Paje calls for ‘greater unity” with civil society, DENR declares century-old balete as Manila’s second heritage tree and Hong Kong government to return five smuggled Philippine sailfin lizards
Posted on June 14th By denr stories
Paje calls for ‘greater unity” with civil society
On World Environment Day (June 5), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Ramon J. P. Paje called for “greater unity” with civil society to sustain the gains that have been made so far in Philippine environmentalism under the Aquino Administration.
Speaking before some 300 members and leaders of non-government organizations at the DENR social hall today, Paje cited the collaborations which he has been pursuing with various organizations in civil society since the start of the PNoy Administration which have led to major policy shifts at the DENR, such as the imposition of logging moratorium in natural forests with the issuance of Executive Order (EO) 23 and the implementation of EO 26 or the National Greening Program (NGP).
“On the occasion of World Environment Day, June 5, we, at the DENR, reaffirm our pledge to sustain our commitment to work in partnership with all sectors and give priority attention to the fight against conditions that threaten the sustainable development of our people,” Paje said.
The theme of World Environment Day this year is “Green Economy. Does it include you?”
Paje explained that, in recent years, the DENR has played as “an important ground to strengthen relationships with organizations with diverse persuasions, but working for the common upliftment of the lives of Filipinos through good environmental stewardship.”
“Never has this strength in diversity has been more felt than in recent times as headways in Philippine environmental stewardship are being gained through the help of our partners from the civil society representing a wide spectrum of diverse economic and political advocacies,” Paje stressed.
Paje cited as an example the gains borne out of this strength in diversity the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which categorized the Philippines as a “strong performer” at 42nd in the list of 132 countries as a glaring affirmation of this strength, outranking even developed nations such as Australia (48), United States (49), Singapore (52), and Israel (61).
“In that diversity is our strength. We share in common a belief in the power of unity to change lives, overcome obstacles and build a better future for all Filipinos,” Paje pointed out.
According to him, sustainable development requires a long-term perspective and broad-based participation in policy formulation, decision-making and implementation at all levels, adding that the government will continue to work for stable partnerships with all major groups, respecting the independent, important roles of each of them.
DENR declares century-old balete as Manila’s second heritage tree
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) marked the celebration of World Environment Day on Tuesday (June 5) by declaring a hundred-year old balete (strangler fig) tree, growing behind a declared heritage house, as Manila’s second heritage tree.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, together with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Jessie Coe Lichauco, centenarian widow of the late Philippine Ambassador Marcial Lichauco, led the unveiling of the marker at the Lichauco heritage house compound along the Pasig River in Sta. Ana, Manila.
Paje said that although the DENR and its partners were able to plant more than 93 million seedlings under the government’s National Greening Program, “this Heritage Tree is better than our accomplishments.”
The balete tree inside the Lichauco compound is the eighth Heritage Tree proclaimed in Metro Manila. It is, however, the second in the City ofManila, and the first inside a residential compound. The city’s first Heritage Tree is the balete tree inside the Malacañang compound.
The DENR secretary commended the Lichauco family “for having that kind of ascendancy to devote this lot, a prime lot, as a heritage site.”
He added that although the tree is “a witness to the decay of Sta. Ana, of Manila, and of the Pasig River,” it is also a symbol of hope that the present generation can “do something to turn over a much better environment to the future generation.”
During the event, the DENR, Lichauco, and the Lola Grande Foundation for Women and Children, a non-government organization founded by Lichauco’s daughter Sylvia, also signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the regular monitoring of the Heritage Tree. The MOA will also open the Heritage Tree for public viewing for educational and research purposes.
Under the DENR’s Heritage Tree Program, a Heritage Tree must be a healthy tree with a diameter of at least one meter, measured at one-half meter above the ground. The tree’s aesthetic, historical, cultural, social and educational significance must be established. Its nomination into the Heritage Tree Program should be endorsed by a group or an individual who will also serve as the tree’s “adopter.” Any work on or near the tree, including pruning, cutting or removal will require permission from the DENR.
The event was also witnessed by DENR-National Capital Regional Executive Director Neria Andin, Heritage Conservation Society Chairperson Gemma Cruz-Araneta, former Manila Mayor Mel Lopez, former education secretary Jaime Laya, Sta. Ana Parish Pastoral Council president Ernest Panis, and other members of the Lichauco clan.
Hong Kong government to return five smuggled Philippine sailfin lizards
The Philippine government is set to accept today (Thursday) the return of five Philippine sailfin lizards that were smuggled into Hong Kong earlier this year.
The lizards will return to the Philippines on board Philippine Airlines Flight PR 319 scheduled to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at around 3:30 in the afternoon. They will be brought to the National Wildlife Research and Rescue Center of the DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) for care and rehabilitation before their possible release to their natural habitat.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that the repatriation of the five reptiles is an affirmation of Hong Kong’s support to Philippine wildlife conservation. “Their government has a high regard for our own domestic wildlife policy, knowing that the Philippines has a highly diverse flora and fauna,” he said.
He said that the Philippine sailfin lizard, locally known as ibid, is endemic to the Philippines and is classified “vulnerable” under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The lizards were among the wild animals smuggled from the Philippinesto Hong Kong on February 8, 2012 by a certain Chinese national named Zhang Wenwei on board a Cebu Pacific flight. Customs officials of the Hong KongInternational Airport promptly confiscated the animals in Zhang’s baggage and charged him under domestic policies.
Zhang’s “loot” included 18 Philippine pond turtles and 13 Asian box turtles that were also returned to the Philippines last April 27. He was subsequently convicted for cruelty to animals and illegal importation of species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. He was also penalized with a fine of HK$8,000 (PhP45,000).
Since their confiscation in February, the lizards had been under the temporary custody and care of the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden.
Paje said that the repatriation was the result of a request by the DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) to Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). The request was approved last Monday (June 4).
He also thanked Philippine Consul-General Noel Servigon and Vice-Consul Lorena Joy Banagodos for assisting the PAWB in making the detailed arrangements with the AFCD and the Kadoorie Farm for the return of the animals.
According to PAWB Director Theresa Mundita Lim, the Philippine sailfin lizard (scientific name: Hydrosaurus pustulatus) is so-called because of its characteristic “sail,” a crest of tooth-like scales that run from the nape down to the back, that provides a driving force when the lizard swims. She also said their large, flattened toes enable them to “run” across the water’s surface.
Adult lizards are usually greenish-gray in color and can measure up to a meter in length. They feed on a wide variety of plant parts, as well as on insects and crustaceans.
The Philippine sailfin lizard is also known as sailfin water lizard, crested lizard, and Soa-soa water lizard. It has been recorded in the Luzon and Mindanao mainlands, and on the islands of Polillo, Mindoro, Negros, Cebu, Guimaras, Masbate, Tablas, Romblon, Sibuyan, Catanduanes, Dinagat and Panay.
Tags: greater unity
- Traditional Javanese Massage and Beauty Care narito na sa Pilipinas
- IT-BPM Road Map para sa taong 2012 hanggang 2016 inilunsad ng DOST-ICTO IBPAP; Next Wave Cities ng 2012 ipinakilala ng DOST-ICTO, IBPAP at DOST-IBM Supercomputer makapagpapalakas sa R&D capabilities ng bansa
- Maling Impormasyon Binigyan pansin “CREAMSILK COMMERCIAL ni Heart Evangelista”; Stem Cells Therapy Dapat at Epektibo nga ba? at Flagship New Zealand telecoms event set to break all records
- BulSU Technology-based University para sa Bulakenyo; DOST-SEI’s Geo-Marine Science Camp wows 59 students, teachers at Globe Telecom Stays Committed To Corporate Sustainability