BAGUIO CITY – With the theme  “Our nation’s health, the future’s wealth”, the National Economic and Development Authority in the Cordillera Region (NEDA-CAR) conducted the Economic and Financial Literacy Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production on November 11 with participants from  regional government agencies, local government units, civil society organizations, and the academe.

NEDA-CAR Regional Director Milagros Rimando welcomed the participants, even as she posed the question “The world population is increasing but are our resources increasing?”, after which she emphasized the need for everyone to use fewer resources less frequently in accordance with sustainable living”.

DTI-CAR Assistant Regional Director Juliet Lucas emphasized that the move towards sustainability “should meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future”. She stressed that sustainable consumption and production can be achieved through a “circular economy” which she explains as a cycle where valuable and finite natural resources used to make products are maximized by recovering them after use and consumption to be used as material for other products and therefore, eliminating harmful and unnecessary waste.  “This is about life, otherwise, we face extinction”, she said.

Meanwhile, the need for tourism to be sustainable, especially in the Cordillera, was emphasized by Ms. Sylvia Chinayog of DOT-CAR.  “What makes Baguio a famous tourist destination is its climate”, she explained. “If the average temperature in the city continues to rise, Baguio will not be a sustainable tourist destination”.   “We need to do something”, she challenged the participants.

Chinayog also cited the island of Boracay as a primary example of the effects of an unsustainable tourism industry and what can be done about it. “There was nothing new implemented in Boracay, it was simply a stricter enforcement of laws. Thanks to the convergence of various government agencies, Boracay is now a model of sustainable tourism”, she said.

Mayna Caymo of DBM-CAR expressed that “the government, as the biggest consumer in the country,  should lead by example through green public procurement initiatives. Caymo urged government procurement officers and other government employees to ask themselves when purchasing government products about the green criteria: (1) Is it renewable? (2) Is it environmentally hazardous? (3) Was it produced using reduced energy? (4) It is possible to recycle or reuse?  “We look at government as the lead in green consumption”, Caymo concluded.

On the part of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),  Atty. Regina Cajucom shared that the SEC, towards more sustainable and environment-friendly operations, issued a memorandum instructing all  Publicly-Listed Corporations to submit sustainability reports for monitoring purposes.  “While we have incentivized compliance and have penalties for those who do not follow our policies, the real incentive is to have a better world for the future generations”, she added.

The nationwide celebration of Economic and Financial Literacy week, led by NEDA, emphasized the need to be aware of our consumption and production practices and to take action towards a sustainable future. To quote NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie Edillon, “We need to rethink our consumption and production practices in our pursuit of sustainable development.”