Building climate resilient and adaptive communities should be on top of our agenda. This, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-CAR Regional Executive Director, Engr. Ralph Pablo reiterated during the Regional Management Conference of the Department as he echoed President Ferdinand Marcos’ call for preservation of life through environmental protection.
Pablo recently iterated the need to accelerate climate action and strengthen disaster resiliency in the Cordilleras, especially this monsoon season.
“Climate change is everyone’s concern, so climate action should be everyone’s business”, he said emphasizing that this could be made possible by starting with behavioral change among people.
The goal to build climate-resilient and adaptive communities, he said, should be translated into policies, processing and technical capacities of the people.
He, therefore, called for multi-stakeholder engagement for science-based and evidence-informed environment and natural resources governance.
The DENR, in collaboration with the Department of Interior and Local Governance and the Local Government Units in the Cordilleras, shall carry out Project TRANSFORM which stands for Transdisciplinary Approach for Resilient and Sustainable Communities which seeks to provide technical and financial assistance for ecosystem conservation and protection and development of resource-based enterprises enhancing community resilience. The project, although initially launched among LGUs, is eyed to be replicated for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society partnership for environment and natural resources management, climate and disaster resilience, and socio-economic development.
According to the Regional Executive Director, climate action should be holistic.
He, therefore, emphasized the need to advance integrated water resources management by collaborating with all agencies with water-related functions. At the national level, a Water resources Management Office was already created through Executive Order No. 22 in the DENR to be primarily responsible in the management of water resources in the country.
The DENR regional offices are then tasked to look closely in the increasing demand for water, impacts of climate change to the water sector, the lack of infrastructure or engineering interventions, and even related and/or inconsistent government regulations concerning water.
The Director also advocated for better protected area management to protect and conserve the region’s rich biodiversity. In the Cordilleras, the DENR-CAR is lobbying for the establishment of additional protected areas namely the Upper Amburayan Watershed Protected Landscape, the Tineg Forest Protected Landscape, and the Pasil Protected Landscape.
In employing innovative science and technology in environmental and natural resource management, Pablo again called for better knowledge management through a regional natural resources geospatial database. With these, he said the DENR can better and confidently contribute to the National Economic Development Authority’s Natural Capital Accounting Program which seeks to identify, account for, and put value to the region’s environment, natural resource, services and all benefits derived therefrom.
In enhancing waste management and promoting circular economy, Pablo hoped that the Republic Ac No. 11898 otherwise known as the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022 could be properly implemented in the region, as the DENR-CAR and its Environmental Management Bureau-CAR continue to ensure the implementation of Republic Act No. 9003.
The Director also reminded the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-CAR to continue promoting for responsible mining, be it among the large scale mining companies or small-scale mining communities.
He noted that mining activities should be allowed within the context of goals for inclusive, resilient, and sustainable development. The destructive aspect of it should, therefore, be minimized.