DENR National Capital Region and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Ambassadors on Wednesday, 19 August 2020.

The MOA was signed by DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan and PUP President Manuel M. Muhi. Under the MOA, DENR National Capital Region and PUP agree to jointly train and develop selected students of the university as ENR Ambassadors. The selected ENR Ambassadors will assist DENR in its Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and advocacy campaigns on the protection, conservation, and sustainable use of the environment and natural resources of Metro Manila.

ENR ambassadors are expected to help educate their fellow students on various environmental issues affecting the region—e.g., pollution, resource degradation, and climate change, among others—and galvanize the support of the youth sector in the cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay.

In return, the DENR National Capital Region will provide the necessary assistance to the students for them to effectively function as ENR Ambassadors and help them with their studies at the same time. For starters, they will be receiving pocket LTE Wi-Fi which they can use in both their environmental education and advocacy work and academic studies.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, who was present to witness the event, handed over 100 units of pocket LTE Wi-Fi (with load) to PUP for distribution to students who would enlist as ENR Ambassadors. He also promised to provide smart tablets, along with the pocket Wi-Fi to deprived but deserving students of the university.

In his message, USec. Antiporda said that students need our help right now, especially in adjusting to the “new normal” in education. “At the same time, we need to harness their skills and transform them into effective environmental educators and champions”, he added, so that in the future, “hindi lang ang DENR ang kikilos para sa kalikasan, kundi buong bayan na [it is not only DENR who will work for the environment, but the whole country.]”

Regional Executive Director Caancan said that she is very excited and confident that the ENR Ambassador program will be successful, citing the interest and willingness of the youth to participate in the activities of the DENR National Capital Region. “The youth and student sector comprises the bulk of our volunteers whenever we organize cleanup and tree planting activities, so I’m very much sure that this program will grow and attract more young people as now we’ll have trained environmental educators coming from their ranks to lead them”, Director Caancan explained.

Regional Executive Director Caancan and PUP President Muhi acknowledged Usec. Antiporda for coming up with the program and choosing Metro Manila and PUP as a pilot area. USec. Antiporda was accompanied by Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service Director, Hiro V. Masuda; Task Force Tayo Ang Kalikasan Executive Director Maria Matilda A. Gaddi; and, DENR-NCR Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Al O. Orolfo. PUP top officials, on the other hand, came in full force as Executive Vice President Alberto C. Guillo; Vice President for Academic Affairs Emanuel C. de Guzman; Vice President for Student Affairs Zenaida R. Sarmiento; and Vice President for Research, Extension and Development Ana Ruby P. Gapasin took part in the activity. The heads of the Regional Public Affairs Office (RPAO) of DENR CALABARZON, DENR MIMAROPA, and DENR Bicol were also invited to witness the activity via video communications app. USec. Antiporda hopes to expand the ENR Ambassador program in other parts of the country.