippines, Sun Life Financial Philippines Foundation, Yuchengco Group of Companies, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Grieg Foundation, and Pascual Laboratories.
Following this was the recognition of new Heroes of the Environment, a program which started in 2009 to award individuals and groups showing decisive environmental action.
Three new champions joined the roster. Ingemar Macarine, a Bohol-based lawyer, election officer, triathlete, and pioneer in solo channel swimming in the Philippines. Dubbed as the “PinoyAquaman,” Ingemar has already swam the open waters of the Visayas and Mindanao to raise awareness about the need to protect Philippine seas.
The indigenous Taw’buid Mangyan of Mindoro were also awarded for their unrelenting efforts to help conserve the Tamaraw, the world’s rarest buffalo species.
Lastly, Gerlie Menchie Alpajora, a fisheries champion who was gunned down in July for her work combating illegal fishing in Camarines Sur, was honored. Though dangerous, her work has brought illegal fishers to justice, allowing the local government to strengthen its initiatives to protect Bicol’s marine resources.
Special awards were also given to selected WWF-Philippines partners, which proved their commitment. Althea Torralba and Jessica Guerrero were recognized as WWF’s Most Outstanding Fundraisers for 2015.
WWF’s Corporate Partner of the Year was BDO Unibank for their support of full-range WWF programs like marine conservation, climate solutions, plus sustainable food and water production.
Newly appointed WWF-Philippines Chairman Gigi Montinola shared, “Individually, we are but one drop. Collectively, we are an ocean. We need to work together to help transform the Philippines into a living space that our children will appreciate.”