The Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club, Inc. celebrated its 52nd anniversary Wednesday with the revival of the media-led Eco Walk at the Busol Watershed. Baguio mayor Benjamin Magalong thanked the BCBC with the revival of the acclaimed pro-environment program that will help the city’s effort to reduce carbon footprint. Some 100 pine tree seedlings provided by the Baguio Water District were planted by the BCBC led by president Thomas Antonio F. Picana with Magalong and councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr. as guests. Baguio Rep. Marques Go later joined the group at a spot near the recently completed 50,000 cubic meter capacity rain harvesting facility where Magalong brought the group after doing his share of planting.

Yangot recalled the days leading to the creation of the Eco-Walk in 1992 when as a barangay chair joined fellow
officials in helping put up the program led by BCBC members like Ramon Dacawi, Eliral Refuerzo, Domecio Cimatu, Jr., Nathan Alcantara and Art Tibaldo. “I am 62 now and I was so young then when we started the program where we just tried walking at the watershed and later started planting trees,” recalled Tibaldo, now a BCBC elder and will lead the new generation of efforts for the continuity of the program which received a Global 500 award in 2002. “I was so young then, I was born after the killer quake in 1990, and was one of the first second generation member of the Eco-Walk,” said Tam Jewel Tibaldo, eldest of the mediaman, who joined Dacawi receive the award in China in 2002 when the Eco-Walk was recognized by the Global 500.

The young Tibaldo, who is now with the Department of Foreign Affairs motored to Baguio for the event and give her testimonials of the event. She would later join Dacawi in the urban heritage tour of the city. Picana said the best way to celebrate the club’s 52nd year was to revive the acclaimed media-led environment-oriented activity that seeks to educate locals especially the young generation in protecting the environment. Calling it very timely, Picana said that revival of the Eco-walk was one of the reasons why he ran as president of the 60 year old organization formerly called as Baguio Correspondents Club. And rummaging through a copy of the constitution and by-laws of the club recently, he came to know that it was incorporated as an organization and recognized by the Securities Exchange Commission on June 19, 1972, eight years after its creation in 1964.

June 19 is also the birthday of Jose Rizal, who is not only a literati but was also a journalist and one of the main writers for the La Solidaridad, a propaganda used by ex-pats against the Spaniards that used to govern the Philippines. He said a day-long activity is also timely as June is the environment month. Tibaldo said that the program started at the other end of the watershed and school children from the Rizal Elementary School were the first to tour Busol and were encouraged to become eco warriors. They later had games of bringing the longest pine tree needle. Public Information Officer Aileen Refuerzo, wife of the 1992 BCBC president, called on members of the club to exercises started by Dacawi, her former boss, in calling for the rains and calls to put a stop on it.

She said that her husband could not join them because he spent a sleepless night because he was too excited to join the revival of the program. The former publisher and editor of Baguio Reporter is suffering from a hear ailment. “I had him (Tibaldo) in mind when we filed our candidacy early January this year,” said Picana. Late last month, Picana with BCBC secretary Pigeon Lobien met with Tibaldo with the purpose of reviving the Eco-Walk in celebration of the club’s 52nd year. Tibaldo said that after the 1990 earthquake, Team Baguio was created that eventually led to the creation of two civil society organizations that cater to the environment – the Alay sa Kalinisan and the Baguio Regreening Movement, the latter under then Baguio-Benguet Vicariate bishop Ernesto Salgado.

The BRM in turn teamed up with the BCBC through its then president Refuerzo and Dacawi, then the Public Information Officer for the creation of a team to initiate an activity to educate the younger generation in protecting the environment. Thus the Eco-Walk was created in 1993, said Tibaldo. Among the first eco-warriors was Tibaldo’s eldest, Tam Jewel, who was born right after the killer quake. “I hope to see young children join future Eco-Walk stagings and them to take their oath as eco-warriors. The Eco-Walk from the onset had help from the newly created Timpuyog ti Iit of the Association of Barangay Council, among them Yangot, then Bakakeng Norte barangay chair and future Liga president. “He was with fellow barangay chairs in Wilfredo Wong, Manny Flores, Raffy Pangan, to name a few,” Tibaldo recalled.

“We had been wanting to re-activiate the Eco-Walk and in fact did similar activities at Busol Watershed,” Tibaldo, a retired government employee now with the Baguio Arts Creative Council. Picana said that the June 19 activity was also commemorate late BCBC members and mediamen, especially those who died during the Covid-19 pandemic. “This will be the proper time to commemorate those mediamen, who were our colleagues and some who we worked with in the past,” said Picana, referring to former SunStar reporter and former PNP Press Corps president Ernie Olson, Jr., and Ceasar Reyes. Pigeon Lobien ECO-WALK REVIVED. The Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club led by president Thom Picana revived Wednesday the Eco-Wal at the Busol Watershed.Joining the BCBC are mayong Benjamin Magalong, Rep. Mark Go and councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr., who was the barangay chair of Bakakeng Norte and with fellow barangay chairs under the Timpuyog Ti Iit helped the BCBC start the program in 1993.

Zaldty Comanda/ABN

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