MANILA, JULY 22, 2006 (STAR) By Evelyn Macairan - In a bid to inspire environmental awareness among todayís youth, several artists embarked yesterday on a three-day clean-up operation on the relief map of the Philippines located at Rizal Park in Manila.

Calling themselves Dakila: Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, members said they are currently conducting the second phase of their "Dakila Ka Pilipinas" project and started sprucing up and repainting the relief map.

"Todayís clean-up activity is symbolic and literal. We want to show people that there is a need to clean the Philippines and the relief map is a fitting symbol of the country. We can help clean up in our own little way," group spokesperson Leni Velasco said.

Dakila is an organization of artists who hope to educate, install awareness and inspire involvement among the youth, Velasco said.

She also clarified that their groupís advocacy is devoid of any political affiliation because they do not want to be used by politicians. They have about 80 members, including Ronnie Lazaro, Archie Adomos, Jeffrey Santos, Cookie Chua and Noel Cabangon.

Shedding off their star persona, poets, visual and performance artists picked up brooms, paints and brushes to spruce up the map.

It would take them three days to complete the task.Last January, members removed the silt beneath the map.

By setting an example, the group hopes to give young Filipinos ideas on how they can express their artistic talent and at the same time encourage them to be involved in environmental causes.

After the clean-up, the entertainers gave a free concert at Rizal Park.

Among the performers were bands Parokya ni Edgar, Cherry Cornflakes, and Radioactive Sago Project.

On the third week of September, the group will participate in the Clean Up the Philippines (CUP), which is the local arm of Clean Up the World, a global environmental campaign involving more than 35 million volunteers from over 100 countries.

In September, Velasco said they are planning to conduct a bay clean-up drive. The campaign is also supported by RockEd (Rocking Society through Education), a volunteer group advocating alternative education.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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