Quezon City youths showcase solutions to sustainable urban development in pilot project

Jan Yumul, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 27 2019 02:27 AM

Quezon City youths, local government, and partner representatives share the stage after a short presentation and recognition ceremony for the maiden youth forum dubbed "Solution Revolution: The Youth of Quezon City and their fight for 1.5C" on August 24, 2019. Jan Yumul, ABS-CBN News

For the first time ever, youths from Quezon City will have a say in their city's urban planning process.

Thanks to "Our City 2030", which organized a forum dubbed "Solution Revolution: The Youth of Quezon City and their fight for 1.5C".

Youths from Judge Feliciano Belmonte, Sr. High School, and Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma High School won an opportunity to present their solutions before local governments, partner organizations, and other stakeholders for a sustainable future on August 24.

Our City 2030 is a joint project between the World Wide Fund for Nature and children humanitarian organisation Plan International. It has worked with youths in Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia, and aims to involve the young in the urban planning process, encouraging them to conceptualize their visions and meet with local governments for the sustainability of their home cities by 2030. 

The Philippines is its only site outside of Africa and is a partnership with the local government of Quezon City, Balingasa High School, Judge Feliciano Belmonte, Sr. High School, Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma High School, and Quezon City's Alternative Learning System (ALS).

Enhanced Eco-bricks. These sturdy bio-bricks are made up of animal manure, an innovation by the students from Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma High School. Jan Yumul, ABS-CBN News

The day-long forum also featured a total of six select teams at the solutions exhibit where the audience was given the opportunity to vote online for the top three solutions that were presented during the round-table discussions. The winners presented their proposed solutions in a plenary discussion with the question and answer portion, followed by a commitment ceremony from representatives of the Quezon City government and in-city businesses that formalized their support in achieving the goals of the solutions presented by the youth.

The first group from Judge Feliciano Belmonte, Sr. High School, which garnered 51 online votes on site, tackled the issue on improper solid waste management and came up with a bio-fertilizer using vermicomposting of solid wastes.

The second group, also from Judge Feliciano Belmonte, Sr. High School, got 40 votes for their chosen "Climate Change" issue and "vlogging" as a solution in hopes of spreading more awareness on the risks of the climate crisis. 

The third group from Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma High School with 31 votes, and hailed for a thorough and research-based presentation, picked improper waste management as the issue. They came up with eco-bricks made out of animal manure to raise awareness on daily consumption and waste. 

"We will work with Quezon City, the LGU to see how these three can be able to fit into the current plans of the LGU because that's what we want and we hope that the three groups would also have the opportunity to actually also present in the council," said Atty. Gia Ibay, head of Climate and Energy Program, WWF Philippines. 

Ibay said they are going to work further to refine the proposals of the remaining three teams. The participating schools were chosen on their environmental protection criteria, the school's scale, and the ALS.

"We wanted to work with schools also that aren't normally the recipient of you know..usual projects from other organizations so that other schools get to benefit and then we wanted to work with a scale of schools that are of different scales so one school of the three is a small-sale public high school, because of the population is like a thousand. Another is a medium scale and the one is really big, almost 10,000 in population because one of the outputs of the project is the meeting place, which is like this one," said Ibay. 

"The next step that we have now is visioning workshop with youth who are persons with disabilities because they also have their own challenges and we want to also get their views and how can we improve Quezon City, especially for youth who have that kind of condition."

The youth forum represents the largest milestone for the first year of "Our City 2030". The project was launched in December 2018 with an inception workshop, followed by lectures and workshops developing capacities of teachers and students on climate change and disaster preparedness through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) concept.

"We're talking with DPWMD if this can be rolled out in other schools as well because we only have three schools that are partners here and they're very much interested in how the process is also helping them. Let's decide on how we can be able to roll it out if the City government wants to put in additional budget for next year just to cover additional schools. That might be fantastic to see," said Ibay.

About 200 attended the forum at the Sequioa Hotel in Quezon City. It included representatives from the WWF-Philippines National Youth Council, Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, Persons with Disability Affairs Office, and Small Business Development and Promotion Office, among others.