By REY M. NASOL
LEGAZPI CITY — The provincial government of Albay has launched an initiative to promote safe, environment-friendly and climate-adaptive Christmas celebrations starting this year.
“We are launching the Green Christmas Initiative: Christmas without risks in line with our overarching provincial governance goal — environmental protection and climate change adaptation,” Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said.
To set the tone for the Christmas celebration in the entire province, the governor emphasized that the initiative must begin in the capitol before the major components of Green Christmas Initiative are formally unveiled.
These major components will focus essentially on social marketing of zero casualty sa paputok, reduced use of plastic bags in shopping, and low-carbon use celebrations, among others.
The provincial government is setting out the following guidelines this early:
On affirmative directives: Starting this year, celebration of Christmas by employees of the provincial government of Albay should Tree Planting, (b) Beach or River Clean-Up, (c) Resettlement Socials (d) Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) through games and clown and magic presentations in children’s homes or among children of informal settlers, and similar activities. Departments, sections or groups will choose their own venues for these activities.
On the negative list, all departments are banned from procuring Christmas lights to decorate existing trees at the park and spruce up ornamental plants inside offices with recyclable or biodegradable decorative materials. In serving food, plastic or paper plates and cups should be banned and their procurement prohibited; instead, banana leaves, banana bark, coconut shell and/or “bilaos” shall be used. These are more earth-friendly and, given current trends, more fashionable “going native,” and more patriotic.
As far possible, the governor advises that these practices and guidelines should be observed in household and village celebrations.
The Green Christmas celebration will also introduce an inter-department contest in making Christmas tree out of trash, the governor said.
Teresita S. Oringo of the Provincial General Services Office (PGSO) has been tasked to coordinate and oversee activities that may call for the use of the Park, while Jojo Elvira of the Agriculture Rehabilitation Program and the Albay Millenium Development Goal Office (ARPO/AMDGO) will oversee and coordinate activities that may be scheduled for the Beach Clean-Up and the Tree Planting activities. Deployment of clowns or magicians shall be coordinated with Cedric Daep of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO).
Yolanda Guanzon of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) will assist those who decide to spend their Christmas party among children in resettlement communities.
Jose M. Briones of the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO) and Manuel ‘Nhong’ Rangasa of the Center for Initiatives and Research on Climate change Adaptation (CIRCA) will be in charge of the Trash for a Christmas Tree Contest.