Ecological Youth Camp – Kilos Kabataan Para sa Karagatan

To celebrate Oceans Month of the Philippines (May) and World Environment Day (5 June), an Ecological Youth Camp – Kilos Kabataan Para sa Karagatan was conducted at the Mindanao State University-TCTO Parade Ground on 5 – 6 June 2004.  The 2-day Ecological Youth Camp was participated by 29 boys and girls from of Grade 6 to second year high school level from the different barangays and schools in Bongao and Zamboanga City.

The ecocamp aimed to provide children the opportunity to appreciate and understand the mangrove, seagrass and coral reef ecosystems and their living and non-living components, raise awareness among the youth of the threats that affect these ecosystems and to generate some positive behavior or actions what the participants as youth of Bongao can do about these. Since protection of the environment is the concern of everyone regardless of ethnic grouping and religious affiliation, in the spirit of integration, the camp had a good mix of Christian, Tausug, Sama and Badjao participants.

The event was spearheaded by the office of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO-DENR), DAF-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Mindanao State University-TCTO Center for Oceanographic Studies, in collaboration with Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas or WWF-Philippines, FISH Project Tawi-Tawi, Tawi-Tawi Divers Club, the Office of the Municipal Mayor of Bongao, and the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands.

– Reported by Mr. Mon Romero

At the end of the EcoCamp, the participants of Kilusan ng Kabatan para sa Karagatan  pledged to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste materials like plastics, wrappers, and soft drink cans; not to throw wastes into the sea but dispose these properly; conserve water and participate as youth volunteer in IEC activities, coastal clean-up and other conservation activities of NGOs and government agencies. This was witnessed not only by various sector representatives but also by the campers’ parents.