In 2011, Ms. Gina Lopez, Managing Director of ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. (AFI) engaged in the Save Palawan Movement through the foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan (BK) Program.
The movement was a multi-sectoral mix of concerned environmental, legal, religious and other civic groups who all wanted to put an end to mining activities in Palawan, known as the Philippines’ Last Ecological Frontier.
The campaign brought about the realization that as long as Filipinos are poor, they will continue to engage in environmentally destructive activities as those are more easily accessible and give instant benefits.
Knowing this, the movement developed into the “Yes to Agriculture and Ecotourism” campaign, emphasizing that the way to go for the Philippines to achieve sustainable development is by supporting agriculture and ecotourism instead of activities that destroy the environment.
It was then that BK shifted its focus to sustainable agriculture and ecotourism initiatives all over the Philippines, aiming to create models to show that taking care of the environment is the path to quality of life.
Realizing that BK alone does not have enough resources to maximize the impact on its current ecotourism sites and to allow for expansion of the projects in other areas, Ms. Lopez, with the help of some hired consultants, conceptualized what is now known as Green Initiative.
Green Initiative (GI) is a national movement that works to nurture and protect the Philippine environment in a way that benefits the communities living around it. This movement is mainly characterized by partnerships between different sectors of society with varying interests, united by a genuine belief in the advocacy.
The project was introduced to the public last May 6, 2013 through a MoA signing with the initial partners of GI (Bantay Kalikasan, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Ateneo de Manila University, Miss Earth Foundation, Philippine Medical Association.)
To date, GI has secured partnerships with Skyjet Airlines and 2Go Travel, and is working out its research and documentation requirements with Bayan Academy, Romblon State University, Bicol University, Palawan State University, Mindanao State University, Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology, Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, and Marinduque State University. Ongoing discussions are also being engaged with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and the Food and Drugs Authority.