Sunday, April 14, 2024

UN Body Cites Filipino Senator’s Poverty Eradication, Biodiversity


UN Body Cites Filipino Senator’s Poverty Eradication, Biodiversity


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The United Nations Association of the Philippines (UNAP) has conferred Senator Cynthia Villar the Human Rights Award for her poverty eradication and biodiversity initiatives.

In her acceptance speech during the awarding ceremony at the Manila Hotel on Tuesday, Villar thanked the UNAP Board of Trustees for recognizing her commitment to eliminating poverty and maintaining a healthy environment, two of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Let me tell you about my journey towards achieving these SDG goals. With my husband Manny, we established in 1992 the Villar Foundation, a non-stock, non-profit organization to create sustainable livelihood, protect the environment and help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” Villar said.

For environment protection, she said the foundation has established Las Piñas-Paranaque Wetland Park; free agricultural training in tour farm schools in Las Piñas City, San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan, San Miguel in Iloilo and Davao City; and livelihood project in over 3,000 locations nationwide.

To help create livelihood, the Villar Foundation has also created various programs for OFWs, including the annual OFW and Family Summit.

The foundation has started the Sagip-Ilog Program to save Las Piñas and Zapote rivers from environmental degradation.

“We adopted a holistic approach, started educating people about proper waste management, the riverbanks underwent re-greening activities and tree planting to prevent future soil erosion, and we created a green social enterprise,” she said.

“Women made arts and crafts from the water lily harvested, coconet and pits from coconut husks, compost were produced from kitchen and garden wastes and were given for free to garden enthusiasts and farmers, plastic chairs from plastic wastes were given free to public and farm schools,” she added.

She said the Sagip Ilog received the coveted UN Water for Life Award in Zaragosa, Spain during a special ceremony on World Water Day in 2011.

In August 2013, the Villar Foundation Awards for Poverty Reduction was launched to give recognition to the exemplary achievements of community enterprises in helping local economic development and improvement of lives.

In 2017, the Villar Foundation Youth Awards was launched to recognize youth organizations by giving young people more space for participation, influence, and power.

In 2018, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources awarded her along with the Manila Bay Site Coordinating Management Office and other organizations the title of “Kampeon ng Katubigan” for leading the protection of Las Piñas Zapote River and the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park.

For promoting a clean and healthy environment and waterways, she was honored by the DENR-National Capital Region with the “Gawad Taga-Ilog 2.0” for their Most Improved Estero in Metro Manila during the celebration of World Water Day in 2022.

In the same year, the Villar Foundation won an international award for the World’s Best Environmental Projects. (PNA)

Photo credit: Facebook/Senator.Cynthia.Villar

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