Rapid urbanisation and development in the Philippines has led to a deteriorating environment requiring urgent remedial action. The Philippines has implemented numerous environmental acts such as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 (RA 8749), the Climate Change Act (RA 9729), the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (RA 10121), the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 (RA 9275), the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003), the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 (RA 6969), and the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System (Presidential Decree 1586), but implementation and compliance remain key obstacles, with stakeholder engagement and buy-in being understood as central to alleviating the situation.
As a part of this, the Philippines has long known that cultural and behavioural change are needed to move away from a throwaway society to one where environmental respect and preservation are normalised and citizens view the world through a sustainability lens. In order to achieve this, the Philippines has implemented the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008 to ensure the integration of environmental education into the curricula taught at every level in Philippine educational institutions. To help support the Act, the National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools, a biennial national competition to find, celebrate, and reward sustainable schools, was developed and launched. However, although the competition has enabled the Philippines to be able to highlight and honour high performing schools that can act as models for emulation, documentation of the exact process by which the schools have managed to become sustainable is lacking. This project, Search for Sustainable Schools, Philippines, will fill this gap through a sustainable school competition whereby schools will submit plans for making their schools more sustainable, with winning schools receiving funds for implementation. In this way, the Philippines will be able to not only increase the number of schools that can be used as models, but also document the process by which schools become sustainable in order to provide advice and guidance, helping to scale activities nationally.
In addition, the Philippines will be the host of a regional international exchange, using best performing Philippine schools as an example and inspiration to countries across the region.