DENR, partners award winning photos on marine biodiversity; Labor Group Slam Ambassador Thornley for Canada’s Loan Re-Starting Jeffrey Asbestos Mine and Advocacy groups gear up for first DENR-citizens budget consultation
Posted on July 13th By Department of Environmnet and Natural Resources, Associated Labor Unions and La Liga Policy Institute
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) concluded the celebration of May as Ocean’s Month with the awarding of the winning photos of its first Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Photo Contest.
At the same time, a brochure entitled, “The 5 Most Threatened Marine Wildlife in the Philippines” authored by Dr. A. A. Yaptinchay, director of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines or MWWP, was also launched during the event held last week at the DENR office in Quezon City.
Executive Director Jacob Meimban, Jr. of the Coastal and Marine Management Office (CMMO) of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) said that there were 117 entries for the contest, which were later trimmed down to 12, then to five, out of which the top three were selected.
The top prize package of a Luminox Scott Cassell diver’s watch, a Canon photo printer and Canon diary went to Jun Lao for his over-under photo of a local boy swimming under an outrigger, which Lao said was taken in Romblon.
An over-under photo is a split photo where the top half shows a scene above water while the bottom half shows an underwater scene.
Network of Underwater Digital Imagers (NUDI) president Jan Acosta, who had joined officials of the DENR as member of the panel of judges, said that Lao’s picture was chosen for its excellent technical quality and reflection of the contest theme.
The second and third prizes went to Corey Froelich and Mar Jerie Meacham, respectively, who were out of the country for the awarding ceremony. For his close-up frontal picture of a pawikan (or sea turtle), Froelich won a Sony Cybershot camera and Canon photo printer. Meacham, on the other hand, won a Canon printer/copier/scanner machine for her photo of a family of clownfish nestled among soft corals.
Launched in May 2, 2012, the photo competition was among the major activities conducted by the DENR-PAWB to celebrate May as the “Month of the Ocean” with the theme, “Buhay Dagat, Buhay Natin.” The photo contest was sponsored by NUDI, Swiss watch brand Luminox, and imaging company Canon Philippines.
The awarding ceremony also saw the launching of a new brochure by Dr. A. A. Yaptinchay, entitled “The 5 Most Threatened Marine Wildlife in thePhilippines.” Yaptinchay, Director of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines or MWWP, a marine conservation partner of the DENR, said that the animals were named in consideration of their status as highly threatened species.
Featured in the brochure are the Irrawaddy dolphin, the hawksbill turtle, and the dugong for their critically endangered status, while the manta ray and thresher shark as vulnerable species. The brochure is in full color and contains information on their known habitats, threats, and existing conservation efforts.
Yaptinchay said he made the brochure “to heighten awareness among more people regarding the need to conserve these species and their habitats.”
GROUPS ADVOCATING for increased allocation and effective use of government funds for sustainable environmental management are eagerly readying their inputs to the proposed 2013 budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the first budget dialogue between DENR and citizens’ groups on July 16 at the agency’s head office in Quezon City.
Dubbed as “Citizen’s Consultation on DENR’s Proposed 2013 Budget,” the activity is spearheaded jointly by DENR and policy think tank La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga). Co-sponsoring the event are leading budget advocacy networks Social Watch Philippines (SWP) and the Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI), both headed by former National Treasurer, Professor Leonor Briones.
DENR earlier signed a budget partnership agreement (BPA) with SWP that aims to enhance citizen participation in the budget process.
Among the highlights of the July 16 consultation will be the presentation of DENR’s proposed 2013 budget by the agency’s national executive committee headed by Secretary Ramon Paje and supported by all its bureau chiefs, and the Budget Dialogue with invited NGOs, people’s organizations, academic institutions, LGU leagues and alliances, private sector and concerned individuals who all vowed to put forward key environment-related items during the consultation.
“We welcome the DENR’s effort, under Secretary Ramon Paje’s leadership, to start opening up the DENR’s budget process as a concrete response by the Aquino administration to calls for participatory budgeting process through which people and their organizations can provide recommendations on matters affecting them, in this case, environmental concerns,” La Liga Managing Director Roland Cabigas said.
La Liga, since 2006, has been underscoring the need for reforms in government budgeting such as improving its priorities and on effective budget utilization, monitoring and tracking especially with regard to making the national budget “climate sensitive”.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has stressed that the Aquino administration is committed to “ensuring and institutionalizing citizens’ participation in the budget process in the bureaucracy starting with the preparation stage at the department-level.”
In 2011, the DBM issued National Budget Memorandum number 109 providing the guidelines for participatory budgeting process for fiscal year 2012 on “a pilot basis” in six national government agencies (NGAs) primarily the agriculture, education and health sectors together with three Government-Owned and/or -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs).
Early this year, it also issued National Budget Circular (NBC) number 536 expanding the list of agencies to be covered by participatory budgeting process for FY 2013 to include, among others, the DENR.
The proposed budget of DENR for 2013 is around 24 billion pesos, which is roughly equivalent to 1.5 percent of the total proposed national government budget for 2013.
According to Cabigas, “The consultation aims to provide a venue to gather inputs and recommendations and for consensus building towards improving budget allocations for the environment and natural resources sector and funding specific projects and activities.”
“While the consultation will primarily focus on the 2013 DENR budget, the inputs and recommendations to be generated during the activity may also serve future budget engagement reforms as part of DENR’s continuing effort to making its budget more responsive to evolving environment conditions,” he added.
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