DavNor readies environment code

Jul. 01, 2008

Tagum City, Davao del Norte – The province is set to fortify its position as an environmental bastion in this part of the country with the preparation of the Davao del Norte Environment Code.

The chairperson on the Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Protection board member Leopoldo Monteroso said the environment code will become the ‘bible’ in pursuing the provincial government’s policy of securing the perpetual existence of a healthy environment essential for the wellbeing of the people and in ensuring the sustainable development of the province.

He added the preparation of the code is consistent with the executive-legislative agenda of the province that adopted the RDR wheels, which is an all-encompassing centerpiece program of Gov. Rodolfo Del Rosario.

The proposed code particularly seeks to ensure that all reasonable and practicable measures are taken by the local government units of the province to protect, restore and enhance the quality of the environment, having regard to the principles of ecologically sustainable development, among other aims.

However, during the first committee hearing called by Monteroso last June 17, 2008, representatives from the provincial and municipal Environment and Natural Resources office (ENRO) noted that some provisions in the proposed code are inconsistent with the existing national environmental laws and department memoranda and orders.

Victor Villones, chief of the Forest Management services of the ENRO-national, stressed that the crafting of the local code should be guided by the existing laws and department orders being implemented today.

The proposed provincial environment code should complement and not contradict with the existing environmental laws, he pointed out.

Villones urged the committee to include in the draft the promotion and institutionalization of the environmental and social responsibilities of wood processors and key industry players.

He underscored that the government should require the industry players, particularly those involved in resource extraction activities to demonstrate higher level of environmental and social responsibilities. Villones said that, in more concrete terms, industry players should help raise funds for the rehabilitation or development of degraded watershed and upland areas.

Davao del Norte ENRO officer Felix Abangin also emphasized the need to have a common consensus and understanding among the responsible stakeholders before coming out with a comprehensive draft of the code.

Board member Monteroso said he intends the code to be approved by September this year, which entails the holding of marathon committee meetings and succeeding public hearings after the celebration of the 41st Araw ng Davao del Norte in July. (PGO-ID)

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