Negros Occidental’s rich mangrove forest areas of 89,608 hectares deserve the spotlight that Negrenses should take pride and hoist up in the arena of public information and participation.
In partnership with Oceana and with the active involvement of the Camera Club of Negros, the provincial government of Negros Occidental launched the photo contest on May 1 to collect photos and proof of the rich mangrove reserves of the province.
Last year, the province took a commendable step as the first local government unit (LGU) to issue a policy establishing the network of 10 municipalities as local coastal greenbelt zone, the frontier to safeguard and mitigate the impact of the worsening climate crisis, and providing the essential budgetary allocation, as incentives to the LGUs and local stakeholders.
Oceana Legal and Policy Director, Atty. Liza Osorio said the photo contest is open to all residents of Negros Island who have the passion to capture the beauty and challenges of the province’s mangrove forest areas, the people directly affected or reliant on the coastal forest, and the efforts to restore the vibrant and healthy ecology of the mangroves systems.
Following the theme, Save Negros Mangrove Forest Areas, Establish Coastal Greenbelt Zones, the photos must capture the coastal greenbelts of Negros Occidental and must be taken in 2022, until the deadline of submission of entries on May 15.
Each participant is allowed to submit a maximum of two entries from each of the categories – (1) Mangroves and Biodiversity; (2) Humans and Mangroves; (3) Mangroves Under Threat; and (4) Restoring Mangrove Forest. Global adjustments, such as contrast, saturation and minimal cropping (max. 10 percent) are allowed. However, manipulation or staging of subject and/or the environment is strictly prohibited.
The panel of judges of three photography experts will evaluate the entries based on the following criteria: relevance to the theme – 35 percent; visual Impact – 25 percent; technical excellence (lighting, composition etc.) – 20 percent; and creativity – 20 percent.
The winner in each category will receive a plaque of appreciation and a certification that mangrove seedlings are planted in their honor. The winning photos will be featured in the photo exhibit at Ayala Mall-Bacolod. A People’s Choice award will also be given to the photo entry with the greatest number of engagements once the pictures are posted on Oceana’s Facebook page.
“We are inspired by the trailblazing effort of Negros province in establishing local greenbelt zone because they are now making sure that the people are informed and ready to embrace the need to protect our coastal defense. This is an important step to convince our legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate to enact the law establishing the National Coastal Greenbelt Program and providing funds for it. This is a true testament to the local government units’ commitment to implement the coastal greenbelt program for the benefit of all vulnerable communities,” said Osorio.
The contest’s output will also be showcased later in exhibits to be mounted in Congress, where the bills on the declaration of national coastal greenbelt zones are pending.
Called “An Act Establishing the National Coastal Greenbelt Program, Providing Funds Therefor, and for Other Purposes,” the proposed Senate Bill (SB) Nos. 1237, 1117, 591 and 113 are sponsored by Senators Cynthia Villar, Loren Legarda, Risa Hontiveros and Nancy Binay, while Representatives Edgar Chatto (Bohol), Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City) and Jose Manuel Alba (Bukidnon) are spearheading the House Bill (HB) Nos. 05677, 3303 and 3136 at the House of Representatives.
Osorio said that by organizing this photo contest and photo exhibit, other LGUs and stakeholders are encouraged to replicate the Negros province’s successful initiatives.
Interested participants may submit their Application Form with their entries in JPEG format, maximum of 5MB. Each entry must be accompanied by a brief description and location of the mangrove featured in the photo (Format: Applicant’s name_Entry #__Photo title). The original raw and jpg files will be collected after the contest. The other details of the contest mechanics are available to those interested to join. Those with further inquiries may contact email@example.com.*