Some of the residents in Bongao town in Tawi-Tawi join the Earth Hour held March 25, 2017.
TAWI-TAWI – The province of Tawi-Tawi in southern Philippines joined the whole country and the millions of communities around the world as residents literally “turn out the lights” for Earth Hour 2017 under the leadership of Governor Rashidin Matba.
This is in support of Earth Hour - held on Saturday - which is the world’s largest mass participation event that aims to heighten awareness on climate change and symbolize that working together, the people of the world can make a difference in the fight against global warming and pursue a common future.
This year, the Marine Biology and Environmental Science Student Association mobilized the different student organizations at the Mindanao State University (MSU) and in Tawi-Tawi such as Youth4Nature, ECOWATCH Tawi-Tawi, Brotherhood Senior High Students, Supreme Student Council of MSU-TCTO and the Kilusan ng mga Kabataan para sa Kalikasan for Earth Hour.
Before the switch off, there was a countdown program held at the MSU-TCTO Parade Ground in Sanga-Sanga in Bongao town. As part of the environmental advocacy and to raise awareness on how to reduce the impacts of climate change, several speakers were invited to share their inspirational messages.
Among those who gave Earth Hour messages were Governor Matba, who was represented by Yasmin Bulante, Head of the Provincial Monitoring Team. He said that the provincial government has started to put up solar street lights in Mapun and Tabawan to be followed by other municipalities as part of its renewable energy program to combat global warming and climate change.
The OIC Chancellor of MSU-Tawi-Tawi , Dr. Alma Berowa, said it was her first time to witness Earth Hour being celebrated by MSU Tawi-Tawi and she expressed appreciation that the youth embraced and owned Earth Hour and said that this can be replicated in other campuses of the MSU System.
Police Senior Inspector Nelson Amsiwen, Jr., of the Special Action Force, said the one hour of darkness was one small action, but this can be supplemented by little acts like unplugging electrical appliances when not in use, walking instead of taking a tricycle, among other energy savings measures.
Professor Emeritus Dr. Filemon Romero said that Tawi-Tawi is already experiencing sea level rise which inundated several coastal areas during the highest high tide, storm surges that washed out several houses on stilts, severe drought which affected agricultural production and gave a presentation the rational and objectives of the activity and how we can combat climate change.
The student leaders, who shared their views about the importance of Earth Hour and the challenges of climate change, were Anina Haslee Julkanain, IOES Governor, Fatima Zarah Hussein, Senior High President and Al-Jayson Abubakar, SSC Senator. Entertainment numbers were provided by the Andy Basion an outstanding performer Tabawan and student of MSU, film showing and finally a mass Zumba Dance capped this year’s program.
After the switch off, the participants formed a human chain with flash lights and torches to symbolize the 60 minutes of sacrifice for Planet Earth. Earth Hour was celebrated in this southernmost frontier, despite some power outages the Tawi-Tawians are one with the whole world in making a statement that even if we sometimes have power outages, we are willing to sacrifice one hour of darkness to avert Global Warming and Climate Change.
With Tawi-Tawi participation, no doubt this year, the Philippines would once again be number one in terms of number of participation in Earth Hour, an honor which it has maintained for the last six years. (With a report fromFileron Romero.)