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The Filipino culture holds in high regard for the contribution of senior citizens in the Philippines society. We, as Filipinos, have created a culture of respect to our elders by ensuring that even in the set-up of our families, they are given the freedom to express their thoughts freely, and that their decisions are given utmost consideration.

The EMB-NCR operates in the same principle in its undertakings—we put emphasis on the fact that senior citizens, too, have valuable inputs for the improvement of the environment. Their points of view are regarded highly, for we know that their insights touched by the past can make a difference for the present and future generations. For this reason, the EMB-NCR undertook the initiative to conduct an Environmental Awareness Seminar for Senior Citizens as part of its Earth Day Celebration last April 22. More than thirty (30) participants from the sector of senior citizens from Barangays Culiat, Old Capitol Site and San Vicente graced the event.

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Engr. Florence Velasquez, Chief of the Finance and Administrative Division of the EMB-NCR provided the  discussion on the current status of Metro Manila’s environment and the framework on how the EMB-NCR works as the lead agency in the implementation of laws related to environmental protection and pollution control. Given also that in Metro Manila, solid waste management is considered one of the most pressing environmental issues, Mr. Mansueto Bolivar, Head of the Solid Waste Management Section presented the implementation of Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000”.

Personnel of the EMB-NCR who facilitated the event made sure that aside from gathering insights on the implementation of environmental laws in their respective barangays, participants were given the chance to enjoy the fun and games incorporated in the event programme. For one, they were asked to draw and imagine how a community in a nearby water body may develop and how said development may affect the surrounding communities and the environment as well. With their creative imagination, inputs were gathered and it was emphasized that the environment is a concern of everyone.

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During the closing remarks of Ms. Salvacion Aguinaldo-Solis, Head of the Environmental Education and Information Unit of the EMB-NCR, emphasized that environmental education transcends time and age. The environment has always something to teach us: that we are all called to be stewards and that all of us have individual roles to perform in the protection and conservation of our environment.

Given that the event is first of its kind in the history of the agency, the EMB-NCR personnel plans to tap other senior citizens from other parts of the metro to widen the scope of environmental education.