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The truth behind the creation of “Arts4Earth”

Photographed by Carl Llanto for FilCASPro.com

Everyone is intrigued and asking about what on earth is “Arts4Earth.”

What’s it all about?

Let me tell you the whole back story.

Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines

Controversial Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel (“Moma,” “Ec2luv,” “Mga Paru-Parong Rosas,” “Mona, Singapore Escort,” “When a Gay Man Loves,” “Latak,” “HiStory,” “Strictly Confidential,” “Leona Calderon,” “The Making of Quezon City”) was passionate about his advocacy of the preservation of the environment specifically the end of plastic pollution which is indeed damaging the earth and the beautiful species in their natural habitat.

Controversial Fil-Briton filmmaker and organizer of Arts4Earth Jowee Morel preps for the grand parade of the people of Lucban, Quezon to celebrate the love and care of the environment

“I would like to help in the stop of improper throwing of plastic materials because they don’t melt down for hundreds and even thousands of years,” said Jowee about the plastic toxic.

“Of course, we cannot really stop the use of plastic because this is the most practical and the easiest material to wrap anything, anytime, anywhere but I only want the people to be disciplined about its proper throwing. We shouldn’t just throw plastic products anywhere because we are creating danger zones,” explained Morel who even interviewed an oceanographer and a plastic toxic expert from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom.

“School of fishes will suddenly disappear when plastic pollution won’t be solved immediately. How many butandings (whale shark) will still die when this crisis isn’t solved? These endangered species are very essential to our eco system. These bring tourists to our country and if they disappear our economy will also suffer,” elucidated Jowee.

“We won’t have birds flying and chirping for us anymore because the air is already polluted. They will just die anytime, anywhere because the air they breathe is not clean anymore.

Final preparation for the event

“People will die eventually of pollution because their bodies will be subject to illnesses (and) because of poisonous substances in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the food we take. That would be a sad part of living,” Morel gushed.

And so the long list of bad projections appear to be being Armageddon.

The indiscriminate cutting of trees, the erosion of soils due to quarrying and other illegal construction, the unthinking throwing of candy wrappers and other trash anywhere that clogs the waterways etc. These are just some of the manifestations of killing nature and the London-bred filmmaker is wont to mitigate if not to stop altogether.

The art exhibit of artist Gemma Suguitan that deals with the protection of the environment by using recycled materials for her art pieces. Gemma was joined in by local Lucban artists and some visiting ones

When JoMo Media UK, Lucban Historical Society and BVV8 Media Productions started to roll their video cameras for the making of the controversial “The Mystical Land: Lucban, The Story,” the more Morel has discovered the anomalies of men in hating their habitat. “They don’t love their earth. This is the only place we know to spend our lives in and we don’t appreciate its importance and relevance to us,” Jowee observed.

“The coolness that Mount Banahaw is emitting at the moment is not the same coolness it used to give off. Instead, a humid air has been releasing by the majestic mountain. What gives? The clean and pristine waters the springs and rivers in the vicinity have been polluted by plastic materials and other pollutants,” shared Morel.

According to many Lucban, Quezon residents, they used to take a bath, launder and frolic in the canals around the town but now, the waterways are already polluted. Now they sigh in disbelief and just pray to God to enlighten the people of what to do the proper way.

One of the things that Jowee did was to organize an online group to protect the environment—the Earth Warriors.

Then he registered it with the government of the United Kingdom.

 Dir. Jowee Morel documenting "Arts4Earth" Week in Lucban

Earth Warriors is an instrument of the Charity Commission that would take care of the many activities of the association to rally behind the preservation and conservation of the natural resources.

But how would one translate the ideals of an organization to the realities of the time? How would one carry out the objectives of an act to achieve its vision and mission?

The enthusiastic people of Lucban, Quezon to join in the Arts4Earth celebration

“I was thinking of how to go about the implementation of our goals. Then I thought why not begin with our own backyard. I was always in Lucban, Quezon and I saw the problems especially when we were filming ‘The Mystical Land: Lucban, The Story.’ It was quite timely and auspicious. At the same time it was coincidental that we were in Lucban.

In closer look at the people of Lucban, Quezon who set aside their precious time to devote to the love and care of the Lucban ecology

“But it’s not only Lucban. It must be a national or even an international movement to clean the environment and preserve the ecology of the nation,” urged Morel.

Pledge of allegiance to the preservation of the environment in Lucban, Quezon led by local environmentalist Joel Abcede with (from left) Engr. Gilbert C. Gonzales, Regional Executive Director, Region IV-A at OIC, Assistant Secretary for Field Operations—Southern Luzon para sa  concurrent capacity, CENRO Ramil L. Limyiada (partly hidden), Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Alfredo C. Palencia, Lucban Mayor Oli Dator, Sangguniang Bayan Councilor and Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Human Ecology Shiela Deveza and MENRO Mary Ann Javen  

The controversial filmmaker has his own back story to share.

Litters everywhere from the capital city to many parts of the country

“We were cleaning up a portion of our community. I was one of the initiators. It should be a beneficial project for all of us to have a passable road because our entry point to the farthest barrio (district) was already blocked by the owner of the land that leads into our private ownerships,” recalled Jowee.

If only the garbage could talk, it would complain a lot about people’s foibles on the environment

Each resident had their own hoes, knives, bolos, dustpan, brooms and other cleaning weapons to dig up and sweep the whole place off all types of dirt and clog.

What really shocked Morel were mounds of rugs and the thick piles of plastic materials of all kinds presumably buried in the soil and mud for years and they already smelled foul. “It was terrible. It was like nightmare,” Jowee quipped.

For so many days of tinkering on the idea of how to go through the process of actualizing the goals of Earth Warriors, Morel thought of the mix of arts and the environment to sum up the vision of the organization, thus “Arts4Earth.”

Rapper Nowe “Beats” Mahiwaga raps about the environment while Lucban MENRO Mary Ann Javen joyfully listens

“I talked to the municipal officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Chair of the Committee on Human Ecology of the Sangguniang Bayan (Town Council) and they were all enthusiastic. Mary Ann Javen of the MENRO and Councilor Shiela Deveza were all supportive of the project to hold a weeklong activity of people’s awareness of the environment,” recalled Morel.

A well-attended seminar on the proper waste disposal which was intently listened to by the participants

Other components of the program were eventually proposed and approved like the holding of an art exhibit of artist Gemma Suguitan “I like the style and content of Gemma’s works because they speak of nature. One thing, though, that strikes me completely was the use of Gemma of recycled materials like plywood and other stuff that were collected from junkyards,” explained Jowee. Suguitan’s show was joined in by other artists international painter Pepot Atienza; Efren Nantes, the president of the Lucban Artists Guild and his colleagues Maria Lourdes Bandilla Abulencia, Thea Mujares and Angelo Villa;  Lopenze Artists’ member JayMar Valdoria and Bea Camaje from Iloilo. Aside from the art show, there would also be poetry reading and other artistic endeavors.

An interactive discussion on the preservation of the environment from Lucban MENRO Mary Ann Javen

Seminars and workshops about the love and care of the environment also took place.

Speeches of the town leaders also inspired and moved the people to action from September 23 to 29, 2019 at the Plaza Marcos Tigla of the Lucban community.         

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