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26/04/2012: Goldman Environmental Prize Awardee Visits Philippine Embassy

Fr. Edwin “Edu” Gariguez (left) poses with Ambassador Jose Cuisia at the Philippine Embassy.

26 April 2012, Washington DC. Fr. Edwin Gariguez, an awardee of the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize, called on Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. last April 20. Fr. Edu, as he is called, and Ambassador Cuisia know each other through work on different projects in the Philippines through the Catholic Bishops Conference.

Ambassador Cuisia cited the feat accomplished by Fr. Edu and noted the positive impact of his grassroots movement against a large-scale nickel mine, which would protect Mindoro Island’s biodiversity and its indigenous people. Fr. Edu narrated that he expressed disbelief at being accorded the award at first and shrugged it off as being a scam, until the person who informed him of the news started enumerating his list of accomplishments since the late 1990s.

The Washington, D.C. Goldman Prize ceremony took place on April 18 at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The Embassy’s Executive Officer, Minister Maria Andrelita Austria, attended on behalf of Ambassador Cuisia. The festivities continued the following day, as the Prize winners enjoyed a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol with 20 members of Congress.

The Goldman Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from the six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner receives an award of $150,000, the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists. END