June 20, 2017


MANILA –  Celebrating Philippine Environment Month, the National Economic and Development Authority pushed for stronger policies for environmental protection in a tree planting event last Friday.

The month of June is declared Philippine Environment Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 237 signed in 1988 by former President Corazon Aquino. This year’s theme is “Connecting People to Nature.”

Around 900 guyabano and narra seedlings were planted by NEDA officials and employees in Rizal, Laguna, during the event.

NEDA Assistant Secretary for Regional Development Mercedita Sombilla said that stakeholders in both the private and public sectors should implement strategies aligned with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017–2022 to rehabilitate degraded natural resources and to protect fragile ecosystems.

“One of NEDA’s policy recommendations is the complete delineation of final forest limits. This will mark the extent of forestlands that need proper management. This should also distinguish production zones from protection zones,” she said.

Sombilla added that the rehabilitation of unproductive, denuded, and degraded areas, which account for 7.1 million hectares, should be accelerated and prioritized.

The NEDA official emphasized that improving environmental health and ecological integrity are critical to support the accelerated economic growth that the administration aims to achieve.

“Our environment and natural resources play a critical role in our country’s development. They support the performance of other sectors like agriculture, fisheries, industry, and services. They also provide livelihood to resource-dependent communities,” Sombilla said.

To do so, she explained that research and law enforcement on forest management must be strengthened.

The tree planting event was organized by the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Staff of NEDA in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-PENRO) and local government officials of Rizal, Laguna.