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Press Release - Sen. Cynthia Villar is Human Rights awardee of the United Nations Association of the Philippines (UNAP)

For her initiatives in eliminating poverty and maintaining a healthy environment, Senator Cynthia A. Villar was given the distinguished Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association of the Philippines in a ceremony held at Manila Hotel on Tuesday.

The senator was acknowledged for the promotion of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Goal No. 1 (Poverty Eradication) and SDG Goal No. 16 (Biodiversity).

The veteran lawmaker is the chairperson of the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform and the Environment and Natural Resources.

In her acceptance speech, Villar thanked the UNAP Board of Trustees for recognizing her efforts in poverty eradication and biodiversity. She was honored and humbled by the award.

"Let me tell you about my journey towards achieving these SOG goals.

With my husband Manny, we established in 1992 the Villar Foundation, which is a non-stock, non-profit organization to create sustainable livelihood, protect the environment and help OFWs. Its various programs for OFWs including the yearly OFW & Family Summit; environment protection, including the establishment of the Las Piñas- Parañaque Wetland Park; free agricultural training in four farm schools in Las Piñas Bacoor for NCR,Southern Luzon and Bicol , San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan, for Central and Northern Luzon and the Cordilleras ; San Miguel, Iloilo for the Visayas and Davao City for Mindanao and the establishment of livelihood projects in over 3,000 locations nationwide," related Villar.

In 2002, she said their foundation started the Sagip-Ilog Program to save our Las Pinas and Zapote Rivers from environmental degradation.

"We adopted a holistic approach, starting educating people about proper waste management.The riverbanks underwent re-greening activities and tree planting to prevent future soil erosion. We created green social enterprises...Women made arts and crafts from the water lily harvested , coconet and pit from waste coconut husks, composts were produced from kitchen and garden wastes and were given for free to garden enthusiasts and farmers,plastic chairs from plastic wastes were given free to public and farm schools," also noted Villar.

She extolled