DAVAO CITY – A month after the former Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was replaced, local environmentalists are eager to continue their engagement with the agency under its new Executive Director, Joselin Marcus Fragada.
Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS) Executive Director Ann Fuertes said that the series of discussions begun by DENR earlier in the year should be continued so that the issues and concerns which were identified by environmental civil society organizations (CSOs) would be monitored with regards to their resolution.
“Understandably, the regional DENR is in transition , following the assumption of the new Regional Director. But we look forward to the immediate resumption of DENR’s Interfacing Dialogue with CSOs so that we can follow up the agreements previously agreed upon so that we can track if these have been resolved.”, said Fuertes.
Last January, the DENR XI had begun an interfacing activity with various environmental CSOs to find ways of collaboration among stakeholders for the management and protection of the natural resources in the region. The output of those discussions was the adoption of a matrix of issues and concerns , with their corresponding action points, which was constantly updated at every interfacing meeting.
“There was a positive vibe coming off from that activity because it allowed us CSOs to thresh out and clarify issues with the DENR in a participative and collaborative manner.”, recalled Fuertes.
“More importantly, it provided an opportunity for a convergence of activities from both sides, all for the goal of protecting the environment.”
Among the issues identified for resolution in the matrix were qualified CSO representation in the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) for banana plantations in Region 11 and access of CSOs to MMT reports submitted to the regional Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-XI) in the past five years.
Also in the matrix is a commitment from DENR XI to take care of the remaining budget needed for the Watershed Management Council (WMC) activity of delineating the city’s watershed areas.
“With the implementation of the Watershed Code already underway, it is imperative that the delineation of the areas protected by law should begin. Now that the City Government has already provided its own fund counterpart, it is about time that we follow up on the DENR’s commitment to provide its own share of technical and financial support as agreed upon during the discussions.”, said Fuertes.(#)