DENR-EMB names most eco-friendly gov’t offices

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has named eight recipients of its Recognition Awards for Eco-friendly Government Offices at the national level.

Environmental Management Bureau Director Jonas Leones said the awardees were recognized for their commitment to go beyond “business as usual” by ensuring their operations do not have detrimental impacts on the environment.

“We laud all government offices, including government-owned and -controlled corporations or GOCCs that joined the search. Hopefully in the next search we can have more, so we can send a clear signal to the public that government offices in the country are pitching in towards an environment-friendly and sustainable future,” Leones said.

The recipients were acknowledged at an awarding ceremony Friday at the Sulo Riviera Hotel in Quezon City.

This year’s recipients of the Environmental Excellence Awards were the head offices of the National Power Corp. and the National Electrification Administration, in Quezon City; Land Bank of the Philippines in Malate, Manila; Development Bank of the Philippines in Makati City; and the Department of Public Works and Highways in Port Area, Manila.

The head offices of the Department of Trade and Industry in Makati City, and the National Housing Authority and the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City received Citation of Merit Awards.

The honorees were chosen for their sustained environmental management programs on waste management, water, energy and fuel conservation, air pollution prevention, greening, emergency preparedness, green procurement, orderliness and safety.

Environmental programs implemented by each office from 2012 to 2013 were evaluated by the Assessment Teams.

Leones urged all national government agencies and GOCCs to participate in the next wave of the search slated in 2016.

Launched during the Earth Day Celebration on April 22, 2010, the Recognition Awards for Eco-friendly Government Offices aims to assess the implementation of environmental management programs among government offices particularly in terms of 4Ps namely: Policy, Promotion of Awareness, People and Practices. The first ever search was held in 2011. #  


DENR, birdwatchers team up to conserve wild birds

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has called on the public to “shoot birds with camera” instead of gun.

“Shoot birds with camera, not with gun,” Paje stressed, as he reminds the public on the need to conserve and protect the country’s birds, including the migratory ones, for the important role they play to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

This, even as he said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has joined forces with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) to help save and protect all native bird populations.

Under the agreement they have entered, the WBCP will support and complement the DENR’s conservation efforts by lending the expertise and skills of its members on bird photography.

“This is a unique approach to conservation – aiming and shooting at birds with cameras instead of guns,” DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said.

The environment chief noted that the WBCP is widely recognized as a leader in bird conservation in the country.

“WBCP’s transformation from an outdoor leisure-hobby group into a serious conservation-oriented organization bodes well for the implementation of successful conservation programs, not only for birds but also for important conservation sites,” Paje said.

He said the signing of the agreement fits perfectly with the DENR’s wildlife protection initiatives, especially as the country enters its 33rd year on November 16 fulfilling its commitment to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The agreement, titled “DENR-BMB and WBCP Partnership Program for the Protection and Conservation of Philippine Wild Birds and Their Habitats,” was signed by WBCP president Gina Mapua and Director Theresa Mundita Lim of the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) on November 10.

The DENR and WBCP have agreed to jointly undertake a number of activities meant to “contribute in the replenishment and/or reestablishment of the wild population of native threatened avian species through the rehabilitation and release (of rescued birds into the wild) projects.”

One of the activities cited in the agreement is the nationwide mobilization of all DENR field offices in the annual celebration of the WBCP-organized “Philippine Bird Festivals.”

Lim said the Philippines has become an important destination for birdwatchers in Asia, having more than 657 bird species, around 200 of them are found only in the country.

She said the WBCP can contribute significantly to direct tourism. “WBCP’s advocacy is instructive to importance of birds beyond their aesthetic value. Besides being reliable indicators of environmental conditions, birds also contribute greatly to the economy. Protecting birds and their habitats is not only a good conservation policy. It is also good business for the local communities with ecotourism initiatives.”

In the agreement, the WBCP vowed to assist the BMB in establishing bird population and identification of appropriate sites for release into the wild of rehabilitated birds.

The BMB, on the other hand, has agreed to support the operation of a WBCP-run rehabilitation facility for rescued wild birds.

The WBCP and the BMB have also agreed to share each other’s monitoring reports, including cases of poaching and illegal trading of birds.

“In addition to submitting important new sightings records, WBCP can also provide us extremely valuable information on the birds’ behavior and habitat association, which are important aid to conservation planning,” Lim pointed out.

WBCP was formed in 2003 with a small group of diverse birdwatchers, but found itself with a growing membership that ballooned to 117 in 2004. WBCP currently has 238 members. #  


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