Earth Day 2021: Restore Our Earth

Only a few of us here might be aware of the fact that we just joined more than 1 billion people around the globe in celebrating Earth Day. What started by the thousands in America in 1970 to increase public awareness for environmental protection, Earth Day has now spread to more than 190 countries that banners the fight for a clean environment against the backdrop of the ravages of climate change that threatens us all. 

Each one of us here is now part of that growing movement to give back to Mother Earth, the only planet we call home.

Today, I was made aware that a simultaneous clean-up activity was conducted involving all barangays of Tabango, Leyte. That is one laudable effort that should be replicated on a daily basis in our homes and wherever we may be. Maintaining a clean environment and being mindful of the proper management of our solid wastes, is a step towards heeding the call to RESTORE THE EARTH. Observant of the wastes you collected earlier, let it be a reminder that there is yet much to be done to achieve the objectives envisioned by Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. Much is to be done in terms of proper waste segregation. Much more is yet to be done in terms of attitudinal change of shunning away from the use of single-use plastics and of the need to put to heart the call to REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE.

While I say that much is yet to be done, I am confident that we have made some strides forward. The challenge is to sustain whatever breakthrough we may have in our solid waste management effort and continue to push ourselves to do more.

Today, we join the global community in celebrating Earth Day anchored on the theme RESTORE OUR EARTH. Let us take a moment to look deep inside us and reflect on how we treat Mother Earth and the countless benefits she provides us. And in doing so, let us endeavor to restore our forests; restore pollution-free air and restore the pristine condition of our waters.

As one popular song goes, “Ang lahat ng bagay ay magkaugnay.” The trees not only ensure that our water bodies do not dry up but also help reduce pollution through the sequestration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Our forests are are home to rich biodiversity resources which provides for some of man’s essential needs. And so, it is incumbent upon us not only to protect the remaining forests but to restore the earth not just by planting trees but by growing them. Add to that a conversion in our way of life that promotes practices towards clean air and clean water.

Today, our youth will be competing in a kayak race. More than the competition itself, it is an opportunity for the participants and spectators alike to enjoy nature – appreciate a clean and fit for swimming body of water. The same is true with your Yoga by the Beach later. Imagine doing it in a litter-filled beach and polluted air. Surely, you will not have a healthy and relaxing yoga experience.

May our celebration of Earth Day today be the start of a greater appreciation of our only livable planet. May this signal the start of many more collective efforts to restore the Earth - an act  that she truly deserves. We are in this together – hindi lang ang DENR, hindi lang ang LGU kundi tayo – tayong lahat dahil  IKAW, AKO, TAYO ANG KALIKASAN.

Slide01Eastern Visayas or Region VIII is composed of three main islands, Biliran, Leyte and Samar, connected by the famous San Juanico Bridge. It consists of six provinces (Biliran, Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Leyte, and Southern Leyte) and seven cities (Ormoc City, Baybay City, Maasin City, Calbayog City, Catbalogan City, Borongan City, and the regional center - Tacloban City). Region VIII lies on the east central part of the Philippine archipelago, directly facing the Pacific Ocean.

 
MANDATE (E.O. 192, s. 1987)

The Department is the primary agency responsible for the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the country’s environment and natural resources, specifically forest and grazing lands, mineral resources, including those in reservation and watershed areas, and lands of the public domain, as well as the licensing and regulation of all natural resources as may be provided for by law in order to ensure equitable sharing of the benefits derived therefrom for the welfare of the present and future generations of Filipinos.

To accomplish this mandate, the Department shall be guided by the following objectives:

1. Assure the availability and sustainability of the country's natural resources through judicious use and systematic restoration or replacement, whenever possible;  

2.  Increase the productivity of natural resources in order to meet the demands for forest, mineral, and land resources if a growing population;  

3.  Enhance the contribution of natural resources for achieving national economic and social development;  

4.  Promote equitable access to natural resources by the different sectors of the population; and  

5.  Conserve specific terrestrial and marine areas representative of the Philippine natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations.

 VISION

A nation enjoying and sustaining its natural resources and a clean and healthy environment.

 MISSION

To mobilize our citizenry in protecting, conserving, and managing the environment and natural resources for the present and future generations.

 DEVELOPMENT GOAL

Human well-being, and environmental quality and sustainability ensured. 

ORGANIZATIONAL OUTCOMES 
    • Promote human well-being and ensure environmental quality
    • Sustainably-managed environment and natural resources
    • Adaptive capacities of human communities and natural sytems ensured 
ENR DEVELOPMENT PRINCIPLE 
    • Good Governance
      • Accountability, transparency, integrity, participatory and predictability
      • Ease of doing business
    • Social justice
      • Equity and gross national happiness
    • Social Enterpreneurship
    • Partnership with Civil Society
    • Ecosystem integrity
    • Sustainable consumption and production
    • Polluters pay
      • Payment for ecosystem services
    • Rule of law
    • Honoring global commitments
KEY STRATEGIES 

1. Adoption of the watershed/river basin framework in planning

    • Prioritizing areas within the watershed
    • Forest Land Use Planning
    • Adopting soil and water conservation measures
    • Agroforestry systems

2. Closing open access areas of forestlands by granting appropriate tenure/ management arrangement

3. Convergence approach among NGAs, LGUs and CSOs

4. Area management approach - an integrated area development where all basic societal and economic services are delivered in an area for more impact

5. Capacity building of DENR frontliners, LGus, CSO partners, POs and docial entrepreneurs

6. IEC, advocacy and social mobilization

7. Certification Systems