DTI encourages youth groups to be sustainable consumers and tackle plastic pollution


MAKATI, April 10 — With the celebration of the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) in the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) under the Consumer Protection Group (CPG), conducted the first Consumer Youth e-Forum last 19 March 2021 via online conference.

With the WCRD 2021 theme “Tackling Plastic Pollution,” the DTI together with the National Youth Commission (NYC) spearheaded the first Consumer Youth e-Forum to further educate the youth and highlight the importance of active participation in addressing one of the most pressing environmental issues today, plastic pollution.

Antique Representative Deputy Speaker Hon. Loren Legarda delivered the keynote message with a reminder that “plastics may be easily thrown away but we cannot rid ourselves of the consequences just as easily because these consequences, as you know, include its effects on the environment.” Hon. Legarda admits that plastic is pervasive and convenient that it can be difficult to stay conscious of its consequences. Thus, the biggest challenge is the need for a lifestyle change where people abandon the convenience of throwaway culture that they have been used to, and embrace what looks like the hard work of a zero-waste lifestyle. Hon. Legarda also believes that young people are the drivers of social and environmental change since they are more exposed to environmental education, and they have better means of accessing and sharing information about the environment.

A message of support was given by Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines Executive Director Mr. Jeremy S. Marquez wherein he admits that plastic consumption is high in the construction industry but through one of the pillars of the Philippine

Construction Industry Roadmap 2020-2030, which is sustainability, the construction industry actively promotes the principle of sustainability and biodiversity in their planning, implementation and evaluation. Also, to give her message of support was Ms. Antoinette Taus, Founder of Communities Organized for Resources Allocation (CORA), Inc. Ms. Taus shared that love, courage and purpose are important in the campaign to save the environment. She also adds that the youth should not forget the power that they have since they are the future of this world.

Eight youth groups’ initiatives presented the environmental problems related to plastic pollution that they are facing in their communities and how they are currently helping to address them.

•     Mr. Adrian Camposagrado of The EstrawngHeroes of Tigbauan, Iloilo

•     Mr. Eddie Mar Velo, President of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Flora, Apayao

•     Ms. Marian Jule Cedeño, President of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Kapatagan, Lanao Del Norte

•     Engr. Angelica Anabeza, Chairwoman Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of Brgy. Calajo-an, Minglanilla, Cebu

•     Mr. Lemuel Gio Cayabyab, Youth Organization Registration Program (YORP) Member and Owner of Manggaan from Brgy. Roxas, San Carlos City, Pangasinan

•     Ms. Fatima Villaseñor, Provincial Youth Development Officer of Sta. Cruz, Laguna

•     Mr. Ardnie Buhat, Vice President of Bread Society from Quezon City

•     Mr. Jerome Suratos, President of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of San Fabian, Pangasinan

NYC Northern Luzon Cluster Head Officer-in-Charge Ms. Rose Chell Anne C. Rojas gave the highlights of all of the presentations of the youth leaders. Ms. Rojas proudly shared that the programs and projects of the youth will make a difference towards environmental sustainability and also, to solve issues on plastic pollution.

CPG Undersecretary Atty. Ruth B. Castelo, who opened the program, also had a short presentation where she emphasized that even though plastic is a highly useful material in our everyday lives, our consumption and production of plastics, especially single-use plastic, have become unsustainable and are causing negative environmental consequences. “We all need to take action, we all need to come together, especially the youth. The youth would be the best advocates of tackling plastic pollution,” Undersecretary Castelo added.

During her recognition of the presentations of the youth groups in tackling plastic pollution, Undersecretary Castelo also hopes that the NYC will help in influencing youth members so that they can also be consumer ambassadors on tackling plastic pollution.

CPG Assistant Secretary and CPAB Concurrent Officer-in-Charge Atty. Ann Claire C. Cabochan said that she was inspired by all of the presentations especially of the programs and activities of the youth presenters. Assistant Secretary Cabochan hopes that we make do of what is really useful and what is eco-friendly.

The closing remarks was given by NYC Chairperson Mr. Ryan R. Enriquez who promises that NYC and all the youth groups will work hand in hand to promote waste segregation, recycling, and other programs, since this will be a big help to the alarming cases of plastic pollution here in the Philippines.

Mr. Enriquez also shared that the Consumer Youth e-Forum is a great start in raising awareness in taking care of the environment. He also expressed his heartfelt thanks to DTI and reminds everyone to know their consumer rights and responsibilities

Through the Consumer Youth e-Forum, the department hopes that the youth will be a strong driving force in the fight against plastic pollution. For consumer-related concerns and queries, send an email to ConsumerCare@dti.gov.ph or CPAB@dti.gov.ph. (DTI)