As one of the lead agencies in disaster response, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) appeals to the public to help conserve and protect the environment as it joins the global community in the observance of Earth Hour 2018.

For this year, the Earth Hour Campaign will bear the theme “#Connect2Earth,” which aims to strengthen awareness on biodiversity and climate action. The campaign will kick-off tomorrowMarch 24, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The actual main ‘light out’ event marking the Earth Hour will start from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

The advocacy to take better care of the environment through the Earth Hour Campaign is very significant as the planet continues to experience climate change  that causes global warming, which according to experts, increases the risks of the occurrence of natural disasters.

The DSWD will participate in the annual observance by enjoining our staff, including those in our field offices in the regions, to switch off or dim non-essential lights in our work areas and homes for one hour during the global ‘light out’ event.

According to DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco, protecting the environment from the impact of climate change is important in strengthening community resilience against natural disasters.

“The deterioration of our natural environment is a terrible factor that contributes to the development of extreme weather disturbances into natural disasters. And as the Philippines is a disaster prone country, it is important that all Filipinos partake in all efforts to conserve the environment,”  OIC Leyco said.

“The DSWD, as one of the lead government agencies in disaster response, has been supportive of the initiatives of both the government and private sector that protect the environment and advance the interest of the Filipino people,” he said.

Moreover, it will conduct an Earth Hour Information Caravan to communicate to the public the importance of protecting the environment in preventing the occurrence of disasters and reducing its impacts.

During the conduct of information drive, a team of information officers and staff from the Department will go around the district of Quiapo, Manila to discuss disaster mitigation practices to include steps that the public may take to protect the planet. These include the conservation of water and electricity, proper waste management, recycling, tree planting, and participating in different environmental initiatives.

The social welfare executive shared that DSWD has its own initiatives in addressing climate change, including encouraging the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to actively participate in activities that mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Issues and concerns on disaster preparedness and environmental protection are also discussed during the conduct of Family Development Sessions attended by our 4Ps beneficiaries to capacitate them toward climate change adaptation and resilience,” he added.

In closing, OIC Leyco encouraged employees and the public to go beyond Earth Hour by participating in different in environmental projects and initiatives throughout the year. ###