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Mt. Sto. Tomas, ABS-CBN, and the Baguio We Want: a short story about vigilance and action

Mid-morning, May 1, residents of Baguio launched a petition asking the tv network ABS-CBN to change the venue of a thanksgiving concert that was going to be held on the set of the popular teleserye, Forevermore. The thanksgiving concert was scheduled for May 10 in Sitio Pungayan, which is inside the Mt. Sto. Tomas Forest Reserve, a vital source of water for Baguio City and surrounding areas. People here were worried that the concert would cause further damage to an already suffering watershed. The details are in the petition.

Within 24 hours of the petition's launch on change.org, over a thousand people had signed it. While the petition was circulating on social media, people were also making calls and connections, asking for help from anyone and everyone who might have a line to ABS-CBN decision-makers. People who signed the petition called or wrote messages to colleagues, former teachers, childhood friends, public figures, journalists, former tv stars, staunch environmentalists. By the evening of May 2, ABS-CBN released an official statement saying that the concert was cancelled "following some environmental concerns".

Later, the petitioners declared victory, saying: Hi everyone! ABS-CBN has decided to cancel the concert (although just moving the venue would have been fine. We hope we didn't cause much trouble to the show.) Thanks for all your support! We hope everyone will continue to be vigilant about our environment, not just in Baguio but everywhere. Thanks again!

I'm writing this down because it's a good story. Because this is about The Baguio We Want. Because nobody said, "We cannot do anything." Because somebody said, "Let's DO something about this!" Because people took action, where "action" meant more than just collecting signatures online. Because this is a story about how a chain of good communication can become a chain of good reactions and a chain of happy humans. Because all 2,225 signatories helped make this happen! Because what this tells us is we can -- we really can! -- swing decisions for the good of our environment!

(And also because it's not often I get to write a story about Baguio that begins with a gripe and concludes with a happy ending.)

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