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Santa Rosa City stages “Silakbo” unique bike-walk-run for environmental protection

SANTA ROSA CITY, Laguna April 29 –- A unique event for environmental causes had 2,000 fitness and environment enthusiasts and crusaders “run, walk, bike and plant a tree to fight global warming” Monday in what was dubbed the “SILAKBO” at the Nuvali upland fields in this city.

Now on its sixth year, the SILAKBO which is a contraction of the Filipino words “sikad” (bike pedal), “lakad” (walk) and “takbo” (run) is the City of Santa Rosa’s unique way of raising environmental awareness and responsiveness.

SILAKBO is an event open to all age groups in four categories: a three-kilometer walk and run, a five-kilometer fun run, a 10-kilometer run for avid runners, and a 20-kilometer bike marathon and after the race, participants were each given a seedling to plant in the designated areas.

Themed “SILAKBO Goes Beyond the Distance: Run and Plant a Tree,” the event underscores the importance of planting trees for environmental conservation and climate change mitigation.

City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Erlinda Creencia whose city hall functionary takes charge of the yearly project said, "we should plant trees as mitigating measure for climate change as trees help in the sequestration of carbon dioxide."

She disclosed that SILAKBO was organized in partnership with, and for the benefit of Save Silang-Santa Rosa River Foundation Inc. (S3R2), a non-profit organization working for the protection and rehabilitation of the Santa Rosa Watershed which is one of 24 vital watersheds surrounding the Laguna Lake.

“S3R2 initiated this fund raising event because all our waste water are dumped into Laguna Lake and these seepage results to dismal quality of water threatening our fisheries and aquatic resources in the lake,” Creencia explained.

Santa Rosa City Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas was impressed with the huge turnout of participants owing to various other fun runs and events held to commemorate Earth Week throughout the country.

Mayor Arcillas expressed elation that the city through the CENRO is on the right track in adopting measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and people have already gained awareness and are taking action.

“For six years, we have undertaken this unique form of building awareness among our people on the importance of environmental protection and sustainable development. And this year, we have undertaken SILAKBO to enjoin everyone in fighting global warming and reverse the effect of climate change,” Mayor Arcillas declared.

Arcillas informed that the city government has already drafted the Greenhouse Gas Management Framework Plan as well as the Local Climate Change Action Plan.

The city mayor remarked “this is our first step in contributing to the global effort to fight climate change that has drastically altered the weather and has gravely affected the lives of so many people.”

According to CENRO reports, the City of Santa Rosa is one of the 48 local government units (LGUs) that joined the pilot training program in May 2011 called “Responding to Climate Change through Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Management” under the Climate Change and Clean Energy Project (CEnergy) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The undertaking has partnership with the Philippine League of Local Environmental and Natural Resources Officers (PLLENRO) Inc. and the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (GHGMI).

Mayor Arcillas was proud to report that “of the 48 LGUs, only 10 were able to elevate to community level and we are one of the six cities in the Philippines to have completed the GHG Accounting and Inventory Report Community Level.

The completion of the inventory prompted the city to draft the Greenhouse Gas Management Framework Plan as well as the Local Climate Change Action Plan.

Arcillas also informed of the city’s continuing project with the French Agency for Development (AFD) for the modelling of climate change adaptation plan and the drafting of the framework plan for air quality management as outputs of the partnership.

“We in the City of Santa Rosa always want to be one step ahead especially in our efforts in balancing development and environmental protection. We also make sure that we engage people to do their part in ensuring that our environment is protected and our natural resource preserved whether it is through joining SILAKBO or in adhering to the provisions of our Environment Code,” Mayor Arcillas said.

Santa Rosa is a pioneering city in Laguna which passed the City Ordinance No. 1720-2011 also known as the city Environment Code as a comprehensive compilation of rules and regulations to effectively manage the environment.

The City has also initiated in 2012 an information, education and communication campaign dubbed Project CLEAN ALWAYS or “Air Land and Water Are Yours to Save” to engage various stakeholders in environment protection and enjoin them as eco-warriors.

The event partners include Nuvali and Toyota Runner’s Club and major business sponsors Ryonan Electric Phils Corp, Asia Brewery Inc, Laguna Water, Toyota Motor Phils Inc, Toyota Autoparts Phils Inc, Coca-Cola FEMSA and Magnolia Ice Cream.

Other sponsors are Enchanted Kingdom, Philippine HKR, SM City Santa Rosa, Agri Specialilst Inc, Antonina Industrial Corp, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Inc, LAMCOR, Monde Nissin Corp, Pure Performance Gym, TRP Inc., Packageworld Inc. and SJS Precision Corp. (PNA)

CTB/SEPA-A/PR/UTB

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