DENR declares Cabusao wetlands as critical habitat for Philippine duck

The country’s only endemic duck will soon make a fifth-class municipality a must-see destination for environmentalists in tourist-haven Camarines Sur. 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje recently signed DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2011-10 declaring a 27-hectare wetland area of Cabusao in Camarines Sur as a critical habitat for the Philippine duck (Anas luzonica).

“This DAO is a step to protect the Philippine duck, whose existence is true to the phrase, ‘only in the Philippines.’ It will hopefully give this unique bird a chance to live and propagate in a place free from exploitation and destruction caused by high-impact human activities,” Paje said.

The Philippine duck is a large dabbling duck that frequents both fresh- and saltwater habitats such as mangroves, open sea and rice fields, feeding mainly on shrimp, fish, insects and vegetation. It is characterized by a black crown, nape and eye stripe; a blue-grey bill; a cinnamon-colored head and neck; and grayish-brown body and legs. Its wings, when spread, show a glossy-green patch with a black and white border, with a white underside. It has been described as “the tropical version of the mallard,” a duck commonly found in more temperate regions such as the Americas and Europe.

An Asian Waterbird Census conducted in 2005 pegged the Philippine duck population at 4,428. Since then, there have been less reported sightings, attributed to “high levels of hunting and trapping, conversion of natural wetlands, mangrove destruction, and recently the extensive use of pesticides on rice fields.” This population decline has thus given the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) cause to classify it as “vulnerable” under its Red List of Threatened Species.

Paje said that the DAO is in accordance with Republic Act (RA) 9147, also known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, which promotes ecological balance and enhance biodiversity by conserving and protecting wildlife species and their habitats. The same law defines a critical habitat as land located outside a protected area that is characterized by the presence of threatened species, considering its endemicity and richness in the area as well as the presence of threats to its survival. 

Under the DAO, the DENR Regional Office 5 in Legazpi City, Albay, is tasked to delineate the boundaries of the designated critical habitat. It will also manage the area alongside the local government unit (LGU) of Cabusao, or co-manage it with the LGU and/or other organizations. 

DENR Bicol and its partners will also ensure the preservation of existing ecosystems and safeguard the area’s ecological integrity to support the existence of the Philippine duck. They are also tasked to jointly prepare and implement a Critical Habitat Management Plan to address management issues and strategies, including the enforcement of applicable environmental laws and prohibited acts under RA 9147 such as waste dumping, mineral extraction, quarrying, burning and logging.

Although also sighted in other areas such as Lake Naujan and Mt. Iglit-Baco National Parks in Mindoro, and Olango Island in Cebu, avid bird watchers have particularly noted “near-disappearances” of the Philippine duck at the Candaba Marsh in Pampanga due to aquaculture and fishpond creation.


 


 

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

Paje enjoins employees to participate in CSC Fun Run to help families of ‘environmental heroes’

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is enjoining his Metro Manila-based officials and employees to actively participate in the Civil Service Fun Run on Sunday (Sept. 4) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Organized by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) as part of the month-long celebration of the 111th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary, the Fun Run seeks to raise funds for the benefit of families left behind by government forest protection officers who died in the line of duty.

“I am enjoining the DENR employees, particularly those based in the central office, National Capital Region and Region 4B, to participate in this project.  Not only it is good for the health, but it is very noble as well as it seeks to raise funds for the families left behind by our co-workers in the department,” Paje said.

Paje added:  “We have always considered our fallen forest guards as ‘environmental heroes’, having sacrificed their lives for the protection of the environment.”

The CSC Fun Run will have two events: 3-K and 5-K races.  Both races will start at 5 a.m. at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, and will run through Buendia Avenue, also in Pasay City.

Initial report indicates that more than 2,500 participants from different government agencies and the private sector have already registered to join the Fun Run. Of the number, a total of 100 registrants are from the DENR. 


 


 

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

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