June 9, 2018 – Carrying hand-painted pro-ocean anti-plastic placards and hardy eco-warrior hearts, 67 Boholanos marched 19 kilometers from Tagbilarn City’s Plaza Rizal (Kilometer Zero) to Alona Beach in Tawala, Panglao to raise awareness to the worsening threats to the world’s oceans and seas.
Locally named “Baktas Alang sa Kadagatan”, the event takes its cue from the USA’s “March for the Ocean”, (also set today and replicated globally) which advocates for the same intensified action to protect the oceans. The march echoes the call for the ban of single-use plastics, reduction of all forms of ocean pollution, corporate accountability for plastic pollution, and the protection of vulnerable coastal communities.
Bohol’s “Baktas” especially highlights the fight for more stringent regulations in the use of single-use plastics and the call for better waste management infrastructure and services in the province. Plastic pollution in Bohol has been in the spotlight of late, as local governments have begun to take critical strides in controlling plastic use with the implementation of plastic bag bans, first in Jagna and Maribojoc, and of recent, in Tagbilaran City and Albur.
The group -- composed of environmentalists from various sectors: students, nurses, doctors, musicians, artists, etc. – began the 19-kilometer march at 6:15 in the morning at Plaza Rizal. From there, they proceeded towards Mansasa (Junction), crossing Panglao Island via the Jacinto Borja and Vaño Bridges (Poblacion, Dauis), then through the Catarman-Biking Dauis road and towards Tawala, Panglao. They arrived in Alona Beach at 11am where they were met by volunteers of the Alona Beach Cleanup, organized alongside the march.
The beach cleanup itself was participated by more than 200 volunteers, whose one hour of cleaning the Alona beach stretch yielded about 8.7 lbs (approx. 4 kilos) of cigarette butts alone. More kilos (808.48 lbs.) of common trash gathered along the beach were softdrinks and alcohol bottles, as well as plastic food packaging.
Plastic Free Bohol, the lead organizer of the march, hosts regular beach cleanups to not only clear the beaches of debris and trash but to promote awareness on plastic pollution and advocate for green consumerism and the banning of single-use plastics.
The “Baktas Alang sa Kadagatan” marchers, who also pledged to value and protect the oceans and water systems by refusing single-use plastics, are: Alexa V. Usaraga, Alexandra V. Usaraga, Amelia Valdez, Amie Margaret Nazareno, Angela Gallentes, Antonette G. Usaraga, Antonino Daplas, April Jane Yecyec, Arlen Canares, Arnold Cabiasa, Aubrey Margarett S. Peñaverde, Brooks Alforque, Charles Lester Ocaña, Charlie Blasco, Charmaine Faye Econar, Chelsea Adrienne Nellenback, Cherryl F. Usaraga, Churles Lester Ocaña, Clea Mae Hernando, Donato Jobert, Ethel Felisilda, F. Jordan Carnice, Gabriella Ella Vaño, Genesis Lopena, Glenn Pondol, Grenally Guanzon, Irish V. Lapez, Ivan Paul Minerales, Jammy Ungab, Jayjay Blasco, Jaymark Gambota, JD Esparago, Jean Karen Naguita, Jocelyn Neyres, John Anthony Baldonido, John Dexter Mandin, Jordan Torralba, Josephine Neypes, Jovie May Goyha, Joyce Bella, Joyce Cabrera, Jumjum Ouano, June Daplas, Lee Kearney, Liza Macalandag, Lorraine Bagol, Madonna Rosalejos, Marc Anthony Baclayo, Marjune Placencia, Marwin Depositor, Mary Amilyn Nazareno, Mary Jocelyn Nazareno, Mieyh L. Yecyec, Minda Bella, Nikki Simporios, Nikkong Hora, Noelyn Dano, Patrick Fuller, Princess Bless Borja, Randy L. Gumapac, Raquel Li, Renelio Dangoy, Rohan Devaiah, Rose Ann Herradura, Teresa Indick, Troy Montes, and Zeah Zamora.
“Baktas Alang sa Kadagatan” is co-organized by the Bohol Climate Walkers and supported by the Panglao LGU.