By Queenie Diane Malabanan
On its 47th year, pioneer conservation group Haribon Foundation recently held its annual membership assembly at the Biodiversity Management Bureau Training Center. With the theme Budding Champions for Biodiversity, Haribon emphasized the importance of developing environment leaders today wherein the call to be protectors of nature “rings loudest”.
In her welcome address, Haribon Board Secretary Anabelle Plantilla underscored issues on the rising global temperature, species loss, and the current state of forest and marine ecosystems in the country.
“Daily, we are constantly confronted with threats to the environment that we share together, depriving us of our very needs for survival such as potable water,” said Plantilla, who also led the business meeting.
During the assembly, Haribon members and guests joined nature-themed awareness activities such as native tree identification, a virtual reality (VR) that takes one undersea to the Philippine reefs, and a memory game challenge that features Proudly Pinoy flora and fauna species. Games and raffle prizes were sponsored by Natura Yoga PH, SUDS Bath & Body, Lush Philippines, and Theodore’s Home Care.
This year’s general assembly also included an election for some of the foundation’s Board of Trustees (BOT). Among the elected board members are Anabelle Rosalina Plantilla (Program Manager of the Biodiversity Finance Initiative), Alejandro Flores, Jr. (President of the Council for Foreign Relation), Atticus Robert King (Chief Innovator of the Pasig Tourism Development Corporation), Dante Francis Ang (CEO of The Manila Times), John Philip Lesaca (musician and former Haribon BOT Chair), and Philip Camara (Founder and CEO of the Philippine Biochar Association).
Last year, Haribon launched its new membership program composed of four committees including membership and training, visibility, volunteer engagement, and advocacy. Through a video report, Haribon presented the committees’ accomplishments and membership activities from the previous year. Following this report, Haribon BOT member Noel Resureccion also presented the foundation’s financial status as of 2018.
During the annual gathering, Haribon members get informed firsthand about organizational news, accomplishments and plans. Members also get to share stories about their inspiring and oftentimes challenging journey in caring for the environment.
Committee members also gathered in groups during the assembly to collect insights and brainstorm plans about the membership program and activities for the coming months.
Haribon Chief Operating Officer Maria Belinda de la Paz ended the occasion with a message of appreciation to members’ continued support in advancing the cause for conserving all life. She then shared some key points from the committee discussions.
According to de la Paz, members wanted to give back to their communities through the opportunities provided by Haribon. They also aspire that the organization grow more in empowering and advocating for the environment.
“Becoming a biodiversity champion is to be a champion not only for oneself but for others as well,” said de la Paz.
To become a member, visit www.haribon.org.ph or e-mail email@example.com.