From Left to Right: DENR Secretary Gina Lopez, President Rodrigo Duterte and AdDU President Joel Tabora, SJ., stands before the 4,000 students and members of several civil society groups during the Kasaulogan sa Kinaiyahan, one of the activities of the Oya Mindanaw held at the Martin Hall. Photo by Javin Rubillar.

by Aivy Rose Villarba

Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), co-organized together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), hosted the first Mindanao environmental summit dubbed as Oya Mindanaw! State of Mindanao Environment Day last August 4.

Series of environmental protection and conservation activities were done during the gathering. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte graced Kasaulogan sa Kinaiyahan, an event held at the University’s Martin Hall.

The 1st President from Mindanao island said before the 4,000 students and members from the several civil society groups in attendance, “Let us take care of our nation, we only have one.”

“An island as fragile as Mindanao there will never be a tomorrow for our children,” Duterte said.

Duterte has been a known supporter of the mining ban in Davao, to protect the city from its harmful effects to the environment. He even lauded the members of the city council for coming up with a resolution that effectively legislated the ban.

Moreover, DENR Secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez also engaged into dialogue with the different stakeholders and Indigenous communities in Mindanao during the summit.

During the dialogue, Lopez emphasized the importance of social justice in the region.

“My commitment for Mindanao is social justice. The definition of social justice is that the resources of Mindanao must necessarily be enjoyed by the people of Mindanao,” Lopez said.

The DENR Secretary already suspended mining companies that do not comply with environmental safety standards, in consonance with AdDU’s own advocacy on defending the integrity of creation and protecting our common home.

In one of his columns, AdDU President Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ., said, “as a Jesuit university we are to serve the faith, promote justice…and preserve and protect the environment.”

AdDU also participated in the strategic planning workshop regarding the plans of the DENR for members and representatives of different civil society groups at the Davao Convention Center.

With a president from Davao City, AdDU plays a more vital role in promoting social justice through consensus building and being one of the venues for critical collaboration with the Philippine’s new administration.

Watch the Pakighinabi with DENR Secretary Gina Lopez during Oya Mindanaw here.

For more photos during Oya Mindanaw visit the Ateneo de Davao University Gallery here.

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