DENR urges renewed commitment to protecting the environment on Earth Day

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has called on Filipinos to renew their commitment to protecting the environment as the country joins the rest of the world in observing Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22.

Together with the Earth Day Network Philippines Inc. (EDNPI) and the Quezon City government, the DENR has lined up activities to mark the world’s single biggest environmental celebration.

A hold-over from last year, the theme for this year’s Earth Day festival is still “Earth Day every day, everywhere, for everyone.” This is to emphasize that caring for the environment must be the concern of every member of the human population and he or she should make every day Earth Day.

DENR Undersecretary Demetrio L. Ignacio Jr., Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and EDNPI country coordinator Roberto Guevara are expected to lead the national celebration of the Earth Day 2014 at the Quezon Memorial Circle Tuesday afternoon.

The program will begin with an interfaith prayer to be participated in by representatives from various Christian groups, namely: Roman Catholic, Ananda Marga, Shumei, Iskcon Hare Krishna, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Protestant, Islam, Iglesia ni Cristo, Brahma Kumaris, Bahai Faith, Jewish, Zen Center, Pranic Healing, and Kapatirang Bromoki- Mother’s Brookshide Haven.

Dance presentations dubbed “Sayaw ng Bagong Babaylan” and “Sayaw ng Sambayanan” will immediately follow before the main event, which is the “State of the Philippine Environment Address” to be delivered by Usec. Ignacio.

After Ignacio’s speech, the civil society – represented by Guevara – will make a response. Miss Earth 2006 Catherine Untalan-Vital will host the event and the all-male group “Harana Boys” will give special numbers during intermissions.

Other highlights of the program include recognition of partners on environmental initiatives, the awarding of winners for the 3-dimentional Street Painting Contest organized by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau, and the turnover by the EDNPI to the DENR of the completion report on the National Greening Program Partnership in Tagkawayan, Quezon.

The celebration will end with a special program called “Isang Diwa sa Pagdiriwang ng Kalikasan” to be hosted by PTV 4 weatherman Harry Bayona. During this, the audience will be treated to cultural and religious presentations meant to spark their environmental consciousness.

Earth Day is celebrated every year on the 22nd of April. The first Earth Day, conceived by US Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

Today, 44 years later, Earth Day is celebrated by over 190 countries worldwide, including the Philippines by virtue of Proclamation No. 553 issued on April 16, 1990 by then President Corazon C. Aquino. # 

 

 

DENR adopts geo-tagging in NGP implementation

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has adopted the powerful technology of geo-tagging in the implementation of the government’s flagship reforestation program.

Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said the DENR began the use of the geo-tagging system in monitoring the progress of the National Greening Program (NGP), which aims to cover 1.5 million hectares of land with trees from 2011 to 2016.

Paje said incorporating geo-tagging into the NGP would “ensure the integrity and correctness of the accomplishment being reported, particularly on the survival aspect of the program.”

“Owing to the centrality of transparency and accountability in NGP’s implementation, it is without question that the authenticity and accuracy of accomplishment reports coming from the field should be assured,” Paje pointed out.

Geo-tagging is the process of attaching coordinates and other location-specific information to pictures and videos, usually with a handheld device such as a camera or mobile phone that is enables with global positioning system or GPS.

The DENR has invested significant resources to purchase geo-tagging equipment and train over 300 forestry personnel on the use of the technology that utilizes GPS and web-based mapping to allow real-time monitoring of NGP locations, especially on getting accurate count of trees planted and their conditions.

Paje noted that accurate maps of planted areas and their accessibility were two major elements lacking in past government reforestation programs.

“Even in far-flung areas, where the NGP employs peoples’ organizations do tree planting as part of the livelihood aspect, the technology gives us the capability to accurately and easily locate, validate, monitor and manage projects in remote and conflict-affected areas,” Paje said.

Geo-tagging would also help in monitoring seedling growth and mortalities for replacement with new seedlings in NGP sites.

He said that with the technology, NGP accomplishments can now be easily tracked not only by the DENR management but also by the public who can access the program’s geo-tagging monitoring system through the agency’s website (http://ngp.denr.gov.ph).

“All reports are sworn to before a notary public before these are submitted to the DENR central office, making the concerned regional officials accountable for the accuracy of their reports,” Paje said.

The NGP is a massive forest rehabilitation program of the present administration established by virtue of Executive Order No. 26 issued in February 2011 by President Benigno S. Aquino III. It seeks to grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide within a period of six years, from 2011 to 2016.

From 2011 to 2013, some 683,069 hectares of the NGP sites, or 46 per cent of the 1.5- million hectare target, have been planted, with more than 1.2 million jobs generated.

Apart from being a reforestation initiative, the NGP is also seen as a climate change mitigation strategy as it seeks to enhance the country’s forest stock to absorb carbon dioxide, which is largely blamed for global warming.

The program is also designed to reduce poverty, providing alternative livelihood activities for marginalized upland and lowland households relating to seedling production and care and maintenance of newly-planted trees. Likewise, the NGP also seeks to promote biodiversity conservation through the rehabilitation of the country’s forests, which serves as natural habitat for various species of plants and animals. # 

 

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