LINGAYEN— Over a thousand of stakeholders gathered at the Sison Auditorium last Thursday October 8, for the First Pangasinan Environmental Summit.
Anchored on the theme, ““Luntiang Ekonomiya, Kasali Ka Ba?,” participants from different sectors of the society including local officials, women, students and teachers, farmers and fisherfolk, police personnel, and quarry operators, among others tackled issues on environmental management and their proposed solutions.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje, represented by Undersecretary Jonas Leones, as the event’s keynote speaker, said environmental degradation is a main problem now being faced by the world, with threats as climate change, flooding, and landslide.
“Nagbabago na ang panahon, panahon na para magbago,” remarked Leones, the Undersecretary for Environment and International Environmental Affairs, as he urged the participants to be active in environmental protection.
These include award-winning programs and projects as “Ilog Ko, Bilayen Ko tan Aroen Ko” and the coastal resources management (CRM).
The “Ilog Ko, Bilayen Ko tan Aroen Ko,” a project to clear, clean, desilt, and bring back to life the province’s major river system and its tributaries, has been cited as the Region’s LGU Best Practice and recipient of Likas Yaman, and BFAR Gawad Pagkilala awards.
The project has so far cleared about 198 kilometres of the Agno River of illegally built fishing structures and some 170,450 cubic meters of silt materials had been dredged out of the riverbeds, said Governor Amado Espino Jr.
Meanwhile, the CRM program of the province was awarded in 2010 the Hall of Fame award from the Regional Development Council.
Mr. Espino also discussed current other environmental programs of the government including the search for the cleanest, safest, and greenest city, municipality, and barangay; the rehabilitation and upgrading of provincial nurseries with over a million fruit and forest tree seedlings distributed to various groups; and the establishment of mangrove and information center.
“It is only Pangasinan that has its own mangrove nursery station in Region 1 which produces mangrove seedlings for its coastal and riverbank reforestation,” said Mr. Espino.
Meanwhile, according to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional director Julie Daquioag, the environmental summit is not only the first in province but in Region 1.
The participants expressed their commitment to the environment by signing a covenant containing the “Pangako ng Pagkakaisa Para sa Kalikasan.”
Among the lectures held were “Solid Waste Management, Water, and Air Quality Status in Pangasinan” by EMB-DENR regional director Victoria Abrera, “National Greening Program Situationer and Forest Fire Problem in Pangasinan” by DENR provincial officer Leduina Co, “Organic Agriculture” by provincial agriculturist Dalisay Moya, and “LGU Best Practice on Environmental Management” by Villasis mayor Libradita Abrenica.” (Johanne Macob)