MANILA, Philippines – After resigning from the Senate last year, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri has returned to his first love – environmental work.
Zubiri is one of the four faces of Pilipinas Ecowarriors, a new green movement that aims to encourage the youth to report abuses or violations of environmental laws via social media.
Speaking to ANC, the former senator said Pilipinas Ecowarriors is patterned after Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo, ABS-CBN’s citizen journalism project of ABS-CBN.
“Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo encompasses everything. Sa amin, ang focus namin ay ang kalikasan, to get people more involved,” he said. “They can upload videos and pictures of different environmental violations.”
Zubiri’s fellow “ecowarriors” include basketball star Chris Tiu, singer-songwriter Rico Blanco and wildlife veterinarian Nielsen Donato.
He hopes that through the power of celebrities and social media, environmental issues in the country would be more relevant to the youth.
“We want to do something more youngish and in tune with the times,” Zubiri said.
Beyond the glitz of the campaign, however, is a serious commitment to put an end to environmental offenses, from littering to illegal logging.
Zubiri said Pilipinas Ecowarriors has partnered with government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“We deliver the information we gather to the DENR. We’re supposed to sign a memorandum of agreement very soon. I’ve spoken to Secretary Paje (DENR Secretary Ramon Paje). He has lent some of his staff to help us,” he said.
“We coordinate with the regional director [of DENR], give a feedback mechanism. Kung ‘di gagalaw ang DENR, may napag-usapan kami na shame campaign.”
Zubiri stressed the importance of protecting the environment as they strive to attract more young volunteers.
“We want it to go viral,” he said.