Senator and multi-awarded World Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao who holds several championship honors in different boxing divisions, has apparently not stopped collecting championship awards.
Lately, he pocketed another one, this time outside the boxing ring – the “Clean Air Championship’ award presented him by the environmental watchdog Clean Air Philippines Movement, Inc. (CAPMI), in rites held at the Manila Hotel only last week.
CAPMI said it has chosen Pacquiao for the honors this year based on merits done and earned to advance their clean air advocacy and other environmental causes.
Past Clean Air awardees were Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who sent Pacquiao a video message.
As a lawmaker, Pacquiao has consistently pushed for the full implementation of Republic Act No. 8749 otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. The law provides a “comprehensive air pollution control policy to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature and at the same time, promote and protect the global environment.”
At the awards rites, Pacquiao urged Filipinos to plant more trees as part of measures to save the environment. “Let us continue to plant plantitos and plantitas. Let us plant more trees instead of wasting our time on vices,” he after receiving the ‘Clean Air Champion’ honors.
Planting more trees, Pacquaio said, is the answer to the current problem of serious flooding in some parts of the country triggered by typhoons hitting the country, like the recent Super Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses which did not only destroy properties but also claimed several lives in the Bicol Region, Quezon, Cagayan, and Isabela.
The Senator pointed out that aside from preventing soil erosion because of the capacity of trees to anchor the soil in place which hold water, they also ensure cleaner and fresher air.
Earlier, President Duterte said what the country now experiences is the effect of climate change due to environmental degradation. He called on his Cabinet secretaries to act immediately on the problem to mitigate and prevent their recurrence in the future.
CAPMI president Dr. Leo Olarte strongly echoed and confirmed Duterte’s statement.
“President Duterte is correct. Climate change involves abnormal warming of our planet’s oceans. Typhoons are born in oceans and not on land. The warmer our oceans the stronger the global wind systems will be and trigger super typhoons like Yolanda and Rolly. Anthropogenic or simply human-caused activities result in the unabated emissions of greenhouse gases that pollute the air we breathe. This leads to global warming that causes Climate Change,” Olarte explained.
Other awardees at the event were the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Beta Sigma Fraternity Medical Group (BSFMG), and the League of Data-privacy and Cyber-security Advocates of the Philippines, Inc. (LeaDCAP) for the PMA Doctors on Boats and the PMA DOCPH free online telemedicine docph.org.
For thw PMA Doctors on Boats, the awardees include the DOTr -Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Department of National Defense (DND)-Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the PNP Maritime Group.
The Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) also received the award for the Climate Change and Poverty Mitigation category.
Studies conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) show that more than 80% of air pollution in urban areas in the country comes from the unabated emissions from motor vehicles that form part of the greenhouse gases in the planet’s atmosphere.
These gases cause global warming eventually leading to climate change.
Aside from climate change, Olarte said, toxic motor vehicle emissions also cause deadly cardiovascular and respiratory diseases in humans.