ORMOC CITY – Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez spoke about climate-resilient and sustainable LGUs during the 4th Philippine Environment Summit, which took place at the Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay City on Tuesday, February 21, 2023.

The said event was spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 4-A and Green Convergence and attended by around 1,000 multi-stakeholders.

The summit aims to celebrate the Philippine environmental movement and serves as a call for each Filipino to take personal responsibility for the country’s response to the climate emergency.

The summit carried the theme, “Caring for Earth: Scaling Up Solutions to the Climate Emergency.”

During the said event, as one of the resource speakers, Mayor Lucy started her presentation with a background on the Gaia Theory by James Lovelock. One value of the said theory, accordingly, is that people can take away that “the Earth is more than just a home. It is a living system, and we are part of it.”

Among her advocacy as mayor is protecting the environment and those who dwell within it. She also shared the backstory of the calamities that Ormocanons faced in the previous years, which resulted in the loss of lives and livelihood.

Further, Mayor Lucy also said that people need to recognize that human actions are causing Gaia, Mother Earth, to react and respond in ways that are very destructive for humans, for flora and fauna, for agriculture, for structures, and for economies.

“It is only by understanding this cause-and-effect relationship that we can take control of the climate change crisis that threatens our very existence on this planet,” she added.

Mayor Gomez also mentioned Ormoc City’s establishment of a baseline for greenhouse gas emissions through the guidance of the international NGO Local Governments for Sustainability and how it can benefit the city; and that the geothermal plant in the city, which is the second largest in the world, is among the contributors to lessening carbon emissions in the city by producing sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Mayor Lucy also emphasized that “the city has not ceased its quest to continually improve its resilience, and it is now a policy that all new projects in Ormoc City shall come with built-in disaster resilience aspects and mechanisms.”

On the other hand, during the said event, in a video message, Vice President Sara Z. Duterte lauded the DENR and Green Convergence, along with a coalition of environmental networks and organizations, for their support of the government’s whole-of-nation approach to reducing climate change vulnerability.

Duterte then urged different sectors in the country to become voices of change in the country to mitigate the risks brought about by rising sea levels, changes in air temperature, and the frequency of climate disasters.

Moreover, DENR 4-A Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria stated the importance of spearheading the summit, which is to strengthen the collaboration and involvement of different sectors in addressing the climate emergency. Promoting the target of climate neutrality by 2050 and laying out recommendations on food safety and having a sustainable economy are among the agenda items of the environmental summit. By Gwen Maurillo (EV Mail Feb. 20-26, 2023 issue)