SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - More than 50,000 volunteers from this free port, the neighboring city of Olongapo and the province of Zambales came to the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) 2015 held on Saturday at this premier Freeport, making this coastal cleanup event the biggest in the country.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia said that local residents and stakeholders in the free port “are increasingly becoming aware of how precious the coastal ecosystem is to Zambales.”
“Which is why the SBMA has been fully supporting this activity ever since,” Garcia said.
The SBMA executive also noted that the growing number of yearly turnout—from just 800 volunteers in 2009 to 4,000 in 2011, 14,000 in 2012 and 27,000 in 2013—is an indication of growing environmental awareness, as well as community cooperation and common aspiration among residents to do their part in keeping the environment healthy and sustainable.
“Last year the province of Zambales registered 55,151 participants, the highest turnout in the country, Garcia pointed out. “Although not all the list of participants is already in, we are confident that this year’s turnout is better, as more and more people are becoming conscious of the environment and more are joining the trend, including volunteers from Manila.”
Aside from Olongapo City, all the municipalities in Zambales have participated in the coastal cleanup. These include Santa Cruz, Candelaria, Masinloc, Palauig, Iba, Botolan, Cabangan, San Felipe, San Narciso, San Antonio, Subic, as well as the land-locked towns of San Marcelino and Castillejos whose residents trooped to nearby towns or the Subic Bay Freeport.
“Aside from the residents, it is good to see that our business locators in the Freeport are taking an interest in the coastal cleanup. Many companies here, including some of their bosses, took part in the coastal cleanup on Saturday,” Garcia also said.
Garcia also pointed out that the recent Subic Environment Summit had attracted 3,000 participants this year, about double the number last year.
“This creates a very good image of Subic that we care for our environment, and that our prime asset, Subic Bay, is being maintained as clean and as free from pollution as we can muster.”
Garcia commended the effort of Olongapo Mayor Rolen Paulino to drum up the coastal cleanup event among elementary and high school institutions in the city, which contributed the biggest number of volunteers at 26,451.
Paulino said that his administration wants to educate children of the need for a cleaner coastal area, adding that no one except for the residents themselves will help clean Olongapo’s coastline.
He also stressed that aside from students, residents and businesses in Olongapo have shown their support to ICC 2015.
One of the businesses that took part in the cleanup was SM Olongapo, whose affiliates, tenants, agencies, and employees joined the activity. (30)
Justice Raoul Creencia (left), government counsel at the Office of Government Controlled Corporations, joins SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia and other SBMA officials in a march to kick off the 2015 edition of the International Coastal Clean-up in the Subic Bay Freeport. With them are Deputy Administrator (SDA) for Legal Affairs Atty. Randy Escolango and SDA for Regulatory Group Atty. Chot Kabigting. More than 50,000 volunteers from Subic Bay Freeport, Olongapo City, and province of Zambales took part in the annual cleanup event.