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Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje lauded a key element of the Quezon City (QC) government plan to “win the future” by arresting the adverse impact of its rapid economic growth by making its buildings more energy- and resource-efficient over the next decades.

Paje expressed gratitude for the city’s local executives for implementing the Green Building Ordinance (GBO) 2009, saying their leadership in the green building movement “widens the road” for other local leaders to enhance economic and environmental governance in their respective localities.”

“The initiative shown by Quezon City’s local executives, led by Mayor Herbert Bautista, to erect green buildings is perhaps the first of its kind in the Philippines and is orth emulating. I hope this initiative catches the attention of the Climate Change Commission which listed green cities and municipalities as one of its key result areas for the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP),” said Paje, noting that climate change and global warming are seen as the primary drivers that will increase the adoption of green building in the Philippines.

Paje explained that the rising interest in green buildings puts to rest the “ecology versus economy issue” as a matter of choosing between two priorities but “a matter of understanding how to harmonize these priorities to ensure sustainable development.”

“The ordinance is a giant leap into bringing about a competitive environment that may result to better access to sustainable products and innovation paving the way for green jobs in the Philippines,” Paje said.

GOB 2009 is the city’s Ordinance No. SP-1917, series of 2009 entitled, “An Ordinance Requiring the Design, Construction, Retrofitting of Buildings, Other Structures and Movable Properties to Meet Minimum Standards of a Green Infrastructure, Providing Incentives Thereof and for Other Purposes.”

It was approved by then Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. on 2 April 2, 2009, but the implementation started last April only.

Tax incentives provided for under the ordinance are seen to increase market demand, hasten industry to respond that may result to lower prices of green building goods and services.

The ordinance, which gives tax cuts in real property taxes as incentives for building owners, covers buildings/structures classified by the National Building Code, namely: hotels, office buildings, malls, dry markets, wet markets, and slaughterhouses (commercial); schools, office buildings, and hospitals (institutional); and factors, and warehouses (industrial).

The ordinance also gives emphasis on site conservation and sustainable planning, water conservation and efficiency, energy efficiency and renewable energy; conservation of materials and resources and indoor environmental quality and human health.

Building owners have the option to have their buildings certified “green.” They must submit technical requirements to be able to obtain two certificates, namely: a Preliminary Certificate (PC), and a Final Certificate (FC).

To obtain a PC, building owners must submit the following requirements: construction activity control pollution prevention system, energy efficiency plan, water use reduction system involving water efficient fixtures, waste management plan, designated smoking area layout, and sewage treatment plan.

A new building project or building renovation can earn up to 100 points. The points have equivalent tax credits which will be issued by the City Treasurer and City Assessor in the PC, as follows: 90-above points (super gold) earns 25% tax credit; 70-89 points (gold) gets 20% tax; 50-69 points (silver), 15%; and below 50 (certified green building) will not earn any tax credit.

 

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