The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) XII spearheaded its first blended and 4th Environmental Summit on June 21–22, 2022 held at SunCity Suites, General Santos City and via online platform.

This year’s summit focused on plastic pollution and marine litter. It was also a venue that brought together the academe, private and public sectors to promote breakthroughs and advancements in environmental protection.

During his opening message, For. Abdulkadir C. Andang, Chief of Finance and Administrative Division, representing EMB XII Regional Director Engr. Omar M. Saikol, Regional Director of EMB XII, stressed that “we should focus our efforts and advocacies on the solutions and implementation of a systemic approach to the various sources generating the pollution, both land- and sea-based contributors, and a combination of intervention in different sectors and at different levels.”

Consequently, remarkable resource speakers were invited such as Mr. Willie V. Loyola, Senior Environmental Management Specialist from EMB XII, who presented the Water Quality Management in Region XII; Engr. Voltaire L. Acosta, Project Manager of the Healthy Ocean Clean Cities Initiative of UN-Habitat Philippines, discussed Marine Litter in the Philippine Seas: Issues and Opportunities through a virtual presentation; and, Mr. Roy A. Mejorada, resident veterinarian of the Protected Area of Marine Office—Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (PAMO SBPS), talked about the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape Program and Milestone.

Various best practices in eliminating plastic pollution and marine litter were also discussed, wherein, Ms. Kim E. Bogador, head of Sarangani Province Empowerment and Community Transformation Forum, Inc., talked about Project I-Reduce Overview and Milestone; Ms. Roanne Duran, from Knowledge Management and Communications Specialist of UN-Habitat Philippines, discussed the compiled local and international approaches by HOCCI, including techniques and technologies to reduce waste, which may be of inspiration for LGUs, MSMEs, NGOs, and communities; Ms. Elvisa Mabelin, representative of LGU Cagayan de Oro, and Ms. Juneva Fe Asis, acting Municipal Environmental and Natural Resources Officer of LGU Lebak, Sultan Kudarat, presented their Best Environmental Technologies (BET) and Best Available Practices (BEP) being done for the continuous protection of the environment and its resources, especially in proper solid waste management.

Furthermore, the summit was also one of the venues for sharing of research conducted by the Mindanao State University-General Santos City Campus, through the advisory of Professor Julius Mingoc and research assistant Mr. Jomarlds Gabriel L. Ramog, and fourth-year marine biology students of Mindanao State University, namely: Shawn Andrei Deposa, Rio Castillo, Nikko Cimeni Malimping, Jecelle Buensuceso Agreda, Almisid Abdua, Roebert Manlangit, Fatima Clavecillas, and Christian Jay Redosend, who presented the results of different studies conducted on 2019-2020, which focuses on the occurrence of microplastics in the sea surface waters of Sarangani Bay, beach sediments along Sarangani Bay, and in select fish species caught from Sarangani Bay.

The said event was attended by various industries and local government units (LGU) on the first day and representatives from different schools and youth sectors within the region on the second day.