Cimatu sets priorities for the environment

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga--- Clean air, clean water and solid waste management are among the top environmental priorities of environment secretary Roy Cimatu, which he announced during the recently concluded management conference or “new year’s call” held at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) head office in Quezon City and was attended by DENR’s top officials, including regional directors all over the country, environment officials here disclosed.

Francisco Milla, Jr., regional director of DENR in Central Luzon said that the environment chief has ten (10) priority programs to protect and sustainably manage the environment and natural resources of the country.

“Geo-hazard, ground water assessment and responsible mining; forest and watershed management (expanded- National Greening Program); intensified forest protection and anti-illegal logging; enhanced biodiversity conservation; scaling-up of coastal and marine ecosystems; improved land administration and management; and Manila Bay cleanup and ecosystem research and development are also included in the top lists of the secretary,” he said.

In his message during the conference, Cimatu said that under the General Appropriation Act of 2018, ten (10) priority programs are supposed to be implemented this year.

Cimatu also designated his six (6) undersecretaries as program directors, who will ensure the close supervision of the priority programs.

Milla said all regional directors of the DENR in the country were directed by the environment czar to prepare an implementation plan for the ten (10) priority programs that will translate into strategic actions.

He said the secretary also wanted to strengthen our field offices, including the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) as front line offices of the DENR to better enforce environment and mining laws.

Last year, the DENR hired more than 100 lawyers to assist the DENR field offices in the speedy resolution of environmental cases, including land claim and conflict and illegal logging, 13 of these are assigned to various field offices in Central Luzon. - 30 -


Environment officials urge the public to protect wetlands

Environment officials here urged the public to protect and save wetlands, particularly the 32,000-hectare Candaba Swamp in Pampanga, as the population and number of species of migratory birds seen in the area continue to decline.

Minerva Martinez, conservation and development chief of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office said that last year population of migratory birds was only numbered to 1,439 with 30 species based on the Asian Water Bird’s Census conducted by the DENR.

“This number was the lowest recorded rate since 2009. The prolonged dry seasons may have affected the Candaba swamp resulting to low food supply which also eventually affected the water birds that depend on this habitat for sustenance,” she explained.

She said that climate change and land conversion may have affected the ecosystem functioning of this wetland and considered as a continuing threat to our water birds.   


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