HOMECOMING. Miss Philippines Fire 2017 Nellza “Ella” Mortola-Bautista enjoys the warm welcome accorded to her by town mates during her homecoming in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, last Friday, August 25. She hopes to collaborate with the local government to improve its solid waste management. (Jigger J. Jerusalem/davaotoday.com)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – She may have won a national pageant, but reigning Miss Philippines-Fire 2017 Nellza Mortola-Bautista keeps her hometown of Villanueva close to her heart. This, as she accepted the invitation of the municipal government to be its ambassadress for the environment.

“I’m honored and it’s really a privilege for me to be my town’s ambassadress for environment,” Bautista said in a phone interview on Monday, August 28.

She said it was her desire ever since to showcase Villanueva to the whole country and to work with the local chief executive.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with Mayor Jennie Rosalie [on environmental programs],” Bautista added.

Solid waste management

One of the most important practices she can share to her townmates, she said, is the solid waste management through segregation of garbage at the household level, which she has been practicing for years.

As the industrial capital of Misamis Oriental, Villanueva, about 29.4 kilometers east of this city, boasts of industrial plants, processing sites and manufacturing firms within the Phividec Industrial Estate. Despite that, Bautista said the town has maintained its ecological balance owing to the local government’s strict implementation of environmental laws.

“The companies here are compliant, and they are being constantly monitored (by experts and the local government unit),” Bautista said.

Grandiose welcome

Bautista, who arrived from Manila, was accorded with a grandiose welcome during her homecoming last Friday, August 25.

Bautista is the only candidate from Mindanao who made it to the final round of this year’s Miss Earth Philippines.

In her short message to her town mates, Bautista has urged the youth, parents and all members of the community help the local government in its campaign on proper waste management.

“Mother Earth can live without us, but we cannot live without Mother Earth,” she added.

During her talk, Bautista thanked the mayor, Rep. Juliette Uy of the second district of Misamis Oriental, and her husband Julio Uy, former Villanueva mayor, for their strong support to her even before the pageant competition.

For her part, Uy said she was “happy because Nellza won the title that has something to do with the environment and I hope (she) can collaborate with our advocacy to properly implement the Solid Waste Management program of the government as mandated under Republic Act 9003.”

RA 9003, otherwise known as an act providing for an ecological solid waste management program, creating the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, declaring certain acts prohibited and providing penalties, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes, became into law in 2001.

Villanueva’s trash problem

Uy said Villanueva is experiencing difficulties in its garbage disposal after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered the town’s garbage facility in Barangay San Martin closed.

With its closure, the mayor has encouraged the residents to practice proper waste disposal at home.

“The garbage is not only the problem of the local government units, but it is the problem of everybody,” Uy said.

Uy was also grateful to Bautista for bringing honor and pride to the people Villanueva.

“That little town of Villanueva is known locally, if not internationally, because of Nellza,” she said.

She said it was Bautista’s positive attitude and character that made her won the crown. (davaotoday.com)

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