Meet the finalists for 2019 MovePH Ambassador for environment and sustainability

Rappler.com
Who's your pick for 2019 MovePH Ambassador for environment and sustainability? Public voting for the finalists will be open until January 10, 2020.

MANILA, Philippines – Faced with polarizing issues and disinformation, several Filipinos have gone above and beyond to cut through the noise, heed the call of their community, and answer with collective action.

This year, Rappler’s civic engagement arm will be bringing back the MovePH Awards to celebrate individuals, organizations, and initiatives that are making a difference.

With the theme “Inspiring movements with impact,” this year’s awards will recognize MovePH Ambassadors who are pushing for change in their field – not just for themselves but also for others.

One ambassador will be chosen from each of the 5 categories of the 2019 MovePH Awards. Doing their part to act on the climate emergency, among those being recognized is the MovePH Ambassador for environment and sustainability. 

After reviewing more than 70 nominations, we have selected 3 finalists for this year’s MovePH Ambassador for environment and sustainability. 

Along with the judges’ scores, part of the criteria for this year’s 2019 MovePH Ambassadors is the community vote, comprising 30% of the overall score. 

Now we want to know your top choices, as we open public voting for the finalists until January 10, 2020

MovePH awardees will be recognized in an awarding ceremony in February 2020.

Meet the Filipinos who inspire courage in their community and seek to move the country forward.


Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc.

Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PRRCFI) mostly works with coastal communities that are especially vulnerable to resource depletion and climate change. Its project sites are in the Southern Negros Marine Key Biodiversity Area, which hosts a network of marine protected areas for the recovery and sustainability of fish stocks in the Sulu Sea. 

By the mentoring through Danjugan Island’s environmental education programs, students, teachers, and emerging leaders in the fields of marine sciences, fisheries, forestry, agriculture, biology and ecology are empowered to spark change in their communities. The change needed is to avert the climate crisis, and global issues like marine plastic pollution and overfishing.

PRRCFI’s approach is mainly founded in experiential learning and design thinking to engage stakeholders deeper and in a more inclusive manner. Its more recent work is partnering with sari-sari store owners and local government units to operate prototypes of refilling through 8 Wala Usik Sari-Sari Stores across Southern Negros, and 1 cafe and social enterprise hub, Wala Usik Tiangge+Kapehan in Bacolod City.

Through Wala Usik, these grassroots or bottom-up efforts in behavior change and systems redesign can be seen to reduce single-use plastic, while addressing the community’s need for consumer goods that are available in increments they can afford sans sachets.

So that others can replicate and scale its initiatives, PRRCFI executive director Dave Albao said that PRRCFI will need more resources and collaborations to further tell its story and test its models of behavior change in Danjugan Island and Wala Usik. 

This will help its ability to support local and global movements for ecological sustainability and climate actions. Through a broader reach, individuals and organizations may then be inspired to either collaborate with, replicate or scale such initiatives. 


Jolan Saavedra
Vice president, Siargao Environmental Awareness Movement

Jolan Saavedra is a local Siargaonon surfer who truly cares about his home and is actively protecting it so he can serve his people. He is currently the vice president of the Siargao Environmental Awareness (SEA) Movement.

SEA Movement is focused on Brgy. Catangnan of the municipality of General Luna, Siargao. Because of a lack of proper solid waste management, SEA Movement started with simple beach clean-ups with local surfer kids 4 years ago to keep the beaches and roads clean. This spawned to lobbying to ban single-use plastics, information education campaigns on solid waste management, and the acquisition of the baranggay’s own garbage truck, to name a few.

This brought about a collective mindset of being eco-conscious within the local community which can be seen in the local market, stores, resorts and restaurants.

SEA Movement projects and initiatives focus on collaborations with the key players of Siargao’s development. They work with the government by lobbying for more local laws, and the community by hosting clean-up drives and information education campaigns. 

SEA Movement aims to be one of the country’s leaders in sustainable tourism through collaborative efforts from all stakeholders, acting as a hub that connects people with different skills but share the same passion in environmental conservation. 

Saavedra hopes to undergo a leadership and management training from experts in environmental advocacy, and have a mentor who can serve as his consultant in planning and executing projects to enable him to carry on his skills to the next generation and ensure the continuity of the advocacy. He also hopes to gather an entourage of project managers with experience in the field of conservation who can help him run the organization’s projects. 


Marija Kara “Cooki” Trinidad
Environmental advocate

Marija Kara “Cooki” Trinidad was initially focused on banning plastic straws in business establishments until she realized more had to be done to fight the climate crisis. Being a third year law student at the Mindanao State University-Iligan campus, she drafted a comprehensive plastic ban ordinance and lobbied it to the local government unit in 2019. It was approved on April 1, and is set for full implementation this December.

Trinidad continues to create drafts for ordinances to encourage a city-wide zero-waste movement, and push for greener policies and laws that will provide for an ecological solid waste management program among others.

To raise awareness about environmental issues in her community, Trinidad also gives talks and seminars to schools, businesses, and organizations to highlight the importance of leading a more sustainable lifestyle. Acting on her advocacy, Trinidad has led a climate strike in Iligan City, distributed eco bags made out of old shirts to market goers to encourage them to switch from disposables to reusables, and conducted monthly ploggings in 2018–where at most 100 attendees jog while picking up litter.

Aside from raising awareness and pushing for environmental policies, Trinidad is now seeking to provide a livelihood focused on sustainability where materials that are already found within the community are repurposed to prevent more garbage from piling up. With this in mind, she will need the support of the local and national government, the funds to operate machines, and from there make use of existing waste to create and repurpose new things.

Inspiring countless members of her community to do their part to save the environment and pushing for tangible change, Trinidad is now focusing on tapping low income groups and communities with the help of barangay officials to better understand what goes on in their households and the challenges they go through to live a sustainable lifestyle – all while studying law, being a mother of two kids, and maintaining a full-time job as a data researcher. – Rappler.com