“Aeta Communities The Best Allies to Save AC Watershed” – Bishop Ambo David

The Angeles City local government unit (LGU) and Abacan River and Angeles Watershed Advocacy Council, Inc. (ARAW-ACI) have officially launched SUBLI 2023 integrated environmental campaign in cooperation with SM City Clark and Department of Education – Angeles City on January 23.

SUBLI 2023 is a whole-year information and education campaign (IEC). SUBLI is a Kapampangan acronym which stands for “Subli ing Upaya, Bie, at Lugud king Indung Gabun”.

Most Reverend Bishop Pablo Virgilio “ Ambo” David of the Archdiocese of Caloocan City and president of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), was the guest of honor and speaker. In his video message, he emphasized the importance of SUBLI to the advocacy for environmental protection and climate change action.

With the launching of SUBLI, David confidently assured that, “We are no longer waiting for the initiative to come for the top officials. This is an initiative from below and in close partnership with our indigenous people, specifically our Aeta communities who are our closest allies in reforesting the Zambales mountain range that extends all the way to Pampanga and feeds our watersheds.” He also pointed out, “You can’t have watershed without planting trees; preferably native hard woods, bamboos and native fruit trees. Thank you for the brilliant idea of partnering with the Aeta tribal communities in this endeavor. But please make sure also that we protect their rights to their ancestral domains.”

David, who will be celebrating his 64th birthday on March 2, acknowledged the leadership of
ARAW-ACI president Renato “Abong” Tayag Jr. in the advocacy work. “I am humbled by the thought as Tatang Abong reminded me when he saw me recently at the Camelite Monastery that our Sagip Environmental Advocacy at Holy Rosary many years ago had preempted the “Laudati Si” (Magna Carta of Environmental Advocacy) published by Pope Francis of almost five years. Please count me in as your ally,” he committed.

Tayag said the integrated environmental drive aims to create massive awareness about water security, reforestation, climate change action, and the rehabilitation and development of the Angeles Watershed in Barangay Sapangbato.

ARAW-ACI and the Angeles LGU have partnered for the rehabilitation of the city watershed in 2019. Under the watershed rehabilitation project, ARAW-ACI introduced the Adopt-A-Watershed Reforestation Program (AWRP). The group has been encouraging private sector groups to adopt planting sites at the city watershed and help maintain the sites for three years. To date, ARAW-ACI is working with 12 private sector partners under the AWRP.

“We were able to implement AWRP and now SUBLI 2023 because we have the full support of the Angeles City Government led by Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. and Vice Mayor Vicky Vega-Cabigting. We extend our sincerest gratitude to them and also to the Chief Adviser to the Mayor Ma’am IC Calaguas,” Tayag said.

Tayag said the campaign will feature face-to-face public events and activities, traditional and social media information drive, and a school caravan. The events are as follows: Botanical and Art Exhibit on January 23-February 6 (SM City Clark Events Center), Film-showing on January 23-29 (SM City Clark Cinema 6), Pasarela Fashion Show on January 28 (SM City Clark Events Center), Earth Day Concert on April 22 (venue TBA), and a caravan to 50 public and private schools in Angeles City from February 3-August 30. The school caravan will be conducted in cooperation with the Department of Education (DepEd) Angeles City.

Tayag added that the media information drive will start on February 1 and will run until November 30.

“The main target of SUBLI 2023 are the youth. We want to bridge the advocacy to our children and grandchildren because they are the future of Angeles City and Pampanga. They are the future leaders and decision-makers. What we do right now at the Angeles Watershed is intended for the next generations,” Tayag said.

During the SUBLI 2023 launching, ARAW-ACI and the Angeles City LGU awarded plaques of recognition to the AWRP partners namely: Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., Porac Bank, Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) Angeles City, Holy Family Academy Batch ‘80, Scrubbed.Net, De La Salle Alumni Association (DLSAA) Pampanga Chapter, Rotary Club of Angeles Kuliat, Jocson College, Balibago Waterworks Systems, Inc. (BWSI), DKL Manufacturing Corp. and Angeles City Water District (ACWD).

The grand prize winners of SUBLI 2023 Documentary Film/Video and Songwriting contests were also recognized during the program. The top winners for the documentary film/video category are Mhonsour Sunga, Russel Montalban, and Angelica Mamangun with their work titled “Tara, Share Tayo”. Nino L. Vitto bagged the top prize in the songwriting competition for his song “Inang Kalikasan”.

Meanwhile, the participating visual artists to the Art Exhibit were also cited for their valuable contribution to the campaign. They are Abel de Luna, Andy Ramos, Aurelio De Guzman, Bernadette Tiotuico, Minerva Arceo, Billy Corcuera, Derick Maniego, Edwin Catli, Enrie Nicdao, Erwin Torio, Heidy Macabenta, Iwag Pallatao, Jing Torno, Jojo La Madrid, Ramil Tumampos, Dr. Vittorio Pantig and Norman Tiotuico, the SUBLI 2023 Art Exhibit Director.

One of the official SUBLI 2023 infomercials was also shown during the program. The infomercials are projects of the ARAW Youth Ambassadors led by Chito Arceo Jr., ARAW Youth president. These infomercials will be aired in two radio stations and three regional TV stations this year.

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