The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has committed to climate proofing the agency’s programs (i.e. ensure that risks and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies are integrated).

“We need to strengthen our mitigation activities, and make our programs climate-proof to help solve problems caused by climate change in the country,” DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones said during the agency’s flag-raising ceremony on August 15.

Some of the DENR’s priority programs that need climate-proofing are the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP); Clean Air; Intensified Forest Protection and Anti-Illegal Logging; Geo-Hazard, Groundwater Assessment and Responsible Mining; and the Manila Bay Cleanup.

The ENGP is an extension of the National Greening Program that aims to rehabilitate denuded forestlands and maintain and protect the country’s existing forests.

Meanwhile, the Clean Air Program is in line with the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. It enables the DENR to assess the air quality in areas of jurisdiction to formulate a more comprehensive policy.

The DENR has so far established 101 air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) across the country for measuring pollutants, such as total suspended particulates, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

It also continued to neutralize illegal logging hotspots in the country, patrol forests, rehabilitate abandoned mines, and assess coastal geo-hazards and groundwater resources under its priority programs.

“All our activities need to be anchored in climate action. If we can improve the system in our department, our services to the public and all Filipinos will also improve,” Leones said.

He urged the DENR’s offices, bureaus, and attached agencies to strengthen their respective mitigation activities pursuant to DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga’s directive to implement practical climate change adaptation measures, which are evidence and science-based.

Leones said that with the leadership and expertise of Loyzaga in environment, climate change actions, and disaster risk management and resilience, “the DENR is on the right track in improving its climate measures.” ###