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BSWM holds World Soil Day (WSD) 2019 Celebration

By Engr. Djolly Ma. Dimamling & Mr. Baldwin M. Pine
December 12, 2019

Top: Senior High School Students with the BSWM OIC-Director, and staff from BSWM-SCMD during the WSD Quiz Contest; Middle-left: Engr. Ernesto Brampio showing the surveying instrument to the FAO representatives, DA-Chief of Staff and the BSWM OIC-Director; Midlle-right: Quiz contest proper the students are identifying the types of soil for the given sample; Bottom: Wining photos for the National Photo contest were displayed in the Soil Museum
In 2002 during the 17th World Congress of Soil Science, the Council of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) recommended an international day to celebrate Soil. It will be a day to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and a vital contributor to food security, biodiversity and climate change.

In respect to the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand through His Majesty King Bumibhol Adulyadej, December 5 was designated by the council of IUSS as the World Soil Day, which is the birthday of the late King. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has supported the formal establishment of WSD as a global awareness raising platform. In 2013, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York supported the celebration of WSD and further installing 2015 as the “Year of the Soil”. From 2015 onwards, the WSD has been celebrated by the IUSS in close cooperation with UN /FAO, Global Soil Partnership (GSP) and other worldwide organizations/institution.

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) as one of the country focal points to the GSP is conducting annual celebration of WSD. In 2019, the bureau through the Soil Conservation and Management Division (SCMD) spearheaded the event with the theme "Stop soil erosion, Save our future". Various activities were conducted such as National Photo Competition, WSD Quiz Contest, WSD Exhibit and Declaration of Commitment to Stop Soil Erosion.

National Photo Contest

With the theme "Stop soil erosion, Save our future". It advocates to raise the awareness on sustaining healthy ecosystems through proper soil and land management; and encourage governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to engage in improving soil health. Through a photo competition, the bureau would like to see various initiative/efforts in combating soil erosion.

The BSWM’s National Photo Contest was open to all Filipino citizens who are 16-35 years old. The contest commenced from October 25, 2019– November 25, 2019. All submitted photos have been shortlisted to 10 by the BSWM Photo Contest Committee (PCC) based on the criteria: (1) Content and Relevance to the Theme (2) Originality and Artistic Value (3) Visual Impact and Quality and (4) Facebook likes. Major awards were given to the following entries:
  • Mark Christian B. Fernandez (Luzon)- First Prize
  • Marvin Cascante (Visayas)- Second Prize
  • Renz Nathaniel B. Luyao (Mindanao)- Third Prize

In addition, photo entry by Mark Christian B. Fernandez with the title “Save Someone’s Happiness” won the People’s Choice Award for obtaining the most number of Facebook likes. The final judging was headed by Mr. Ador Pamintuan from the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation ( FPPF). The awarding ceremony was held at the Lopez Convention Hall, BSWM, Diliman, Quezon City on December 5, 2019.

WSD Quiz Contest

A quiz contest for senior high school students was conducted to educate the youth on the importance of soil on the afternoon of December 5, 2019 . The activity was participated by eight senior high schools within Metro Manila as follow: (1)Carlos P. Romulo Senior High School; (2) Claret School of Quezon City; (3) Claro M. Recto High Schol; (4)Colegio de San Lorenzo; (5) E. Claro Academy; (6) iAcademy; (7) Manuel Luis High School; and (8) UP Integrated School. Presentations were given on the intoduction about soils and soil erosion before the quiz contest proper to introduce the basic concepts to the students.

UP Integrated School won the first place, Claret School for the second place, and iAcademy for the third place. Plaque of recognition and tokens were given to the winners of the quiz contest.

WSD Exhibit

The opening of the exhibit was formally opened by the BSWM-Officer-In-Charge-Director Sonia M. Salguero and with support from FAO representatives at the soil musuem. The exhibit aims to encourage the public on the importance of adopting soil conservation in addressing land degradation such as soil erosion. Shown in the exhibit are models of land degradation scenarios, sustainable land management landscape, and the small water impounding project. Instrument for topographic survey, A-frame used in contouring were also included in the exhibit.

Further, SCMD technical staff guided the audience with technical discussions regarding the models being exhibited.

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