Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje extended his deepest gratitude to the men and women of the DENR as he credited the significant gains of the agency to their hard work during his six-year term.

"You have supported this department beyond what you can. We have shown that not only do we do our best. We better our best," Paje said in his message after the Thanksgiving Mass in celebration of the Department's 29th year anniversary.

Under Paje's leadership, the Department was able to finish the Cadastral Survey Program of the government and planted 1.3 million hectares with trees as of December 2015 under the National Greening Program (NGP), raise the DENR's ratings and place it on a higher bar in terms of performance of government agencies.

"In 2010, 97 years after the Cadastral Survey Program started, the program was only 46% complete. In six years, we have completed the remaining 54%. The whole country has been surveyed. The program is now completed."

He added that the NGP is expected to cover 1.6 million hectares by end of this year.

"If trees were life, we have added almost a billion lives in this world," he said.

"We are blessed to be part of DENR because if natural resource is life, then we are adding life every day because of what we do."

Paje further said that when he signed the Paris Agreement in New York in March on behalf of 104 million Filipinos, it signified the country's commitment to reduce global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius.

"If everyone does his part, then by 2050, we will be on the dot."

Paje also took the chance to remind all employees to preserve these gains and encouraged them to "let the good define the image of this Department."

It was the last time for Paje to celebrate DENR's anniversary with the impending change in the Department's leadership following the start of the new administration. ###