Sunday, April 14, 2024

Senator Cynthia Villar Is Human Rights Awardee Of UNAP


Senator Cynthia Villar Is Human Rights Awardee Of UNAP


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For her initiatives in eliminating poverty and maintaining a healthy environment, Senator Cynthia A. Villar was given the distinguished Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association of the Philippines (UNAP) in a ceremony held at Manila Hotel on Tuesday.

The senator was acknowledged for the promotion of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Goal No. 1 (Poverty Eradication) and SDG Goal No. 16 (Biodiversity).

The veteran lawmaker is the chairperson of the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform and the Environment and Natural Resources.

In her acceptance speech, Villar thanked the UNAP Board of Trustees for recognizing her efforts in poverty eradication and biodiversity. She was honored and humbled by the award.

“Let me tell you about my journey towards achieving these SOG goals.

With my husband Manny, we established in 1992 the Villar Foundation, which is a non-stock, non-profit organization to create sustainable livelihood, protect the environment and help OFWs. Its various programs for OFWs including the yearly OFW & Family Summit; environment protection, including the establishment of the Las Piñas- Parañaque Wetland Park; free agricultural training in four farm schools in Las Piñas Bacoor for NCR,Southern Luzon and Bicol , San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan, for Central and Northern Luzon and the Cordilleras ; San Miguel, Iloilo for the Visayas and Davao City for Mindanao and the establishment of livelihood projects in over 3,000 locations nationwide,” related Villar.

In 2002, she said their foundation started the Sagip-Ilog Program to save our Las Pinas and Zapote Rivers from environmental degradation.

“We adopted a holistic approach, starting educating people about proper waste management.The riverbanks underwent re-greening activities and tree planting to prevent future soil erosion. We created green social enterprises…Women made arts and crafts from the water lily harvested , coconet and pit from waste coconut husks, composts were produced from kitchen and garden wastes and were given for free to garden enthusiasts and farmers,plastic chairs from plastic wastes were given free to public and farm schools,” also noted Villar.

She extolled the Sagip Ilog received the coveted UN Water for Life Award in Zaragosa, Spain during a special ceremony on World Water Day in 2011.

In August 2013, the Villar Foundation Awards for Poverty Reduction was launched to give recognition to the exemplary achievements of community enterprises in helping local economic development and improvement of lives.

In 2017, the Villar Foundation Youth Awards was launched to recognize youth organizations by giving young people more space for participation, influence and power.

Regarding efforts to help preserve and maintain a healthy environment and biodiversity, Villar said that in

2018, together with the Manila Bay Site Coordinating Management Office and other organizations, the DENR NCR awarded her the title of “Kampeon ng Katubigan” for leading the protection of Las Piñas Zapote River and the Las Piñas Parañaque Wetland Park.

In 2022, for promoting a clean and healthy environment and waterways, she was honored by the DENR-National Capital Region with the “Gawad Taga-Ilog 2.0” for their Most Improved Estero in Metro Manila during the celebration of World Water Day.

In the same year, Villar Foundation won an international award for the World’s Best Environmental Projects.

“I was presented with the “Certificate of Honor” for the Energy Globe, the world award for environmental sustainability, for Villar Foundation’s Las Piñas Kitchen Waste Composting Project by the government by Austria,” said the senator.