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TACLOBAN CITY-Tingog Sinirangan Party-list has lauded student campaign against climate change.

The Philippine Science High School- Eastern Visayas Campus (PSHS-EVC) Student Alliance launched #MissionASCEND: Actions to Save the Changing Environment through Network Development, a global movement that intends to encourage the youth to take action and full responsibility in saving the environment.

The project launch was held on March 19, 2016 at the BR Hall Community Center, Tacloban City. Coinciding with the observance of Earth Hour, the launching was held during a conference with the theme: “Empowering the Voices of the Children of Yolanda.”

Raizsa Arielle R. Espina, the president of PSHS-EVC Student Alliance, gave an overview of project #MissionASCEND. She said that the movement aims to educate and encourage the youth to take a more active role by taking this movement globally through the power of social media.

“Yolanda happened to us. And someone once told me that it happened here for a reason. Where better place to start this advocacy than the place where Mother Nature showed its most cruel face. And when better a time than Earth Day. Today we are here to tell the world to listen to the voices of a scarred generation. To empower the voices of the children of Yolanda,” she said.

Ma. Alma Andrea Culibar, Youth Chairperson Tingog Kabataan, delivers her solidarity message during the launching of climate change advocacy campaign Mission ASCEND in Tacloban City. Photo courtesy of Kaye Barrameda
Ma. Alma Andrea Culibar, Youth Chairperson of Tingog Kabataan, delivers her solidarity message during the launching of climate change advocacy campaign Mission ASCEND in Tacloban City. Photo courtesy of Kaye Barrameda

The conference was attended by various high schools and organizations. It featured talks from climate change experts and advocates, a video making contest, sharing of community/school projects on waste reduction and management.

The conference was divided into four plenary sessions.  Shiela Castillo-Tiangco, climate change specialist and presenter for Al Gore’s  Climate Reality Project, explained the status of global climate and its alarming  effects on the planet. Mark Santos discussed climate change adaptation, Chuck Baclagon talked about using social media in climate change campaign, and Jonathan Moses Jadloc explained youth power against global warming.

During the event, various stakeholders and organizations gave their message of solidarity to the cause of saving the environment.

“Climate change is no longer a myth, it is an established fact. In Eastern Visayas, Typhoon Yolanda is the unquestionable proof that climate change is real. It happened in our own region, our town and our families.  Climate change took away lives, properties, and the livelihood of our parents. Typhoon Yolanda changed our lives forever,” said Ma. Alma Andrea Culibar, Youth Chairperson of Tingog Kabataan, the youth volunteer arm of Tingog Sinirangan Party-list.

“We call the youth of Eastern Visayas to use their voice. To use our voice to send a clear message to our global, national and local leaders that we should start transitioning to renewable energy and that we should start to create and live by a global policy on adaptation and that we should make climate change a top government agenda,” she urged.

The highlight of the event was the video making session of the participants.  #MissionASCEND aims to upload into the website one million video pledges of the youth’s personal commitment statement for saving the environment. The goal is to reach a million pledges by November 8, 2016.

Tingog Sinirangan Party-list first nominee Jude Avorque Acidre applauded the initiative of the students.

“We congratulate the organizers of #MissionASCEND. We commend their effort to raise awareness on climate change. If there is one advocacy that the youth should be active in, that is climate change. Tingog Sinirangan also commits to help bring the issue of climate change in the forefront of the region’s development agenda,” he said.

The project launch of #MissionASCEND is spearheaded by the Philippine Science High School- Eastern Visayas Campus (PSHS-EVC) Student Alliance, the official student government of PSHS-EVC.

The event is also supported by Tingog Kabataan, the youth arm of Tingog Sinirangan Party-list.