(SALUTATIONS)

OUR ENVIRONMENT IS WHAT WE MAKEIT, UNFORTUNATELY, WE HAVE NOT YET ACHIEVED THAT LEVEL OF UNITED CONSCIOUSNESS NEEDED TO SAVE OUR ENVIRONMENTFROM THE PROBLEMS THAT HUMANITY HAS CAUSED.

SOME SIMPLY DON’T CARE. THEY DUMP THEIR WASTES ANYWHERE CONVENIENT OR TOLERATE OTHERS WHO DO SO. THEY WASTE WATER, MINDLESS THAT MANY OTHERS LACK ACCESS TO WATER. WORSE, SOME OPPOSE MEASURES TO ENFORCE ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS, AND BELITTLE GOVERNMENT ACHIEVEMENTS IN REHABILITATING OUR DAMAGED ENVIRONMENT – ACHIEVEMENTS THAT DID NOT COME CHEAP, BECAUSE WE HAVE LOST THE LIVES OF FOREST RANGERS AND OTHER OFFICIALS IN THE PROCESS.

THIS 3RD PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT HOPES TO ADDRESS THIS DIVISIVENESS – BY BUILDING UNITY AMONG ALL STAKEHOLDERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT.

 

UNITY IS CRUCIAL. THIS 3RDENVIRONMENT SUMMIT’S CALL FOR UNITY IS NOT NEW. IT WAS MADE DURING THE FIRST SUMMIT IN FEBRUARY 2016 IN METRO MANILA, AND AT THE SECOND SUMMIT IN MARCH 2018 IN CEBU CITY. OUR ENVISIONED UNITY IS TAKING QUITE LONG TO ACHIEVE THAT IS WHY WE ARE INTENSIFYING THIS CALL.

IT MUST BE STRESSED THAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS DO NOT CHOOSE THEIR VICTIMS. EVERYONE IS VULNERABLE, REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL PARTY, IDEOLOGY, RELIGION, GENDER, AGE, RACE, NATIONALITY, OR ETHNICITY. HENCE, WE SHOULD ALL JOIN HANDS IN FACING THESE PROBLEMS.

FOR SOME TIME NOW, MANY SECTORS HERE AND ABROAD HAVE BEEN EXTOLLING OUR SUCCESSFUL REHABILITATION OF BORACAY ISLAND’S ENVIRONMENT AS A MODEL.

WHILE THEY ARE CORRECT IN DOING SO, LET US NOT FORGET THAT AT THE START, THE TEMPORARY SHUTDOWN OF BORACAY’S TOURISM INDUSTRY WAS HEAVILY OPPOSED BY THOSE WITH VESTED INTERESTS. HAD OUR POLITICAL WILL BEEN WEAKER, THE SHUTDOWN OF BORACAY’S TOURISM INDUSTRY WOULD HAVE BECOME PERMANENT, WITH ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION BECOMING IRREVERSIBLE.

THIS UNDERSCORES THE URGENCY OF ACHIEVING UNITY, NOW THAT WE HAVE MUSTERED THE POLITICAL WILL, AS NEVER BEFORE, TO CONFRONT RATHER THAN EVADE THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS THAT HAVE HAUNTED OUR COUNTRY AND PEOPLE.

THE THEME OF THIS 3RD PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT URGES A PARADIGM SHIFT, FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE THAT WE CAN BRING ABOUT BY HEEDING NATURE. INDEED, ACROSS THE AGES, THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGIES THAT HUMANITY HAS DEVELOPED HAD THE DOWNSIDE OF DAMAGING OUR PLANET. NATURE’S CYCLICAL SYSTEMS WERE DISRUPTED AND BECAME LINEAR; INSTEAD OF MATTER BEING REUSED IN CYCLES, IT WAS CONVENIENTLY BUT UNSUSTAINABLY THROWN AWAY AS WASTE. GIVEN THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS THAT WE ARE FACING, WE MUST SHIFT TO PRACTICES THAT MAXIMIZE THE USE OF RESOURCES AND MINIMIZE WASTAGE.

THIS 3RD PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT ALSO SHOWCASES ACHIEVEMENTS IN ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS, AT THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT WAY OF INFORMING THE PUBLIC OF THE REFORMS UNDERWAY, AND INSPIRING THEM TO BE PART OF THE RESTORATION OF THE GRANDEUR OF OUR ENVIRONMENTAL HERITAGE, THROUGH THE PURSUIT OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

DENR’S PARTNERSHIP WITH GREEN CONVERGENCE SINCE 2016 AS CO-CONVENORS OF THE PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENT SUMMIT IS A CONTINUING CAMPAIGN FOR SAFE FOOD, HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT AND A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY.

ON THIS NOTE, I THANK YOU ALL FOR RESPONDING POSITIVELY TO OUR CALL FOR UNITY, AND URGE YOU TO REACH OUT TO OTHERS IN YOUR COMMUNITIES, ORGANIZATIONS, AND SCHOOLS TO DO THE SAME.

SAPAGKAT, IKAW, AKO, TAYO ANG KALIKASAN!

MARAMING SALAMAT PO, AT MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT!