Environmental non-profit Greenpeace Philippines has expanded to the province of Iloilo, its first official local group outside of Metro Manila.
A volunteer group composed mainly of youth leaders from different communities in and around the province, it aims to support advocates as they “lobby the government for more systemic changes”, said Jarrah Brillantes, who will be heading the group.
“With Greenpeace now in Iloilo, we are looking forward to working with different organisations, with the government, and maybe later on with academia to ensure that environmental efforts toward livable and lovable cities will really make an impact in our city policies and practices,” Brillantes said.
Iloilo first drew attention to ecologists as a “model city” for the rehabilitation of the 10-kilometre river found in its metropolis, which was considered biologically dead a decade ago.
But Iloilo is also home to the endangered Irrawady dolphins, whose already-dwindling population will be even more threatened by the construction of a 43-kilometre bridge spanning the provinces of Panay, Guimaras and Negros over the waters of the Iloilo-Guimaras Straits, bisecting the mammals’ core habitat. The project is set to start in 2025.
The province has within its vicinity marine and wildlife reserves Gigantes and Danjugan islands, which face issues of pollution from settlements and conversion of land and marine territory.
At the face of these ecological risks, Greenpeace will be more present in Iloilo as it intends to “create a space for Ilonggos where they can create community-led solutions, enabling them to co-lead their cities toward climate and urban justice,” said Rhea Jane Mallari, Greenpeace campaigner.
“Having a model city, with an active citizenry like Iloilo to spearhead our campaign for better cities, is an inspiring new chapter for the Philippine office and we look forward to new possibilities in this expansion,” said Mallari.
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