Atty. Antonio Oposa Jr., 2009 Ramon Magsaysay awardee for environmental activism was one of the special guest speakers present during the Aboitiz Future Leaders Business Summit who shared his own knowledge and wisdom on Environmental Issues Cebu is facing. Oposa, a Cebuano, is the president of the Law of Nature Foundation and founder of School of the SEAs (Sea and Earth Advocates). He popularized the “Oposa Doctrine,” making him known as one of Asia’s leading voices in environmental law. He is a recipient of the highest United Nations environmental award, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global 500 Roll of Honor.
Atty. Antonio A. Oposa, Jr. is among the world’s leading authorities in environmental law enforcement. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE). Tony, as he is known to friends and colleagues, pioneered the practice of environmental law in the Philippines. For his trail-blazing efforts to advance environmental law enforcement, he received The Outstanding Young Man (TOYM) of the Philippines Award.
He received his law degree from the University of the Philippines and his Master of Laws from
Harvard Law School, where he was the commencement speaker of the graduating class. He is a
professor of environmental law at the University of the Philippines College of Law and the Philippine Judicial Academy, and advisor to a wide range of clients- ranging from farmers’ and fishermen’s groups to governments and international agencies, such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the United States Agency for International Development.
Mr. Oposa is team leader of the Visayan Sea Squadron, an outreach group of the Law of Nature Foundation. The “squadron” hopes to preserve the threatened waters of the Visayan Sea. This area is at the core of the fabled Visayan Marine Triangle that lies at the heart of the Sulu-Sulawesi eco-region, reportedly the richest marine eco-region in the world in terms of marine biodiversity.
The case, The Minors Oposa vs. Factoran, is cited worldwide as a landmark judicial decision that
recognized the concept of “inter-generational responsibility.”
Among the cases decided by the Supreme Court which granted victory to the advocacy for environmental protection, the case of Oposa vs. Secretary Factoran (224 SCRA 792) stands out as most unique, and novel to the legal world. Studded with new legal doctrines and principles relating to environmental protection, the case has up to now been the inspiration of the warriors of mother nature..
To be up-close, meet and chat with such a great man is a rare opportunity. His passion was clearly shown in every word spoken from his mouth, his practical examples and advice to the youth during the summit showcased that Nature or environmental issues aren't that complicated.
I remember a delegate who asked a question as to 'where should we start or focus 1st our efforts in doing our part in environmental protection, land, water, or air?' Atty. Oposa simply answered: 'Do you have a trash can? If you do, you can start at home!' Simple, direct to the point and it makes total sense! He put on the emphasis on leading by example and by practising what we preach!