By Noel Baguio
It may not be explicitly spelled out in the PEOPLE agenda, but the all-important centerpiece program on environment is embedded in the new human development strategy of the Province of Davao del Norte.
Governor Rodolfo del Rosario made it clear that environment is the underlying focus of his PEOPLE program though the acronym is silent on the word environment.
After the success of the RDR WHEELS program during his previous administration, Del Rosario is now pursuing the human development strategic approach summed up in the PEOPLE agenda, which stands for People empowerment, Education, Optimum health and social services, Public-private partnership, Link to the world, and Employment and livelihood opportunities.
Del Rosario clarified that even if environment is not so pronounced in his new strategy, it doesn’t mean that he is less concerned with environmental policies and programs.
“I have always been concerned about environment,” he told members of the media, during this year’s kick-off episode of the Kapihan sa Kapitolyo.
He said he has been the number one advocate in the protection of the environment ever since he served as minister of natural resources 26 years ago during the Marcos era.
At that time, according to him, illegal logging was already rampant as it still continues to persist up to this day.
“How can we stop this? I tell you the only way I believe we can get the cooperation of everybody to protect the environment is if you uplift the poor condition of our people
“For as long as the people are wallowing in poverty, they will continue to do or become unmindful of illegal activities, including illegal logging,” he said.
It has become worst since many of the poor have regarded unlawful activities as a source of livelihood.
He also cited allegations that some hoodlums in uniform are even involved in illegal operations, including that of illegal logging.
The government, he said, should attend to its people, empowering and satisfying their basic needs, providing them with better health, education and more income opportunities.
Only then can the government get the unequivocal support and commitment of the people in protecting the environment.
“Pag na-satisfy natin ang PEOPLE and we were able to s, in terms of livelihood at sapat ang kanilang income, I think these will be the very people that would protect our environment
“until such time that we can comply with all of these, yang mga illegal operations na yan will continue to flourish
To drive his point that environment is being implicitly ingrained in his PEOPLE agenda, Gov. del Rosario said he will make sure the province will comply with Republic Act 9729, otherwise known as the Climate Change Act of 2009.
The new law mandates local government units to come up with measures to adapt to climate change and help mitigate its adverse effects.
The governor enumerated doable measures adaptive of climate change that he is contemplating to do during his present term.
Among these are to reduce electricity consumption of the Provincial Capitol by modifying tinted glasses or permanent blinds; switching off of air-condition units by 4:00 p.m. and opening of windows to allow fresh air to enter; reducing water consumption by checking leaks; reduction of fuel consumption; and, cutting back on paper wastage through paperless transactions by means of electronic media and the internet.
He said he will issue an executive order to implement the measure within the provincial government this year.