I’d like to make this message quite brief but I hope that it will impart some of the key points of our stewardship role in terms of the environment and natural resources and the role which I think we would like to enjoin everyone to become a part of not just in the DENR family but also in the family of stakeholders that we actually also represent.

At the National Resilience Council, the definition we often use of resilience is the capacity not only to survive but to thrive in the face of shocks and uncertainties. And our environment today is typical of this type of regime. Shocks and uncertainties are in fact the norm.

In this light, what I’d like to propose to all of you and I hope that you will join me in, is a mission that represents the following: an ethical stewardship, to serve with excellence and virtue, and uphold shared environmental values, and scientific and technical excellence. We want a stewardship that is democratic where stakeholders can participate, where there is transparency in the Department’s plans and decisions. We want to work across the silos. This is not a unique problem in government. It happens also in academe; it happens in civil society; it happens even among our families. We work in silos disciplinally especially in organizations such as this. We need to harness our expertise and make sure that the capabilities of the different sectors, the different bureaus, actually are in line and support each other.

We want to invest in a scientific risk-based approach, we want some quantified impact metrics. And hopefully, with the Department’s projects and performance we can set the example for the economic, social and environmental gains that are part of the mandate of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. We strive then to make sure that legislation is evidence informed, and policies and programs involve consultation with our stakeholders.

Lastly, we strive for efficiency but also technical excellence in the conduct of our work especially in government transactions, the efficient use of our resources, and the digitization hopefully and modernization of our information management systems. This will enhance the delivery of our service to our stakeholders and ensure the level of excellence in terms of performance, and the impacts that we would like to achieve.

Perhaps as a few closing points, I’d just like to share maybe four or five other items that we hope can be made part of our shared mission together.

The first one would be really to emphasize the DENR’s crucial role in the accounting of our natural resources of the country. And that accounting will need, in fact, to take place very, very soon as we make plans for the new administration’s agenda moving forward. This will in fact involve the use of science and technology, as well as the use of financial management and economics. And that means we will have to work across the different departments to achieve that foundation.

We would like to build resilient communities along with our other government agencies through risk-sensitive and balanced development of resources along what we call the antural rural-urban transect. These resources are part of our patrimony; we need to treasure them, and need to measure what we value.

Third point is to work with our cities. They are the engines of growth but they depend largely on the ecosystems that support them. And the role of DENR cannot be minimized in terms of trying to support the economy of our country at the same time the social and inclusive development of our nation.

For the last two points that I’d like to raise, and hopefully again with your kind cooperation and collaboration, we need to combat the climate emergency through practical climate change adaptation measures, the use of science to approach national scale as well as local scale impacts of climate change. We live in a multi-hazard environment not just from natural hazards but from industrial as well as what we call natural technological hazards. The compounding of these hazards has led to the development of systemic risks and threats to our entire economic and social system.

Finally, we need to strive to continuously protect our indigenous species as part of our natural heritage and at the same time harness these resources for the benefit of our country. On that note, I wish to enjoin all of you to please join us on this new course and mission. And I hope for your collaboration. Please, my office is open, please feel free to come in and share your thoughts and possibly concerns as well.

Maraming salamat po!


Transcribed on July 21, 2022 by Martina Constantino of DCD-SCIS