RED Crizaldy M. Barcelo, CESO III


on the


Culmination of the Environment Month


Function Hall, Summit Hotel, Tacloban City

June 25, 2018





Maka-kalikasan na pagbati sa inyong lahat. We are here today for the culmination activity of the celebration of the environment month. But make no mistake for this does not mean that we will now sit back and relax. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are now in full swing in the implementation of our programs of trying to achieve our targets. In fact, we should even strive of breaking our own expectations by working hard even beyond our targets.


That should be our mindset as we take a pause today from our work to relax, enjoy each other’s company and strengthen our camaraderie. Tomorrow, we go back to work refreshed, reinvigorated and with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. But today we give ourselves a break. Today, we shall honor and pay tribute to our DENR officials who excelled in their field of expertise and areas of jurisdiction that has redounded to positive achievements of the DENR. It is but fitting that we acknowledge their efforts for us to emulate and follow. In the same manner, protecting the environment is not our sole responsibility but the responsibility of every one as citizens of our country and as residents of the earth. In the entire existence of the DENR, we have always tapped the assistance and collaboration of other government agencies and even those in the private sector. For their invaluable and indispensable pillar of support, we shall also fittingly honor and acknowledge their contributions. And as we recognize all of them, we will try to endeavor to further strengthen the bond that binds us all together in our fight against the modern-day goliaths of our society – those that selfishly wields their political and economic power to ravish and rape our natural resources to satisfy their greed for profit at the expense of our environment and communities.


In my message to you during the opening of our environment month, i emphasized the need for a personal conversion in our dealing in protecting the environment. That is, for us to be motivated to voluntarily and passionately engage in activities geared towards environmental protection.


I emphasized that because, it is easy for us to say that we care for the environment and does activities that concretizes our expression of nurturing the environment because we are employees of the department – but we are being paid for that. For me, that is not how we can truly be gauged of our advocacy for a green environment. As Pope Francis once said in a sermon, “it is easier for a believer to baptize your child than not being a believer and baptizing your children”. In the same vent, it is easy for us to claim that we are environmentalist because we receive our salaries and other allowances for that. But it is what we do for the environment in our private time and when we are no longer part of the department that matters most – that is where we will be truly measured. That is where real challenge comes in. When what drives us is our personal conviction in those advocacies. Not simply because we are employed in the department and with targets to comply with at the end of every fiscal year. Because when that is what drives us, we shall always exceed our targets. When that happens, then change has really come. We can now claim to be effective stewards of the environment.


As an institution, we can say with pride that we are continually gaining grounds in our mandate of protecting our environment. We are fortunate to have leaders that has the political will and determination to do what is right for the environment. A testament to that is the bold decision to close Boracay temporarily and rehabilitate it from decades of neglect. It created a ripple effect to other eco-tourism destinations throughout the archipelago. They, too, have made the necessary corrective measures.


Here in eastern Visayas, we are replicating the rehabilitation effort that is being done in Boracay. This is important considering that one of the major sources of tourism revenue in the region are those coming from ecotourism. We do not want to be the next Boracay. As early as now, we will be ensuring that environmental laws and other related regulations are religiously complied with. We are having inventory of foreshore occupants as well as establishments and occupants within our protected areas and making sure that they are connected to sewer lines and water treatment plants, if necessary. Structures are being surveyed and inventoried that they do not violate existing legal easement and complies to environmental standards.


We will be strict on this and I call upon all employees and officials of DENR for your vigilance and support.


For this year’s celebration of environment month, our theme is “beat plastic pollution”. We focus on this. With the month almost over, it is high time to ask ourselves: have we educated ourselves on the problem of plastic pollution? What concrete actions have we done to help curb plastic pollution? Do we have concrete plan of action as an individual, family, organization or community to address the problem of plastic pollution?


During my message to you as we formally started the month-long celebration of environment, i posed the challenge to reverse the trend in how we produce, consume and our very own way of life. Have we started or even tried to reset our outlook of producing, consuming and way of life that does not prejudice our environment and well-being? Even little things as proper disposal of our wastes, refusing the use of plastic cutlery, bringing our own bag when doing our grocery and picking up plastic litters on the pathway matters. Simple and little act of goodness for the environment that we can make as a habit is a good start.


Just a fast fact check to motivate us from world environment“while plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.


Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes collection systems, which means that it ends up clogging our city streets and polluting our natural environment. Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife.


The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates.


Plastic also makes its way into our water supply – and thus into our bodies.”


The time to act is now. And it falls upon each one of us to make that happen if we want a greener future for us and the generations to come. Even the supreme court in the landmark case of Oposa vs Factoran way back in 1993, they have inked their support in the effort to protect our environment in what is now known as “Oposa doctrine”. It stood its ground to upheld the legal standing and the right of the children to initiate the action on their behalf and on behalf of generations yet unborn against those who are to plunder and destroy our environment. It focuses on one fundamental right – the right to balanced and the right to a balanced and healthful ecology which is enshrined in the constitution. It carries with it the duty to refrain from impairing the environment and implies, among many other things, the judicious management and conservation of the country's forests. If even the children are standing up for their rights, should we not too?


That is within the mandate of our department. But having said that, I want us all to go beyond just being an employee of DENR. Reach out to others as true advocates of the environment and convince others to do the same. This duty can be summed up in the words of sec. Cimatu which I also shared to our DENR retirees this morning. He said, “protecting the environment is everybody’s responsibility. It is not only the responsibility of the personnel of DENR but the responsibility should be on the people themselves. It should start from your heart.” Dapat galing sa puso ang lahat ng ating ginagawa.


This message and challenge of our secretary I share not only to my colleagues in the DENR but also to our partners from the different government agencies and in the private sector. Ikaw, ako at tayo mismo ang kalikasan. We are all called to respond to this challenge.


Beat plastic pollution. Create a greener future and make ourselves count on this undertaking .mabuhay at maraming salamat po!