Paje proposes strict regulation of fireworks for the holidays

To reduce the volume of pollution usually generated over the holidays, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has proposed the strict regulation of fireworks during the holidays through the designation of areas where Filipinos can set off and enjoy fireworks and other pyrotechnic displays. 

“We are looking for ways that will allow Filipinos to enjoy Christmas and New Year without the pollution that usually comes with it,” he said, adding that the indiscriminate setting off of fireworks is “like putting pollution in the hands of society.”

Paje said that he would bring up his proposal with Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, explaining that setting up such areas, whether within a municipality or even among a cluster of barangays, would drastically reduce the amount of air pollutants from pyrotechnics, such as dust, sulfur and charcoal which complicate respiratory problems. 

These pollutants lead to the formation of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. They also get trapped in smog that blankets the air afterwards, aggravated by the cold weather and rain expected from the occurrence of La Niña.

Paje noted that the pollution would also set back the country’s gains in reducing the air pollution level especially in Metro Manila, where the level of total suspended particulates (TSPs) declined during the first three quarters of the year.  Latest report indicated a decrease to 120 ug/ncm in the 3rd quarter of 2011, from 130 ug/ncm during the same period last year.

The DENR secretary added that common fireworks areas would also mean areas where people could safely enjoy fireworks and make cleaning up afterwards an easier task, translating to less fires, injuries and deaths. 

Aside from designating common areas for fireworks, the DENR chief reminded Filipinos to refrain from burning tires, which produces carbon monoxide and other poisonous metals such as zinc which is harmful when inhaled.

He then challenged Filipinos to “tap their creativity and ingenuity in celebrating the holidays with less harm to health, lives and environment.”


 




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 to tap biotechnology to solve environmental woes

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today said that biotechnology is key to addressing critical environmental issues facing the country, particularly in overcoming challenges in global warming like droughts, food security and mitigation of impacts from natural disasters. 

Paje made the remark as he calls on the public, particularly the teachers and students, to actively participate in the celebration of the 7th National Biotechnology Week slated on Nov. 21-26, 2011 at the Social Hall of the DENR in Visayas Ave., Diliman, Quezon City.

Expected to grace the event includes Senator Edgardo Angara, senate committee chair on science and technology, who will give the keynote speech, and key officials of the various agency-members of the National Biotechnology Committee, namely, Department of Health, which serves as co-chair for this year’s celebration; Department of Agriculture; Department of Science and Technology; Department of Interior and Local Government; Department of Trade and Industry; Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.

This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme: “Bioteknolohiya para sa Kalikasan, Kalusugan, Kagandahan, Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran, OK ang 5K sa Biotech:  Suportahan at Tangkilikin Natin!” 

Paje said that there is an immense potential of biotechnology in protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment.  “The potential benefits of biotechnology in environmental management could not be overemphasized,” Paje said, stressing that biotechnology can greatly help improve the water quality of rivers and other waterways as well as enhance the reforestation of the country’s denuded forestlands.

Paje noted that while the benefits of the safe use of   biotechnology in other sectors, particularly in agriculture and medicine, have been increasingly recognized by the government, he also acknowledged the many issues confronting biotechnology, particularly the alleged impact of genetically-modified organisms or GMOs on the people’s health, animals and the environment.

Paje stressed that based on Executive Order 514 which established the National Biosafety Framework and Strengthening the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines, the DENR is mandated to ensure that environmental assessments are carried out and impacts identified in the release of genetically-modified organisms or GMOs in the field.

“The DENR will continue to support the implementation of EO 514 as it is compliant to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety under the Convention on Biological Diversity that addresses safe transfer, handling and use of GMOs,” Paje said.

He also said that the DENR will be taking the lead in evaluating and monitoring GMOs intended for bioremediation and improvement of forest and wildlife genetic resources. 

Bioremediation refers to the use of microorganisms, fungi, green plants or their enzymes to return the natural environment altered by contaminants to its original condition.

 



 




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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