An NGO leader who believes Asia must save the environment, cleans and rehabilitates rivers and waterways in the Philippines. Now he's set to expand his vision to neighboring countries.
Title: Youth NGO Committed to Environmental Improvement
Description: An NGO leader who believes Asia must save the environment, cleans and rehabilitates rivers and waterways in the Philippines. Now he's set to expand his vision to neighboring countries.
25-year old, Tobit Cruz co-founded an organization which cleaned and rehabilitated a dying creek in the Philippine province of Rizal in 2009.
In 2013, the US Embassy to the Philippines awarded Tobit and other Asian youth USD1,000 to replicate rehabilitation effort in 4 other Southeast Asian countries.
Youth NGO leader on Environmental Improvement
Here in Taytay, we experience a lot of typhoons. We experienced Ondoy and many other stronger typhooons. It something that we just don’t experienced here in our municipality but it’s something that’s becoming very common through the entire country. Natural disasters, big and heavy typhoons are certain to come in affecting millions of lives.
We realized that here in our municipality, we become heavily flooded because our rivers are blocked already or clogged with trashes or water lilies. And if don’t rehabilitate our rivers or these waterways, we become very prone to flooding when big typhoons come. We started taking action in rehabilitating rivers. We started organizing people and the community. We started to bring in all the stakeholders of the community to talk about how we could together rehabilitate the river or waterways. The most important thing I think we were able to do was to orient the people alongside the creek to join us in our rehabilitation initiative. And then that’s when we started taking action, that’s when we started doing regular clean up drives. We use the technology called bokashi balls to filter the water, we planted bamboos and vertiver grasses to strengthen the soil alongside the creek and we continuously advocate people specially the young ones on how to protect and rehabilitate our waterways so that we can sustain the project even more. When we got featured in one of the new sites in the country a lot of government units and private organizations started to email us asking how we were able to do the rehabilitation here in Maningning creek and now it’s being replicated in at least 22 cities and municipalities around the country and for other countries and ASEAN nations.
It is very important for young people to engage in initiatives that take care of the environment because climate change is already here. We are already experiencing it and if we don’t take action right now our future is at stake. Our organizations motto is we have to dream big, start small and scale up. Our dream big is to eventually rehabilitate all the rivers and waterways in the country.