SPEECH OF RD LEONARDO R. SIBBALUCA FOR THE

41ST ANNUAL REGIONAL  CONVENTION (Regional Division VIII)

April 8, 2016

THEME:

“Ensuring Competitiveness of Filipino Geodetic Engineers in Global Practice through Effective Continuing Professional Development”

To the hardworking officers and members of the Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines (GEP) as well as all the organizers, participants and guests of this convention, a pleasant good morning.

It is both an honor and a privilege on my part to be invited as your guest speaker. This is an opportune time to share some of my thoughts relative to your profession and to also express my appreciation for the services you rendered to the benefit of the clients of my Department – the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). We have always considered you as our partners in our common endeavor in the development of our country and its people.

Your theme for today’s convention, “Ensuring Competitiveness of Filipino Geodetic Engineers in Global Practice through Effective Continuing Professional  Development” speaks well of the need to enhance the knowledge and skills of our geodetic engineers to be competitive here and abroad. This is a timely and urgent call, but one that is imbued with challenges. I will try to expound on that later. For now, allow me to dwell on an equally, if not, far more important point.

As geodetic engineers, yours is one of those professions that scientifically attempt to gather data and understand the surface of the earth for its best uses. This is aptly captured by your mission statement that says in part, “in pursuit of our noble objectives and excellence that ultimately promote economic and social benefits[1]. Incidentally, for this month of April, we are celebrating Earth Day, specifically on April 22 with the theme, “Trees for the Earth”.  According to the Earth Day Network (EDN), our planet is currently losing over 15 billion trees each year due to deforestation, land development, and bad forest management. It is in that context that as we approach the Earth Day’s 50th: Earth Day in 2020, the project is to plant 7.8 billion trees by that time. If successful,” these initiatives will make a significant and measurable impact on the Earth and will serve as the foundation of a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for all.” (EDN)

We should all be counted in on this noble undertaking.

Anyway, what is its relevance to you? Simple! For your profession to be continually relevant, the logical consequence is for you to help ensure the continuity of the Earth’s existence. In fact, our being inhabitants of this Planet Earth and citizens of the world, presupposes that we must be responsible individuals as we are all accountable. The seriousness and urgency of the situation was fittingly summarized in the declaration of Darryl Cherney, a musician and an environmental activist “I’m not an environmentalist. I’m an Earth Warrior.” So, we are asked to be pro-active, aggressive and bold guardians of Mother Earth. Of course, not only for April 22 but every day.  As one unknown author once said, “every day is Earth day”. Such should be our mindset on a daily basis.

Indeed, the issue of climate change is no longer an imaginary threat or a question of subjective interpretation of so-called “experts” but a real and pressing threat. With it, the call for climate change mitigation and adaptation is an urgent call. We can no longer be parochial in our mindset on the issues of global warming and forest resources depletion and the general trend of environmental degradation for it affects us all. All data of the governments of the world and even that of private institutions are one in portraying a Planet Earth that is eroding due to years of human neglect and abuse. At the end of the day, your status in life has no bearing to the doom that awaits us if we will not act TODAY and COLLECTIVELY. All is not lost, at least, not just yet. In fact, your contribution in this global undertaking is already embodied in the VISION statement of your organization. It is just a matter of concretizing it in such a way that it will help rehabilitate the Earth’s resources and then putting it into action.

Allow me to remind you, and that includes me, that we are all stakeholders and have roles to play if we are to survive and ensure the existence of the generations to come. As one Native American Indian once said, “the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth”. As responsible stewards, we utilize the resources of the earth in such a way that those who will come after us will not be wanting of those that they will need to exist. You, as geodetic engineers, can best use your profession to make sure that it happens.

Today, you are having your 41st Annual Regional Convention. Let make take this as an opportunity to express my gratitude, on behalf of the DENR, for the support you extend to us in the performance of our mandate as the primary government agency responsible for the conservation, management, development and proper use of the country’s environment and natural resources.  Our partnership goes a long way and we hope that it will continue to be stronger, productive and effective. You are our indispensable ally and dependable partner in the conduct of land surveys and that of titling of lands.  We cannot deny that one of the vital resources is that of land. As such, if we are to ensure the progress of our region and that of our country, it is imperative that our land is developed into productive spaces.

Your importance as a sector was testified to by the President himself when he said that, “geodetic engineers play a critical role in our country’s development by building and maintaining public infrastructure, planning and updating our land use policies, and facilitating the surveying and mapping programs of our local governments[2].

Lastly, we can only be effective geodetic engineers and a productive asset that will contribute to the economic and social progress of our people if we do not stagnate. Meaning, you must be motivated with the unquenchable thirst for new and additional knowledge, insights and information related to your profession. It is the only way for you not to become irrelevant and thrown into the pit of obscurity. The continuing challenge is to keep pace with the increasing globalized world and not be left out with new tools, technologies and methods that make the practice of your profession easier and more productive.

And so, as you continue with your 41st Annual Regional Convention, may you utilize this as a golden opportunity to adopt new innovations and best practices that will advance your profession.  For in doing so, you will remain to be highly competitive in this age of modernity and a globalized world. To do otherwise, is not an option.

Thank you and may you have a successful and fruitful convention. ###