Several news agencies featured Tzu Chi Foundation’s recycling effort in the cemeteries during the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.
In Manila North and Manila South Cemeteries, GMA 7, one of the biggest TV channels in the country, set up booths where they encourage the public to donate their empty plastic bottles. The accumulated bottles are then donated to Tzu Chi.
Seven consecutive years of promoting environmental protection through recycling in cemeteries during the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days has drawn the attention of the local media into Tzu Chi Foundation’s advocacy.
In Manila North Cemetery, several news agencies featured the Tzu Chi volunteers’ recycling efforts, which began on October 29 and ended on November 3. A total of 1, 715 volunteers were mobilized throughout the activity.
Joy Gumatay, a reporter from the People’s Television Network, Inc. (PTV), said Tzu Chi’s campaign is praiseworthy.
“When people come together in one place, trash becomes the biggest problem so it’s a big effort that there is a foundation that encourages people to practice Solid Waste Management because even though it’s only for one or two days, it leaves a big impact in the environment,” Gumatay said.
PTV is the flagship government television network owned by the Philippine government.
Tzu Chi volunteer Lilia Zarate is happy about the interest that the media demonstrate toward their recycling effort.
“Members of the media said that in every cemetery they have been to, all they could see are Tzu Chi volunteers and that there is no other foundation practicing recycling in the cemeteries at this time of the year. We told them that it’s because we are serious about our advocacy. We really want to avoid the possibility of Mother Nature taking her revenge through disasters,” the volunteer from Barangay Nangka in Marikina City said.
For this year, Tzu Chi’s recycling volunteers covered nine cemeteries namely Loyola Memorial Parks in Marikina City and Parañaque City, Manila North and South Cemeteries in Manila, Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, Holy Cross Memorial Park in Quezon City, Manila Chinese Cemetery in Manila, Paraiso Memorial Park in San Mateo, Rizal, and Himlayang Pilipino in Quezon City.
Tzu Chi’s annual presence in the cemeteries has earned the support of institutions like GMA 7, one of the biggest TV channels in the country.
Every year, GMA 7 set up a booth by the entrance of the Manila North and Manila South Cemeteries, encouraging those who came to visit their departed loved ones to donate their empty plastic bottles in exchange of simple raffle prizes like fans, candies, t-shirts, among others.
Every year, the said booth manages to collect around 7,000 to 8,000 plastic bottles from the two cemeteries. They donate these plastic bottles to Tzu Chi Foundation.
Tzu Chi volunteer Adelaida Flores is humbled by the trust that the said media agency has been showing Tzu Chi since this program started.
“[GMA’s booth] is among the first to help us in our program here. It’s a big help because instead of us picking up these plastic bottles from the ground, they have been gathered in a garbage bag already and the plastic bottles have been sorted already. The number is a lot as well,” she said.
Marlvin Consignado, the team head of GMA 7’s Unang Hirit show, said “We did our research about the possible groups that could help and we found out Tzu Chi is collecting plastic bottles for their charity works. The bottles that are being donated to them are turned into blankets.”
“This partnership is really helpful because we don’t see plastic bottles discarded everywhere anymore and we know that they go to a good cause instead,” he added.