Greenpeace Southeast Asia


Step Juan: Stepping up for children with cancer by Chuck Baclagon


When longtime Greenpeace volunteer Tomas Leonor told us about Step Juan, I thought it was a brilliant idea. Step Juan, which was co-organized with the Cancer Warriors Foundation, was meant to raise awareness and funds for children with cancer by walking the island of Luzon from North to South.

I joined Step Juan’s Metro Manila leg because environment and children are my favorite advocacies. Step Juan gave me the opportunity to be involved in both in a single event. Besides, I love walking.

It was the first time I ever got involved in the issue of cancer in children. It’s not that I care less for them; I felt that my contribution to this advocacy was to stop some factors that may cause cancer. That meant stopping industry from spewing all sorts of hazardous chemicals into the environment and into our food.

The body of evidence of the carcinogenicity of a whole spectrum of chemicals has grown by leaps and bounds. And we don’t even know what kind of chemicals are out there and what each chemical actually does to our bodies. Unfortunately too, in most cases, it is up to all of us exposed to these chemicals that have to prove that these industrial chemicals are partly responsible for the health problems we are experiencing today.

This must change. This is the reason why Greenpeace continues to work to cut down on the chemicals that are polluting our environment and food. The precautionary principle put simply says, “if unsure what a chemical or activity does to the environment, don’t do it.”

Step Juan is expected to complete the walk this week. I can tell it has been a success. I’d like to congratulate Tomas for this courageous but humble act for the sake of the children with cancer for a job well done.

Beau Baconguis
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