In 2021, the Philippines was identified as the deadliest country in Asia and 3rd in the world for environmental defenders, with women facing unique vulnerabilities and even graver threats. Women bear the burdens of environmental destruction when their homes and livelihoods, their sources of clean water, food and medicine are gravely affected or lost.
The Panlablaba Youth Association (PAYO) and the Kababaihan sa Panlablaba (KASAP) women’s group planted trees together last May 23, 2021, in Awang, Misamis Oriental. At that time PAYO, with the help of their Elder, Datu Marcus, already had around 4,000 seedlings of various endemic species. They had started their tree nursery in 2019, and last year, at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns, the youth spent their time expanding their nurseries. They still plan to re-plant the surrounding hills in their sitio (village) which had become barren over the years.