DENR urges LGUs to be guided by geohazard maps

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today urged local officials to familiarize themselves with the geohazard maps, and implement the necessary measures to reduce the impact of natural disasters on people’s lives and properties.

Paje made the appeal in wake of reports by the weather bureau that heavier rains are still expected until September despite the conclusion of La Nina this June.  

On Thursday, PAGASA Supervising Science Undersecretary Graciano Yumul announced the conclusion of La Nina in the country this June, but her residual effects, Ondoy-like rains, remain a possibility.

“Local officials should take heed of PAGASA’s warning of heavy rains.  In the same way, they should familiarize themselves with their geohazard maps and take note of areas that are found to be highly susceptible to flooding and landslides,” Paje stressed.

Paje also strongly recommended to local government units to prohibit habitation in areas declared as “highly susceptible” to flooding and landslides by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the DENR to protect people’s lives.

He cited as an example the Pangi river in Davao City that has overflowed following heavy rains, claiming 29 lives.  According to Paje, the river has been declared as a flood-prone river in a geohazard study entitled, “Terrain Analysis of the Davao City Watershed”, conducted by the MGB-Region 12.  As such, he said, the areas surrounding the Pangi river are declared in the geohazard map as “highly susceptible to flooding”. 

Paje said that the MGB has already completed the geohazard assessment and mapping throughout the country, and has distributed geohazard maps with a scale of 1:50,000 to all local government units. 

“We have also made the necessary orientation of our local officials.  The only thing we ask of them is to revisit their geohazard maps, take note of the areas declared as highly susceptible to flooding and landslide, and consider these in their disaster plan,” Paje said. 

Paje also advised the LGUs to monitor areas prone to flooding in their respective municipalities especially during heavy rains, and to install early warning system that will monitor water level in the rivers, like the one installed in the Marikina river.

Under the geohazard mapping project of the DENR, the following were identified as top 10 flood-prone provinces: Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Maguindanao, Bulacan, Metro Manila, North Cotabato, Oriental Mindoro, and Ilocos Norte.

The project has also identified flood-prone provinces along the Eastern Seaboard to include the following: Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, eastern side of Leyte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur and Davao Oriental.

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje rallied last week his field officials to ensure the success of the National Greening Program, saying the program has full support of the President.

    “There is no reason to fail considering that President Aquino has amply given all the support this program (NGP) needs to succeed,” Paje told the regional executive directors (REDs),  regional technical directors, and the provincial and community environment and natural resources officers (PENROs, CENROs) attending the 2-day National Convention of Field Officers held May 31-June 1, 2011 at the DENR Social Hall in Quezon City.

    Paje also challenged the field officials “to give their best shot” as their performance in implementing the NGP will be “highly taken into consideration’ in the evaluation of officials for promotions.
 
“Those who will be performing will be rewarded. Wala pong biro yan,” Paje said, stressing that the field officers will be evaluated fairly based on a purely-merit system “without regard for personal ties or past associations” he has made through over 20 years at the DENR where he started his career as a casual forester.

Paje said the NGP-driven performance-based incentive scheme will first zero in on the PENRO and CENRO positions, with an instruction to DENR Assistant Secretary for Management and Finance Corazon Davis to reserve the vacant PENRO and CENRO posts as rewards for NGP’s top performers especially those that are on an acting capacity. 

“If you are a CENRO, you will automatically become a PENRO.  Those who are not yet full-pledged CENRO (with temporary appointment), we will make you full-pledged CENROs. Performance lamang, wala nang iba,”  Paje stressed. 

Of the 168 CENRO plantilla positions, 47 have yet to be filled;  while 25 remain vacant in the 73 PENRO  plantilla posts.

The incentive scheme forms part of Paje’s overall program to strengthen DENR’s performance-based promotion system to beef up the national leadership’s efforts in professionalizing the  Philippine bureaucracy.

But Paje was quick to clarify that the quality of their performance will be determined by the survival of the seedling declared in their performance and not merely on the number of seedling planted.

“Remember, the NGP is a national priority program of President Aquino, and this is not for show but for grow. Gone are the days when tree planting activities were just to set world records or just for photo opportunities,” Paje noted.

At the same time, Paje asked “doubting Thomases” to be forthcoming this early with their hesitation to go all out to meet their targets to allow for management to act appropriately in their particular case.

“We will make sure that everybody performs. Kung sino sa inyo ang tingin ay hindi kayang ipatupad ang programang ito, sabihin na ninyo ngayon,” Paje said.

The performance-based incentive will be based on the field officials’ scorecard in the  yearly targets given them and will be validated with the use of state-of-the art technology such as satellite mapping and internet-based technology through NGP’s website at the www.ngp.denr.gov.ph