Phl gets “strong performer” rank in global Environmental Performance Index

The Philippines is now categorized as a global “strong performer” after gaining higher marks in environmental performance, outranking Australia, the United States (USA), Singapore, and Bulgaria.

In the biennial Environmental Performance Index (EPI) prepared by Yale and Columbia Universities, the Philippines ranked 42 among 132 countries under the “strong performer” category.  

Meanwhile, Australia was ranked 48th, the USA 49th, Singapore 52nd and Bulgaria 53rd, all under the “modest performers” category. A higher EPI rank indicates that a country or region is closer to achieving its established goals in environmental policy.

The EPI, prepared in collaboration with the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Italy, studies data to analyze how the global community is doing on particular policy issues against environmental pressures, and is used to steer individual countries toward environmental sustainability. 

“We are pleased that the international community has recognized our efforts on environmental protection and management. We would like to share this achievement with all the sectors and stakeholders, including other agencies of the government, who have collaborated with us in our programs, particularly in cleaning the air and water, forest protection, national greening program, biodiversity conservation, and other environmental protection initiatives,” Paje said. 

Based on the study, the Philippines jumped eight places up from its 50th rank in 2010. It retained its ranking of eighth in the Asia-Pacific region, higher than South Korea, Australia and Singapore which ranked ninth, tenth and eleventh, respectively. 

For 2012, the EPI ranked 132 countries on 22 performance indicators across ten policy categories under two policy objectives: Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality. The Philippines gained perfect scores in the indicators for outdoor air pollution, change in forest cover, and growing stocks in forests.

Paje cited strong regulatory efforts of the government to obtain cleaner air, as evidenced by the 30 per cent drop in the amount of total suspended particulates (TSPs) from 166 µg/Ncm (micrograms per normal cubic meter) in June 2010, to 116 µg/Ncm towards the end of last year. The normal standard set for TSP by the World Health Organization is 90 µg/Ncm.  Particulate matter or dust contributes to respiratory infections and other diseases.

The environment chief likewise credited the perfect scores in the forestry sector to the issuance by the Aquino administration of Executive Orders (EO) No. 23 and 26. EO 23 imposes moratorium in the cutting of trees in natural and residual forests.  It also mandated the creation of an anti-illegal logging task force with the DENR secretary as head, and the chiefs of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as members.

Last year, the task force has confiscated more than 10 million board feet of undocumented logs and lumbers and filed 452 cases against forestry law violators. 

On the other hand, EO 26 established the National Greening Program to reduce poverty, provide food security and mitigate climate change by planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares over a period of six years. For 2011, the DENR, together with other government agencies, the local government units, the private sector, civil society and other partners were able to plant 69 million seedlings in more than 118,000 hectares nationwide.


EnvironmentNatural 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 declares Isabela area as critical habitat for Philippine duck

The endemic Philippine duck has just gained an additional 178 hectares as its safe haven, this time far up in Northern Luzon. 

The addition came in the form of Administrative Order No. 2012-01 signed recently by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, declaring the Malasi Tree Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Barangay San Antonio in Cabagan, Isabela as a critical habitat for the Philippine duck (Anas luzonica) and other water bird species.  

The designation of the critical habitat is in accordance with Republic Act (RA) No. 9147, also known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. 

“This is a major step to conserve and protect the Philippine duck as the area becomes now a protected area, which means that the communities around it should make an effort to minimize human activities that will have adverse impact to the animal,” he said.

Critical habitats are areas that are preserved to support the perpetual existence of a certain plant or animal species, whether they are migratory or naturally occurring in an area.

Under the Administrative Order, the DENR Region 2 is tasked to manage the Malasi Sanctuary in partnership with the Cabagan local government unit (LGU) and other concerned organizations, and in accordance with a Critical Habitat Management Plan specifically prepared for the area. 

They are to ensure that any developmental activities within or in the periphery of the declared critical habitat would undergo the necessary assessment process to safeguard the area’s ecological integrity. 

They are also to enforce all applicable environmental laws especially those governing acts prohibited by RA 9147 such as dumping of waste products, human settlement, mineral exploration or extraction, burning, logging or quarrying. 

The Philippine duck has been described as “the tropical version of the mallard,” a type of duck commonly found in more temperate regions such as the Americas and Europe. Its population has been on a decline, prompting the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to classify it as “vulnerable” under its Red List of Threatened Species.

The Malasi area is already familiar among avid bird watchers as it is a known sanctuary for various species of ducks, herons, and other migrant birds. It has also been found to support a significant population of the Philippine duck.

In September 2011, the DENR had also declared a 27-hectare wetland area in Cabusao, Camarines Sur as a critical habitat for the Philippine duck.


EnvironmentNatural 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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