Tag Archives: DENR

I didn’t learn politics from school

This is the best time to write about Gina Lopez. She has been my favorite subject matter for a few years now ever since that fateful first impression at the Development Academy of the Philippines seven years ago.  “What is DAP?” she haughtily asked, that bravado kind of turned us off,  given her limited knowledge of those working for a government think thank.  How come she doesn’t know what we do, what is our purpose and mandate. I think that meeting was merely using the facilities of DAP. We were looking for funding and we were thinking she would be a good benefactor for sustainable development projects and policies.

I have no idea what was the outcome of that meeting but fast forward to 2017, we meet again at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  I’m writing this at my temporary space at the DENR compound a few days after her rejection by the commission of appointments as DENR Secretary.

Her leadership approach was totally unconventional but at the end of it all what can we learn from it?  I have encountered people from the entire spectrum of for and against her, I don’t want to comment on that, I respect their stance.  The last blog I wrote on her was the fact that people compare me to her given my educational background in environmental science. I remember my early years in UPLB when former classmates perceive our presence in the university as merely farming, similar to that, environmentalists are like Gina Lopez, which is totally stereotypical.

How about people who have worked all of their lives at the DENR, particularly the Environmental Management Bureau, are they environmentalists, or are just government employees working for the environment. The public will judge not only Gina, but the DENR itself, but after her 10-month stints, some thing will totally change  drastically.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Management System, Greenwash, Pollution Control, Random, Sustainability

A Reaction to Gina Lopez’ DENR Appointment

vampira-me-laffIt has been quite a while since I have written a post,  and Gina Lopez in the news have resurrected my ecoblogging from the grave. My last post  in 2012 was about my encounter with her in DAP in 2010.

The worst that you could tell me at this point in my life is that you see me as the future Gina Lopez, DENR Secretary.  I believe I have good scientific training and technical experience in environmental management. Being a media hype is not something I would dream about. I do want a certain degree of concrete expertise.

The appointment of Gina Lopez, is something I do frown about. The second one I frowned at after Mark Villar for DPWH. These are the cases that seem muddy rather than concrete. But the established safeguards in government systems will hopefully deliver regardless of leadership. I wish them the best, but I don’t like them. Some things will be difficult, but we can always wait for the next administration to patch things up.

Gina Lopez has always been a pet peeve for me.  Maybe its the energy she exudes when I met her. Why did I end up in that meeting anyway? Was it her seemingly lack of regard for Filipino Scientists?  Her know-it-all naivete with excerpts of arrogance?  Her “alalays” Diosa and Eugene…Oh gosh, the seemingly staged entrance to the meeting, the bohemian outfit or the fact that she kind of looks like my old boss, who was deeply insecure of me. Red flags here and there, naive comments on ecology and sustainability showing limited technical knowledge….blah blah blah.

Have I really come a long way? I have nothing to do with the DENR or LLDA at the moment. As much as possible I do not want to involve myself in shallow environmentalism and media propaganda.  I do want to exude technical expertise in the most modest, humble and  academically appropriate manner.  Being recognized as a media hype, will not be me because I don’t have  and will never have that advantage.

I do believe that Climate Change is the most critical environmental issue in the Philippines. Though our focus is Adapting to the Change, mitigation should also be focused at.  I believe I can contribute my training, experience and expertise on this area and I need to learn more.

I guess my issue with Gina Lopez is that people around me compare me to her, which to me is NOT a good thing. I have nothing against her, but her ways and means are not something I want to emulate. Gina Lopez is an environmentalist, I am not like that, and I am  doing my best to break away from that perceived mold.

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels

Pangilinan says Philex to hire environmental officer | ABS-CBN News

Pangilinan says Philex to hire environmental officer | ABS-CBN News.

Honestly, there is something terribly wrong here, Philex Mining have always had an environmental officer. I know that because they are implementing an environmental management system based on ISO 14001 and it is mandatory for environmentally critical projects to have a Pollution Control Officer or Environmental Officer.  Executives are not supposed to contemplate on it, they are required to appoint one, accredit him or her in behalf of the company with the DENR-EMB and be accountable together with top management in case of environmental disasters.

There is a big difference between hiring an environmental officer based on DENR Administrative Order No. 26 Series of 1992  and having an “environmentalist” in the team, based on their self-proclaimed advocacy.  I have experienced that and it will be difficult, why, because the two would operate in a totally different framework. Philex doesn’t need an environmentalist if the purpose is greenwashing and publicity, their PR people from MVP’s side could definitely do that.  I am just not sure if there is a major organizational change since the acquisition of MVP in which the environment and community relations office have been taken out of the picture.

Compliance is mandatory, with or without a public image, a company must comply with applicable environmental regulations within the geopolitical jurisdiction it operates.  It just brings me back to the time when I have to deal with these so called “environmentalists” who would question my technical competence based on the way I look…terrible, these people just lack substance when they do not even know the context in which a company must operate to achieve environmental compliance… in the long run, their rarararara…just led to further noncompliance, far from continual improvement and enhanced environmental performance.

Anyway,  that is what the public is supposed to understand, being noisier doesn’t assure you of better performance. Are values really distorted nowadays? People can be easily misquoted and vilified. In the end, productivity is lost and seeing Cambodia and Lao PDR achieving better levels of sustainable development just further slows the pace of growth…values are definitely distorted, going against the law seems to be totally acceptable, as long as you are noisy and look better on the outside.

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Disaster Management, Environmental Audit, Greenwash, Pollution Control