Bukidnon SP urges DepEd to make environment preservation a new subject

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/11 January) The Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan has passed a resolution asking the Department of Education (DepEd) to include in its curriculum a new subject on environment and its preservation as the “the global problem involving what is now universally known as climate change has affected the Philippines and its provinces.”

Majority Floor Leader Nemesio Beltran Jr., author of the resolution, which the provincial board passed last Wednesday, said in a phone interview the subject or its equivalent must be part of the regular curriculum in the elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

“The problems associated with climate change would entail a massive educational campaign about environment and how to protect it. Just as science and math are taught early in schools, so must the subject of environment be taught now in the primary and secondary schools, as a regular curriculum subject,” Beltran said in a statement.

Dr. Edilberto Oplinaria, DepEd Malaybalay City division chief, said that right now, existing concepts and topics on climate change are integrated in the science subject.

In pushing for environment as a subject, Beltran cited that in December 2011, tropical storm Sendong hit the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and Misamis Oriental, destroying billions of properties and claiming hundreds of lives.

On December 4, 2012, typhoon Pablo also hit the provinces of Bukidnon, Compostela Valley and Davao del Sur, among many others in “a very unusual climatic occurrence,” Beltran said.

Beltran said it was the first time in the history of the said provinces to be in the path of that kind of typhoon, noting that Pablo “defied weather science.”

Bukidnon as a typhoon-free province, Beltran said, is now a myth.

“Indeed, something very unusual is happening to mother earth and that everybody should now do his share to reverse the situation,” Beltran said.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro was quoted in reports last year that the agency will include climate change in the curriculum, adding it will also employ more concrete measures such as the construction of more typhoon-resistant schools.

He also reportedly said that even before tropical storm Sendong wrought havoc in December 2011, “schools nationwide have already intensified their environmental education and related activities.”

In 2011, Luistro issued DepEd Order No. 52 to intensify the teaching of environmental concerns to students, noting the many calamities such as flooding and landslides the country face every year that, he said, may be traced to environmental neglect and degradation.

The order is also pursuant to Republic Act 9512, or the “Act to Promote Environmental Education and For Other Purposes.”

In a report at www.interaksyon.com, Luistro said that disaster preparedness and risk reduction are also included in the basic education curriculum to help schools prepare in times of calamities.

“Lesson exemplars and teacher/student modules on the subject were developed, specifically for Science I and Araling Panlipunan I,” the report added.

The lesson exemplars contain strategies and methods of teaching disaster risk reduction. The modules serve as reference materials for students and teachers. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)