Interested schools that would like to participate in the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools, have until April 16, 2013 as deadline, to submit their entries to the following: 1) nearest Department of Education Division Office (for elementary and high school submissions), and 2) nearest EMB Regional Office (for college submissions).


According to DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, the eco-friendly schools program launched last 2009 and 2011 generated positive responses from the schools and this paved the way for the next wave of the competition in 2013. "We intended to have the awarding of the search next year instead of this year to allow schools more time to prepare and to enhance their existing eco-friendly programs. We are hoping to encourage more schools to participate and take part in heightening environmental awareness among our youth," Paje said.

The nationwide contest dubbed, "2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools," is a direct response to Republic Act No. 9512 also known as the Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008. It is also the Philippine initiative in support to the declaration of 2012 as the ASEAN Environment Year with the theme “Environmental Awareness thru Eco-Schools,” and the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) . The contest was also organized to highlight achievement of schools that are committed in implementing various environmental programs. Open to all elementary, high school and tertiary school levels, both public and private, the activity aims to encourage schools and academic institutions to become more actively involved in environmental issues at a practical and local level. It also aims to develop skills and understanding among students, faculty and school administrators to initiate active responses and increase community awareness and involvement on environmental concerns.

In 2009 , a total of nine schools were declared as national champs for the National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools. These were the following: (Elementary Category) First prize - Penablanca East Central School, Aggugaddan-Malibabag, Penablanca, Cagayan; Second prize - North Central Elementary School, Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City, Pangasinan; and Third prize - Badas Elementary School, Badas, Placer, Surigao del Norte. For the high school category, the winners were: First place - La Castellana National High School, La Castellana, Negros Occidental; Second place - Camarines Sur National High School, Naga City, Camarines Sur; and Third place- Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Matina, Davao City. For the college category, the winners were: First place - Palawan State University, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; Second place - Visayas State University, Baybay, Leyte; and Third place - Catanduanes State Colleges, Virac, Catanduanes.

Meanwhile, in 2011, a total of nine schools were declared as national winners for the 2011 nationwide search. The following were: (Elementary Category) First place - Iliranan Elementary School, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental; Second place - Kibawe Central Schol, Kibawe, Bukidnon; and Third place - San Mariano Elementary School, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro. For the high school, the winners were: First place - Camarines Sur National High School, Naga City, Camarines Sur; Second place - University of San Jose Recoletos-High School, Basak, Pardo, Cebu City; and Third place - Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Matina, Davao City. For the college category, the winners were: First place - De La Salle University-Dasmarinas, Cavite; Second place - Palawan State University, Puerto Princesa City; and Third place - Ateneo De Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

The national search is a joint activity of the DENR through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), in cooperation with the Smart Communications,   Nestle Philippines, One Meralco Foundation , Petron Foundation and Unilever Philippines.

Smart Communications joins the activity as part of its own environment advocacy for schools. "We are happy to partner again with the DENR and other agencies for this nationwide search. This activity will encourage schools to promote environmental consciousness among the youth," said Ramon Isberto, Smart Public Affairs Head.

Participating schools must submit entries in three (3) hard copies to respective DepEd Division Offices for elementary and high school categories, and to EMB Regional Offices for the higher education category. The minimum requirement for judging will be the hard copies. Entries can likewise be submitted online in JPEG format with a resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi), a minimum size of 1536 x 2048 pixels, and a maximum file size of 1MB. Entries should be emailed to ecofriendlyschools@gmail.com. The top entry per category for every region will be forwarded to the EMB Central Office for national judging. For elementary and high school categories, entries should be submitted directly to their respective DepEd Division Offices. On the other hand, for the college category, entries should be submitted to the nearest EMB Regional Office. The deadline for the submission of entries is on March 15, 2013.

School entries should revolve around the theme "Sustainable and Eco-friendly Initiatives of the Respective Schools." Participating schools should include a brief description of the Project.Entries will be rated according to the following: Environment-related Aspects of the School's Policy (20 pts); Environment-friendly School Operations and Presence of Environmental Programs (30 pts); Environment-related Features of the School Curriculum (30 pts); Presence of Vibrant Eco Organizations in Campus (10 pts); and Presence of Partners and Linkages in Environment Programs/Projects (10 pts). Only one entry per school will be accepted.

For the national level, prizes include, College, High School and Elementary: P50,000 - 1st Prize; P40,000 - 2nd Prize; P30,000 - 3rd Prize and plaques of recognition. For the regional level, a certificate of recognition and a prize of in cheque of P20,000 will be given to regional winners for each category. All winning entries for each of the three categories, together with selected entries will be displayed during the national awarding ceremonies in November 2013, coinciding with the National Environmental Awareness Month celebration.

Aside from the national prizes, there is also a special category entitled “Nestle Leadership for Water” aimed at recognizing and promoting the water management solutions and practices of schools. A prize of Php 20,000 will be given to each of the winners at the national level for college, high school and elementary school categories. A prize of Php 10,000 and certificate of recognition will be awarded to each of the regional winners of all categories.

“Education is a powerful tool to inspire positive behaviour and attitude towards the environment and water stewardship. When students learn about the environment and water stewardship – they will not only see this in their textbooks but feel it in their surrounding as well, thanks to the many school policies and initiatives in place. Nestle is very much looking forward to this multi-sectoral partnership which we believe will encourage the nation, through our schools, to take care of our precious natural resources,” said Edith de Leon, Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs of Nestle Philippines.

For further details, please contact the Environmental Education and Information Division of the Environmental Management Bureau-DENR. Telefax: (02) 9284674; E-mail ecofriendlyschools@gmail.com; Website: http://www.emb.gov.ph and http://www.sustainableschools.ph.