The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has honored its partners from government, non-government organizations, academe and the business sector for their valuable contributions to the environment through volunteer work.

A total of 55 partner organizations—10 government agencies and state-owned corporations, 14 local government units from Metro Manila, 15 from the academic community, 7 NGOs, and 9 private companies— were recognized for their active participation in over 500 volunteer projects and special events organized by the DENR since 2012.

Among those that received a certificate of appreciation from the DENR were Earth Day Network Philippines, National Bicycle Organization and the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The appreciation program is in line with the DENR’s celebration of December as the National Volunteer Month, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 55, Series of 1998.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny Antiporda said the program aims not only to recognize the agency’s volunteer partners, but also encourage more people and organizations to help in protecting the environment.

During the awarding ceremony held at Seameo Innotech in Quezon City, Antiporda thanked the volunteer partners for their “invaluable support for the DENR’s pursuit for sustainable development.”

“This is our small way of thanking you for the big contributions you have made to the success of the DENR’s programs and activities,” Antiporda told the agency’s partner organizations during the event, which carried the theme: “Boluntarismo: Tugon sa Nagbabagong Panahon.”

In recognizing the importance of environmental volunteerism, Antiporda said the “citizen’s support alone will dictate either the success or failure of DENR’s programs.”

He noted that the citizen’s support through volunterism is “crucial” to the mission of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to demonstrate President Rodrigo Duterte’s “strong political will in seriously addressing the country’s environmental challenges.”

Antiporda cited the case of Boracay, which would have remained a “cesspool” had the President not ordered the DENR and other government agencies to rehabilitate the world-famous resort island.

There was no doubt, he said, that Cimatu carried out the President’s agenda for Boracay “through the active support of the island’s residents through volunteerism.”

“We hope to see the same spirit of support as we carry out the President’s directive in other resort-island destinations elsewhere in the country like El Nido in Palawan, Puerto Galera in Mindoro and Panglao Island in Bohol,” Antiporda said.

The DENR programs and activities participated in by the honorees include tree and mangrove planting, coastal cleanup, establishment of tree nurseries, and ecological conservation, among others. ###