DENR to strengthen partnership with other agencies to reduce pollution in Manila Bay

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said his agency will continue to seek the cooperation of other government agencies, particularly those covered by continuing mandamus by the Supreme Court, in an effort to reduce pollution in Manila Bay.

Paje likewise announced that the DENR, as chair of the Manila Bay Coordinating Council, has set to reduce by 50% the pollution load in Manila Bay by 2015.

“We will continue to work with other agencies to fast track the rehabilitation of Manila Bay by prioritizing our efforts on areas with high levels of coliform as well as level up the implementation of other interventions like waste segregation and collection and increasing the vegetative cover of watersheds surrounding the bay and coastal areas,” Paje said.  

At the same time, Paje urged the public, particularly those living along river banks, to stop throwing their garbage into rivers as these not only pollute the rivers but also constrict waterways affecting the free flow of water, especially during heavy rains.  “Tayo po ay muling nanawagan sa mga residente sa tabi ng ilog na huwag magtapon ng basura dahil hindi lamang ito nagpo-pollute ng ating katubigan kundi nagsisilbi din itong bara sa maayos na daloy ng tubig- ulan.”  

According to Paje, despite inter-agency efforts the past years, Manila Bay’s waters remain polluted with high levels of coliforms, attributing it to lack of interconnected and efficient sewerage treatment facilities and the increasing presence of informal settlers.

Coliforms are bacteria that indicate the presence of fecal matter from humans and other warm-blooded animals, and some strains of it such as E. coli can cause serious human illnesses.

Relative to this, Paje bared that in the recent meeting at the Supreme Court (SC) in Manila, the Manila Bay Advisory Council headed by SC Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. has given concerned agencies specific directives to reduce the pollution of Manila Bay.

Among these agencies include the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which was directed to fast-track the determination of private households without facilities for sewage treatment or disposal and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), along with DILG, to “be creative” in planning for the relocation of the informal settlers.

Justice Velasco further directed the DILG to “prosecute [to the level of the Ombudsman] barangay officials who allow or encourage informal settlers to proliferate in their areas of jurisdiction especially along waterways.” 

Government reports indicate that the number of informal settlers in the National Capital Region continues to increase by almost 10 percent annually.  From 618,819 households in 2005, informal settlers now number 677,684 as of March 2011, or an average of 785 households per month.

The MBAC has also taken to task the Philippine Ports Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard to review existing policies and intensify vigilance in monitoring ships that might be discharging untreated waste into Manila Bay.

For its part, Paje said the DENR will continue to partner with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino to toughen solid waste segregation and collection in the metropolis. 

The SC, in a “writ of continuing mandamus” issued in December 2008, tasked 13 government agencies to clean up the bay and restore its waters to SB level. This was followed by a February 15, 2011 ruling that set time frames for the said agencies in performing their tasks as identified in the Operational Plan for Manila Bay Coastal Strategy (OPMBCS). 


 

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

DENR turns over 500 chairs to RMCHS

Some 500 armchairs, made from illegal logs seized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), were turned over yesterday (Aug. 22) to the Ramon Magsaysay (Cubao) High School (RMCHS)  in Quezon City during  simple rites attended by DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, and Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) President Jorge Sarmiento. 

Paje said the turnover was the first salvo of classroom chairs and other school facilities that would be generated under the “P-Noy Bayanihan Project” that was forged  last July after President Benigno S. Aquino tasked the DENR, DepED, TESDA and Pagcor to work together for the production of school furniture out of confiscated logs by the DENR. 

The DENR turned over for the project about 1,598.715 cubic meters of logs of mixed dipterocarp species confiscated from illegal logging operations in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur. 

“Ninakaw sa kabataan, kaya nararapat lang na ibalik sa kabataan,” said Paje, talking to over a thousand RMCHS students.

“It was the President’s belief that whatever gain that can be had from seized illegally-cut logs should go to today’s Filipino youth since they were those who have been robbed by the illegal loggers when they felled the trees from which these chairs are made,” Paje stressed.

RMCHS principal Josefina Perlado expressed gratitude for the donation, saying RMCHS replaces an average of 1,500 chairs annually which are either for repair or replacement. RMCHS has a total of 6,718 students and 85 classrooms.  

Paje expressed confidence that his agency will be able to assure the project’s wood requirement as some 8,000 cubic meters more of donated seized logs are up for processing. 

The 500 chairs were made of mixed dipterocarp species, mostly of red and white lauan, and were shipped to Manila all the way from the Caraga Region where they were produced by TESDA-trained technicians at TESDA facilities.  For its part, PAGCOR shouldered the production and shipping cost.
The chairs are expected to last from 20 to 25 years because of the quality of the lumber used which are classified as “premuim hardwood”  as against ordinary school chairs made of plantation species like gmelina, which has a lifespan of  five to 10 years only. 


 

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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