THIRTEEN CITIES around the country made the list of qualifiers for the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) One Planet City Challenge (OPCC) 2019-2020. Pasig, which won the country-level OPCC award for 2017-2018, is again in the running. Other returning participants are: Parañaque and Quezon cities in the National Capital Region (NCR); Santa Rosa in Laguna; Batangas; San Carlos in Negros Occidental; Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao; and Tagum in Davao del Norte. Completing the 13 are first-time qualifiers Muntinlupa in NCR; Malolos, Bulacan; La Carlota, Negros Occidental; Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte; and Davao City in the Davao Region. In a statement, WWF said it has partnered with ICLEI Southeast Asia to provide technical assistance to these cities. “With these new cities joining this iteration of the OPCC, it shows that, year by year, we as a country are becoming increasingly concerned with our impact on the environment,” WWF-Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Joel Palma is quoted in the statement.
The OPCC, a biennial global challenge, was previously the Earth Hour City Challenge launched in 2011. It recognizes a city’s accomplishments and commitments in infrastructure, housing, transportation, and mobility towards a climate-resilient future. “Now on its sixth run, the OPCC has grown to become the largest and longest-running challenge of its kind, with 411 cities having accepted the challenge and recorded a total of 5,732 recorded actions. With these positive impacts, WWF projects that 3,856 metric tons of greenhouse gases could potentially be saved by the year 2050,” the organization said. Previous OPCC global winners include Vancouver, Canada in 2013; Cape Town, South Africa (2014); Seoul, South Korea (2015); Paris, France (2016); and Uppsala, Sweden (2018). In the Philippines, which joined for the first time in 2015-2016, the challenge was won by Santa Rosa in Laguna.