DENR pushes for ‘green’ growth of SMEs

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with a South Korea-based international organization to promote environmental innovation among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines.

The partnership between the DENR and the ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center (ASEIC) was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by DENR Undersecretary and concurrent Environmental Management Bureau Director Jonas Leones, and ASEIC vice president Chun Hee Lee at the National College of Science and Technology in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

ASEIC was established by member countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in 2011 with the principal mandate of promoting cooperation between the two continents to create and enhance environmental advancement of SMEs, which are a main engine of economic growth and innovation.

ASEM is a Eurasian forum formed in 1996 to foster cooperation among its members, which include the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), 28 members of the European Union, and 13 other Asian and European countries.

In a speech by Leones, which was read by EMB Assistant Director Eva Ocfemia, he expressed hope the collaboration will boost government efforts to help SMEs become more compliant with environmental standards, particularly under the DENR’s Philippine Environment Partnership Program (PEPP) that encourages improved environmental management and performance among industries.

“SMEs contribute roughly 80 percent to the industrial pollution in Asia. In the Philippines, most SMEs find it difficult to comply with environmental laws,” Leones pointed out.

He said the DENR-ASEIC partnership also aims to expose local SMEs to model industries from other Asian countries, and enhance entrepreneurs’ knowledge on eco-innovative and low-carbon practices to lessen pollution, as well as their carbon footprint.

“We hope to drive small businesses to institute greener processes and management activities, and utilize new business opportunities that are both economically and environmentally beneficial,” Leones stressed.

The MOU provides for the DENR and the ASEIC to collaborate on eco-innovation projects like consultations for SMEs in utilizing green technology management, transfer of technology on green growth and low-carbon industrial development, related capacity building and conferences, and mutual support in research and promotion of good eco-innovation practices. ### 




We take note of the observations made by the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP) and the Cadastral Survey Project. Rest assured that remedial measures have been adopted to address certain matters identified in the COA report. However, we take exception to the news reports that the two major government undertakings are unsuccessful as the latest data and our own assessment prove otherwise. Allow us to share the following information about the NGP and the cadastral survey project:

• The NGP is the most massive reforestation program in Philippine history that aims to plant 1.5 billion trees across 1.5 million hectares in the span of six years ending in 2016. This is 82 percent more than the reforestation efforts of the country in the past 25 years.

• The NGP is 11.6 percent above target. The DENR has reforested 1,005,013 hectares out of the actual target of 900,000 hectares from 2011 to 2014.

• The NGP has generated more than two million jobs.

• After four years of implementing the NGP, the country’s forest cover rose to 7.8 million hectares from 6.8 million hectares in 2010.

• On specific issues raised in the COA report such as low survival rate, a hundred percent survival is not expected in the first year of the planting as there are several factors that may affect the survival of seedlings, among which is the occurrence of natural disasters as well as pest infestation. In fact, mortality is factored in during the 3-year cycle of plantation establishment, reason why there were mechanisms that have been adopted to ensure seedling survival.

• On the issue of “non-plantable” areas, all areas can be vegetated with the right choice of species.

• Roadside planting is no longer included in the NGP, particularly in areas identified by the Department of Public Works and Highways as covered by road widening projects.

• To ensure the integrity of NGP reports, we required the regional offices to submit geo-tagged photos.

• The government is close to completing the century-old cadastral survey program, having completed the cadastral survey of 1,493 cities and municipalities, comprising 91% of the total 1,634 cities and municipalities nationwide. The 3% represents the ongoing survey of the 44 municipalities across the country while the remaining 6% represents the 97 towns under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

• The country’s cadastral survey program started way back in 1913 with the enactment of Commonwealth Act No. 2259, also known as the Cadastral Act. The project has not reached final completion for lack of resources and sustained focus by previous administrations.

• Records from the DENR’s Land Management Bureau show that between 1913 and 2009, only 753 cities and municipalities nationwide were surveyed since the cadastral survey project started more than a century ago.

We wish to assure the public that we are one with the COA in ensuring the efficient and prudent use of public funds in the implementation of all DENR projects. This is precisely the reason why as early as May 2011, we have requested the COA leadership to give regular audit priority and attention to the NGP.### 



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