Saving one of the Philippine’s last ecological frontiers: Gerthie Mayo-Anda, and the One Palawan Movement
In the Philippines, a longtime environmental law champion Professor Gerthie Mayo-Anda, has worked tirelessly for decades to defend the people and environment of Palawan, the country's last ecological and biodiversity frontier. In 1990, Gerthie founded the Environmental Legal Assistance Center, one of the Philippines' most active NGOs that helps communities uphold their constitutional rights to a healthy environment.
ELAC and Gerthie work together with civil society groups to educate indigenous people and local communities to protect their sources of food, water and livelihoods. ELAC's strategic, grassroots approach was critical to their campaign to stop the planned division of Palawan into three smaller provinces, which could open doors for the easier passage of unsustainable, exploitative projects.
Undaunted by political pressure and powerful interests, Gerthie worked with the Save Palawan movement, along with church and civic leaders to mobilize students, lawyers, and community leaders to campaign for One Palawan. They motivated tens of thousands of voters to keep Palawan as one. In 2021 record numbers of Palawan's people let their voices be heard and voted to keep Palawan unified as a single province.
This is just one of the stories of the many environmental law champions across Asia who are fighting and winning battles for people and the environment. These champions are making positive change that echo for generations.
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