September 26, 2019

Thousands join Global Climate Strike in Batangas to call for climate justice and immediate climate action!

By Youth Advocates for Climate Action in the Philippines

The Youth Advocates for Climate Action in the Philippines (YACAP), along with Bauan Technical High School’s Supreme Student Government and Youth for Environment in Schools’ Organization led the localized Global Climate Strike mobilization at Bauan Technical High School in Batangas last September 26, 2019. The Global Climate Strike is an ever-growing worldwide movement that is multisectoral and intergenerational. This climate action led by the youth has reached the Philippines where we see more and more people calling for climate justice.

In Batangas, over two thousand students from grades 7-12 of Bauan Technical High School roved around the school for an environmental advocacy campaign that included a school cleanup, an educational discussion about the climate crisis, the youth’s role in addressing it, and the looming possibility of mass extinction by Darell A. Bautista, and a noise barrage accompanied by a climate march that resembled a tumult of shouting and clanking of noise-producing equipments into each building to call for climate action, climate justice, system change, and most of all, climate awareness.

“During the educational discussion, the students said they heard about the Amazonia fires, but were not aware about local environmental issues. They know it wasn’t as hot here in the Philippines 10 years ago, but they don’t know why this is the case,” said Aldrich Macatangay, a member of YACAP and lead organizer of the Batangas-based strike. “The program served as a medium to build a foundation of knowledge at least, and a culture that inspires action by tackling facts and reducing far-fetched concepts into daily life scenarios.”

Meanwhile, Macatangay also expressed his gratitude for the indomitable support of Apoll Silang, Master Teacher II who, in his words, ‘was the fuel that made the car move’. “The program was unlike any other programs. Mass participation from students was observed. Even the students themselves were immersed by their numbers. On our part, we were basically just offering them guidance. But beyond that, we are happy and grateful for its success, given that we only had less than 2 days to organize it,” Silang said. “But we so wanted to empower the youth and starters would be through this youth-led activity, so I constantly told my colleagues, ‘suportahan natin ang mga bata’. And that’s what we did.”

When asked about raising the school’s efforts on activities such as these, Aga Castillo, one of the SSG Moderators noted that the establishment of another organization is underway as he will be withdrawing his current position next academic year. “Since Science teacher naman ako, siguro it’s time na rin for me, in extra-curricular context, to focus on my field. I want an organization centered solely on Science active by next year,” said Castillo.

Other people who played a big part were Lina Faltado, SHS focal person; Cecile Sandoval, YES-O JHS Club moderator; and Rhitz Arguelles, moderator of the Arts In Motion (AIM) Club who invested time for the placards.

All of the organizers are looking forward to increasing efforts on pro-people environmental activities and advocacy campaigns so as to prompt intergenerational actions not only in schools, but also within diverse communities around Batangas.#