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By Bernie Lopez
At present, there are big gaps between the government and nongovernment sectors that inhibit better governance and advocacy. The two sectors do not see eye to eye; one accuses the other of misdeeds. They have somehow acquired the modus operandi of not talking to each other, and believe they can work on their own. This is true for the many issues of today—environment, energy, agriculture, agrarian reform, defense, and so on.
Here’s one way of making sure the May elections don’t turn dirty: Campaign against poll litterbugs. Last week, three crucial government agencies came together to form a task force that will strive to counter the expected flood of garbage after the campaign whirlwind.
By Juan L. Mercado
On March 21, Thursday, 193 United Nations member-states will mark “International Day of Forests.” That includes a Philippines stripped to only a fifth of its original 27.5 million-hectare tree cover. There’s no other way but up.
This refers to J.H. Primavera’s letter (Inquirer, 2/14/13) recommending indigenous species over mahogany and other introduced species for watershed rehabilitation and biodiversity conservation.
It is a perfect fit, making the Philippines synonymous with the amazing flora and fauna found here—and earning tourist dollars in the process.
I am so thankful to see the Inquirer’s Oct. 19 editorial cartoon (by Gilbert Daroy) depicting illegal quarrying in Mount Banahaw. I myself am against quarrying in our municipality (Sariaya, Quezon). In fact, I have submitted a formal report/complaint to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources central office has since initiated an on-site investigation.
By Solita Collas-Monsod
In the aftermath of Tropical Storm “Sendong” last year, with its death toll of close to 1,500, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources fell under heavy criticism for its failure to complete and/or distribute its geohazard maps that classify areas according to low, moderate, or high susceptibility to floods, flashfloods and landslides. Well, no one can blame the DENR now. Early this year, it reportedly distributed the maps to every city, municipality, and province in the country, and made these accessible to the general public in its website.
This is in reaction to the news item on the 10 multinational companies cited by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for their “green” policies (Inquirer, 11/29/12). We take issue with the DENR’s careless awarding of its “Official Seal of Approval.” There being no complaint against those companies does not mean they adhere to [...]
Faster perhaps than the forests that the Philippines is losing is the number of its forest rangers. According to an alarming report by Agence France-Presse, 20 of the country’s 2,000 forest rangers have been killed since the government imposed a nationwide logging ban in 2010. The number shows that shady timber merchants have turned to more aggressive and deadly tactics to defeat the total log ban. It also shows that the government may be losing the race to save the remaining forests.
This is in reaction to the call of Leonardo Angeles for the lifting of Executive Order 23 (Inquirer, 7/6/12). It is not the EO which is the problem, it is the corruption in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. We have reported many violations of the law. Instead of punishing the erring officials, the DENR defended them and their lies.
By Isagani Zarate
Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree, the poet Joyce Kilmer wrote. Yet, in Mindanao, not fools but environmental criminals continue to unmake and wreak havoc on one of nature’s gifts to humanity.
I would like to call attention to a disturbing sight at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU)-Taft Avenue campus. My daughter noticed it when she was with me while we were on our way to the Philippine General Hospital. She said, “Dad, why are all the trees in this school cut down to the main trunk?” I could not give her an answer.