Press Releases

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today expressed gratitude for the continuing assistance extended by various sectors in the rehabilitation of the country’s bodies of water, particularly rivers and creeks, under the agency’s “Adopt-an-Estero Program”.

“When I first thought of cleaning up our waterways, my immediate concern was funding. The DENR has very limited budget and task ahead is obviously gargantuan. So when President Aquino brought up the idea of public-private partnership as a mode to move this nation to greater heights, that gave me the idea of engaging other stakeholders, particularly the private sector, as part of their corporate social responsibility,” Paje said.

After forging the first memorandum of agreement with Manila Tollways Corporation and the local government units of Quezon City and Valenzuela City for the cleanup of Tullahan River in September last year, “the rest is history,” according to him.

To date, Paje said more than 230 agreements have already been signed nationwide, the latest of which was with Rohm and Haas Philippines, Inc., a leading chemical industry in the Philippines; the city government of Las Las Piñas; non-government organization Sagip Ilog Foundation; and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

The agreement calls for the improvement of the water quality and the environment of some 1.7-kilometer stretch of the Manarigo River, considered the densely populated portion of the Las Piñas River System.

Under the agreement, the DENR through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), will undertake measures to reduce pollution in the area to include provision for technical assistance the city government in establishing appropriate materials recovery facility/system in their barangays, conduct of environmental education and information activities in communities, leaders and stakeholders in the area, and the facilitation of action against violators of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Water Act.

Also under the agreement, Rohm and Haas shall provide the funding in the amount of PhP 1.4 million as donation to PBSP for the general implementation of project and shall participate in any volunteer works during the project.

The PBSP, on the other hand, shall facilitate information campaigns and community mobilization activities, including the training of community leaders in solid waste management; facilitate and monitor the construction of rip-raps and installation of water strainers; and assist Rohm & Haas in coordinating with the LGU, advocacy partners and concerned communities to ensure smooth flow of the project.

The agreement also provides that Sagip-Ilog Foundation shall have the following responsibilities: to act as resource persons for livelihood trainings to be conducted in the communities, to allow the community to utilize all available equipment relevant to the livelihood projects being implemented; to provide assistance to PBSP and community in the marketing of the products of livelihood projects being implemented under the project; provide assistance to PBSP during coordination meetings with barangays and communities covered by the project; and to assume full management of the facilities installed by the project upon their turnover to the organization, specifically the constructed waste and strainer and the 100-linear meter riprap.

The local government of Las Pinas City shall be responsible for the availability of garbage trucks and regular collection of segregated wastes in all barangays; to ensure that barangay captains shall implement effectively solid waste management in their areas of responsibility; ensure the active participation of homeowners’ associations and other community-based organizations in support for the project.

  

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today said that his agency is challenged to “perform even more” on report that the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III has received positive marks on environmental issues in an opinion survey conducted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) to assess the third quarter performance of the President.

“We are happy with the positive rating given by the people on the government’s performance in so far as environmental issues are concerned. This could only mean that our efforts in various fronts of environmental protection and natural resources management are being felt and appreciated by the people. But at the same time, we are challenged to perform even more,” Paje said.

The PIA study primarily intended to assess the President’s performance as of the third quarter of this year on issues related to the economy, good governance, social development, justice and security, and climate change and environmental protection. It was conducted from Sept. 23-25, 2011 via face-to-face interviews with 1,262 respondents, representing 10 sectors from 64 provinces nationwide.

Specifically on environment, study results showed that 75 per cent of the respondents believed in the President’s determination to improve the country’s preparedness for disasters; 64 per cent gave him positive marks for protecting endangered species and their natural habitat; 61 per cent of the respondents approved of the President’s efforts on stopping environmental abuse and destruction; and 57 per cent gave him the thumbs up for cleaning and clearing natural waterways.

Earlier, the Social Weather Station (SWS) also reported of a “very good” overall rating for P-Noy administration’s 3rd quarter performance based on its survey conducted Sept. 4-7, 2011, with 1,200 respondents.

The DENR chief stressed, however, that even with the positive response of the public, his department will continue to level up its efforts to respond to public expectations. “While the series of environmental disasters has somehow made our people become more aware on what could happen if we neglect our environment, I would like to also give credits to the advocacy that we have embarked in partnership with various sectors of our society,” Paje said.

These public-private partnerships which, he said, provided the catalyst to boost the department’s performance and that made an imprint on the people’s consciousness include program and policy reforms in mining, forest management, pollution control and prevention, land management and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The environment chief particularly cited the total log ban imposed on natural and residual forests, the National Greening Program and the creation of the National Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force as important high-impact measures that the P-Noy administration has been spearheading. “These three, along with our intensified actions against forestry law violators, address the issue of environmental protection, disaster preparation, and habitat conservation,” he said.

He also mentioned the geohazard maps made available by the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau to the different local government units (LGUs) as important tools in planning for and avoiding disasters in localities.

As for clean waterways, the DENR secretary said that one of the agency’s initiatives with the private sector and other government partners which is the “Adopt an Estero” program “has shown tangible proof to our stakeholders that cleaning up our waterways is indeed possible.” To date, the agency has a total of 231 partners nationwide for the program, which aims to clean up or rehabilitate esteros and other waterways to prevent possible flooding. The program, which was launched in September of 2010, also supports the massive cleanup of the Manila Bay area, as mandated by the Supreme Court.

At the same time, the DENR has also partnered with the Philippine Plastics Industry, supermarket chains, and Metro Manila LGUs to lessen the volume of plastics generated and disposed of in dump facilities or, worse, in esteros in the National Capital Region.

Paje also remarked that its strong partnership with local government units for the enforcement of environmental laws, particularly the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, and other environmental programs within their respective political jurisdictions has earned public appreciation as shown in a recent survey on good local governance.

In said survey, also conducted by SWS in July 2011, the city/municipal government scored “very good satisfaction rating” on protecting the environment (73%) and collecting garbage (70%).

  

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today called on all Filipinos to observe a “green undas” as most of the nation’s populace once again troop to the cemeteries to pay homage to their departed relatives.

“This coming four-day weekend is one opportunity that majority of us will definitely take advantage of to be with our loved ones whether living, departed or both. However we choose to celebrate the long weekend, let us also be mindful of the impact of our activities on our environment,” he said.

Noting that the country generates 30,000 tons of trash on a regular day, with 8,000 tons produced in Metro Manila alone, Paje appealed to the public to “also think of the living when we commemorate our dead.”

“Perhaps it is no longer necessary to enumerate the adverse impact of garbage not only on our health but also on the environment. The trashslides that occurred in Baguio City and in Payatas should serve as a reminder to all us on why we should all actively participate in the proper management of our garbage,” he stressed.

The DENR chief also reminded cemetery administrators and local government officials to provide waste receptacles that would encourage the public to dispose of and segregate their garbage properly.

For the general public, Paje gave the following pointers on ensuring a green celebration of All Saints and All Souls Days:

 

Practice the three R’s in solid waste management: Reuse, reduce and recycle by using reusable utensils, food containers and bags.
Bring only a sufficient amount of food. Take home any leftovers and feed to your pets or use as compost.
Place candles in reusable glass containers. Keep watch of lighted candles to avoid accidental fires.
Collect melted candle wax to make new candles or sell to traders.
Use fresh flowers without plastic wrapping, or potted plants to help purify the air.
Get rid of stagnant water that could be a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects.
For those making a long drive to their destinations, car owners should ensure that their vehicles are well-maintained. Paje also proposed car pooling or the use of public transport to lessen vehicle emissions that contribute to air pollution.

 

  

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has partnered with three private entities for the conduct of an inventory of greenhouse gases (GHG) in Metro Manila’s 16 cities and one municipality.

“We intend to undertake under this project an inventory of greenhouse gases or carbon footprint down to the level of local government units. And this effort is going to be a milestone as this is the first of its kind in the world,” Paje said during the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Manila Observatory (MLAOB) chairman Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J.; International Resources Group-L3 of the Climate Change and Clean Energy Project (CEnergy) Chief of Party Divina Chingcuanco; and SEED Institute President Carmen Ablan-Lagman Tuesday at the Bulwagan Ninoy at the Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

A “carbon footprint” is a measure of the impact of human activities on the environment, specifically relating to the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced by daily activities such as burning fossil fuels, which causes global warming and eventually leads to climate change.

“This project will entail an inventory of greenhouse gases (GHG), starting on November or December for the entire National Capital Region (NCR), and in January or February 2012, for each city or municipality in the region. The inventory is expected to be completed within 12 to 15 months,” Paje added.

According to him, the project would have scientists and experts in GHG inventory address issues in power, transport and waste management. It would also provide benchmark data for all sustainable development efforts within Metro Manila as it would track GHG emissions within and across city boundaries. The data would then help local government officials manage future emissions and offset their carbon emissions by participating in activities such as, among others, the National Greening Program.

The MOU-signing was also witnessed by Rolf Anderson, Chief of Office on Energy and Environment of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Frances Veronica Victorio, Director for Climate Change and Sustainability of SEED.

Under the MOU, SEED, CEnergy, and MLAOB would coordinate with local and foreign experts for the training of representatives of key sectors such as national agencies, local government units (LGUs) and the academe on conducting community-level GHG inventory.

SEED and CEnergy will lead in the data collection, computation and documentation, while the MLAOB will provide the quality control and assurance services. For its part, the DENR would enlist the support of other government agencies such as the Metro Manila Development Authority and the local government, transportation, and agriculture departments.

The project is also expected to develop the concept of a carbon bank to serve as repository of excess carbon removals by an LGU who has adopted technologies to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The carbon bank would then be updated yearly through the carbon registries of each LGU to serve as basis for the setting up a local carbon exchange program. The exchange program would lessen carbon emissions of other LGUs unable to achieve a “carbon-neutral status” without the carbon offsets to be offered by LGUs with high removals. Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount that has been offset, or by buying carbon credits to make up the difference.

  

New Zealand Creamery, Inc. (NZCI), a butter and cheese manufacturing company, is the newest partner in the environment sector’s program to clean up Metro Manila’s waterways.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today announced that the agency along with Makati City government have entered into partnership with NZCI president Kim Sin Ongkauko to clean up and improve Balisampan Creek in Barangay Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City as part of the government’s Adopt-an-Estero program.

The parties sealed their partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Tuesday at the DENR office in Quezon City.

“We are grateful that NZCI has heeded our call to the private sector to help us address the issue of clogged waterways in the metropolis that have been threats to the health and safety of our communities,” said Paje.

The MOA tasks NZCI to decongest Balisampan Creek through surface clean-up and engineering solutions; mobilize and educate surrounding communities; assist in capacity building in coordination with the DENR; and recommend and implement appropriate measures to reduce pollution along the creek. It can also assist in tapping other sponsors and volunteers to extend the length of the pilot site, particularly in dredging and greening measures.

For its part, the DENR, through the National Solid Waste Management Commission which it chairs, and the Environmental Management Bureau, will oversee the implementation of measures in reducing pollution. It will also provide technical assistance in establishing materials recovery facilities and water quality monitoring.

The MOA also tasks the Makati City government to maintain trash traps along the creek, and ensure the proper implementation of ecological solid waste management including segregation and collection in the barangays and among homeowners’ associations.

The program to adopt waterways is a partnership between the public and private sectors to clean up rivers, esteros, creeks and other tributaries of major water bodies to prevent flooding as well as reduce pollution and promote public health, environmental integrity and economic viability.

Since launching the program in 2010, the DENR has gained widespread support from the private sector, other government agencies and local government units as it now has more than 200 partners nationwide committing to clean up waterways in their localities.