‘Ordinary is Exemplary in GBK’
VOL. XVIII, NO. 6(Nov. 15-21)
Civil society organizations led by Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines (CEC-Phils) is launching the Fourth Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan (GBK) this September to honor individuals and groups dedicated to the defense of the environment and the rights of the people.
The organizers behind GBK see the awards event as an opportunity to “draw a silver lining” amid issues hounding the country.
“The fourth GBK is launched in a time of turmoil—the biggest corruption scandals, the dismal state of Yolanda-hit areas, challenges in transportation, energy and basic services. Honoring the ordinary acts of courage by ordinary individuals and groups can give us inspiration to continue the struggle not only for a healthy environment, but for a better world,” said CEC Executive Director Frances Quimpo GBK recognizes grassroots efforts to protect the environment which can be in various forms such as advocacy, campaigns, research, community services and mass media and cultural work. Nominations for the Fourth GBK officially opened this September and will close on the midnight of April 1, 2015.
Individual winners in the 3rd GBK include environmental activists Armin Marin and Willem Geertman, and youth leader-advocate, Rodne Galicha. In the organization category, Kababaihang Nagtataglay ng Bihirang Lakas (KNBL), Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization and Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura Incorporated (MASIPAG) received GBK awards for their advocacy on environmental preservation and protection.
The alternative awards event is open to all Filipino individuals and organizations. Three individuals and three organizations, plus a most distinguished awardee will be chosen by an independent board of judges.
• Most Distuinguised Awarded to an individual or organization in recognition of his/her/ their being an inspiration and example to the Filipino people for offering time and talents for the defense of the environment and advancement of the people’s welfare.
• Individual Award Awarded to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability and effort to uphold the environment and people’s welfare, whether in the form of advocacy, campaigns, education, research, technology development, community services, mass media, or cultural work.
• Organizational Award- Awarded to people’s and community organizations and institutions that have demonstrated unity in upholding the welfare of the people and of the environment by exemplary actions and advocacy, campaigns, education, research, technology development, community services, mass media, or cultural work.
Nomination forms and other information on GBK can be accessed at www.cecphils.org. Winners will be publicly presented in an awarding ceremony on December 2015.
“The true mark of an environmental hero/heroine is the willingness to serve others and the environmental cause without expecting rewards. For a hero/heroine, there is no big or small act. Each day is an opportunity to serve,” noted Quimpo.
“Heroism is exemplary given the political climate in the country, where those who fight for what is right fall victim to violence,” she added.
Since 2001, a total of 74 environmental advocates have been killed in the country. At least 23 cases of harassment suits, 3 cases of enforced disappearances, 7 cases of frustrated murders and 29 cases of illegal detention involving environmental advocates have meanwhile been recorded by the Task Force – Justice for Environmental Defenders.
Global Witness, an international watchdog, identified the Philippines as the third deadliest country, and the “most perilous” in Asia, for environment defenders.
The Fourth GBK is co-organized by the GBK Awards Committee, AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, Panalipdan Mindanao and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Special Concerns Office.
*For more information on GBK, please contact the secretariat at (02)920.9099 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.