Paje: Gov’t measures to counter climate change in place

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said the Aquino administration has put in place adequate, long-term measures to counter the effects of climate change, which benefits can come well beyond 2016.

“We have very focused anti-climate change programs being implemented by the government such as the nationwide geohazard mapping and the massive restoration of watersheds that serve as the country’s natural defense against environmental impacts caused by climate change,” Paje said.

He said that geohazard maps, which indicate areas susceptible to landslide and floods, could spare the government further losses and expensive rehabilitation works that may be brought about by natural disasters and poor geologic planning.

“One of the biggest costs the government faces right now is rehabilitation. Why are we doing rehab? Because we have damaged facilities,” Paje pointed out.

“But if we have good plans, we need not invest in areas which will be affected by landslide. Remember Guinsaugon? Had we have a good plan at the time, we would have not built school in the area, which will be covered by landslide and cause 300 casualties,” he added.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau, is close to completing more detailed geohazard maps at a scale of 1:10,000, replacing the previous maps with 1:50,000 scale.

Paje said the government is also enhancing climate change resilience in watershed areas all over the country.

“Basically, this is part of a bigger program of restoring the integrity of our natural ecosystem because watershed is our Number One natural defense from the onslaught of climate change,” Paje said.

He added: “We really have to restore it because we have to improve what we call the natural water-holding capacity and we also have to fortify our natural defenses.”

Paje said restoring the country’s natural defense involves two-pronged approach: protection of the remaining forests and rehabilitation of damaged areas.

“We are doing it two ways. One is we have to rehabilitate the damaged areas. We have more than eight million hectares of open denuded and degraded forests. And, we are also implementing a total log ban in the natural forests to protect the remaining,” he said.### 


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. #  


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