The family and Chambers of Senior Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen donated to Oxfam Pilipinas funds for the installation of solar-powered lights in Eastern Samar.
The donation from Justice Leonen, his family and his staff will be used to install solar lights and solar streetlights that will benefit 35 households and fisherfolk in the off-grid coastal community of Brgy. Tikling in Dolores, Eastern Samar.
During a short program last week, Justice Leonen recalled how his previous work as a public interest lawyer led him to visit areas of the Philippines that were under-developed, including far-flung villages without power connections and infrastructure.
Justice Leonen had made a first donation to Oxfam during the pandemic, which was used for the construction of a solar facility for an evacuation center and a few isolated households in Hilabaan island, also in Dolores, Eastern Samar.
The associate justice said he and his staff often encounter court cases of crimes committed in poor communities. These places are dark, without electricity, he pointed out.
Justice Leonen, who is also a climate advocate, believes that by helping communities develop, people can prosper and crimes will not be as rampant.
During the event, Oxfam Pilipinas held a special screening of its documentary “Tabuka Kami” by Lyf Productions. It showed how the work of and donations coursed through Oxfam and partner organization Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya Inc. (SIKAT Inc.) helped the island of Hilabaan. The solar project not only gave solar lights to households but also employed residents in the installation of the solar energy facilities.
Residents mentioned in the documentary how access to light has made their life easier and their area more secure.
The event last Tuesday was also attended by SIKAT Executive Director Chito Dugan and Oxfam Pilipinas Ambassador for Resilience Antoinette Taus.
Taus, who narrated the “Tabuka Kami” documentary, called the donation of Justice Leonen’s chamber a “gift” to island communities. “It’s really something that we hope to inspire more people to join in this mission for just energy transition.”
With the impacts of climate change becoming more intense, especially for climate-vulnerable countries like the Philippines, groups like Oxfam Pilipinas are calling for the shift towards renewable energy to help reduce carbon emissions.
Oxfam Pilipinas Country Director Lot Felizco said the donation of Justice Leonen and his chamber was “very meaningful” for the organization, as it has a deep impact on the lives of the off-grid communities.
“We should all emulate that generosity and empathy,” she said, adding that it’s important for everyone to be like that — consistent in the beliefs, principles and practices they espouse.
On the other hand, Justice Leonen talked about how giving such assistance helps “make our own life meaningful because we have a passion to do something worthwhile.”
He said they hope to one day visit the area and see the impact of renewable energy on communities that have long been deprived of electricity. # (Photos from Geraldine Hoggang / Oxfam Pilipinas)
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES AND COORDINATION:
Kristine Sabillo Guerrero | Senior Officer for Media and Digital Influencing, Oxfam Pilipinas