DENR Secretary Gina Lopez knights "Earth Warriors" in CALABARZON Region

Published on Tuesday, 06 September 2016 02:28
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DENR Secretary Gina Lopez knights "Earth Warriors" in CALABARZON Regionearth warriors

             DENR Sec. Lopez (fourth from left, standing), DENR Usec. Perlas (third from left, standing), DENR Usec. Montejo (fifth from left, standing) and Save the La Mesa Watershed Project Manager David Azurin (second from left), knighting the Pamb members as Earth Warriors. "Ng may karangalan at katapatan, gampanan ninyo ang inyong tungkulin at maging isang ganap na earth warrior," declared Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina Paz "Gina" Lopez and the knighting team as they gave a rank of honor to the DENR Region 4A officials and staff, as well as members of Protected Area Management Boards (PAMBs) within the Calabarzon region, after they have completed the Earth Warriors Training on September 1, 2016. With Madam Secretary were DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations-Luzon and Visayas, Dr. Isabelo Montejo; DENR Undersecretary for Civil Society and Societal Partnerships Nicanor Jesus Perlas III; DENR Human Resource Development Service (HRDS) Director Rolando Castro; DENR Hrds Training and Development Division Chief Hiro Masuda; Save the La Mesa Watershed Project Manager David Azurin; and ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. thru Bantay Kalikasan (ALKFI-BK) volunteers.



            The Earth Warriors Training was conducted within the La Mesa Watershed in Quezon City on the last day of the 5th Calabarzon Regional Pamb Summit. It was an activity undertaken in compliance with the immediate instruction of the Environment department head right after her keynote address during the first day of the said summit. The DENR Region 4A was the first of all the DENR offices to have undergone this training.

        "Ito ay ang mataas na antas ng pakikibaka para sa pagpo-protekta ng ating kalikasan," director Castro said, defining earth warriors. "[Sa mga] gagawin natin ngayon, tayo ay pagbubuklod-bukludin...tungo sa iisang layunin--para pangalagaan ang ating kalikasan...para sa mga susunod pang henerasyon," he further mentioned in explanation of the main purpose of the training which is to build a team consisting of different sectors of the community having sole focus of protecting the natural environment.

          Aside from the said objective, the DENR Secretary likewise shared the success story of the La Mesa Watershed Project to the Pambs for them to possibly adopt certain best practices applicable to their respective Protected Areas.

         La Mesa Watershed is a government property, owned by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), which straddles the boundaries of Quezon City, Caloocan City, and Rodriguez, Rizal and has a total area of 2,700 hectares--700 hectares of which is the reservoir and 2000 hectares is the forest area. Within it is a filtration plant which distributes water coming from Umiray, Angat and Ipo watersheds to more or less 12 million residents in Metro Manila. Moreover, said watershed is the only remaining vast forest area in the metro.

       Save the La Mesa Watershed Project, on the other hand, is a joint venture amongst MWSS, Manila Water Company Incorporated (MWCI), Maynilad, DENR, Local Government Unit of Quezon City (LGU-QC), and Alkfi-Bk. It started in 1999 with the basic aim of rehabilitating the once degraded watershed area. "Very proud ako na part ako ng proyektong ito na nagiging successful," Azurin stated with great enthusiasm as he discussed with the participants the achievements of the project.

          Prior to the actual training proper, the learners walked through the six (6)-kilometer foot trail in La Mesa Nature Park to feel the ambience of the rehabilitation area. The team building took place at La Mesa Eco Park, a 33-hectare public park located within the watershed which is a joint project of the ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan, MWSS and LGU-QC. It involved physical games and a reflection activity with underlying meaning which essentially taught the participants how they will be effective as a team.

         DENR 4A Calabarzon Regional Director Reynulfo Juan applauded those who have joined in the physical activities, especially, the elder ones. "Natutuwa ako dahil ito yung team spirit na 'pag may kulang, puwedeng punuan ng isang tao...Na kahit gaano kahirap ay ginagawa po natin," he uttered, remarking on a senior Pamb member who still played the games just so the team she was grouped with would not get disqualified due to inadequate number of players. "Alam naman po ninyo ang sinasabi natin d'yan--'pag maganda ang samahan, kahit ano'ng hirap, magagawa natin kahit anong gusto natin," he exclaimed.

         "'Yun siguro ang message ng bagong Secretary natin, na dapat sa bagong team na ito, dapat palaging and'yan ang teamwork, coordination at planning para effective 'yung implementation natin ng program," DENR Region 4A Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services, Atty. Antonio Abawag, also commented. "I hope that everybody would be able to inculcate [that] in our minds," he added.

         As part of the graduation rites, the newly knighted earth warriors swore before the secretary, following her in stating this oath: "Ako, (state name), ay nanunumpa sa integridad, sa pagmamahal, sa pagtutulung-tulungan, sa pag-aalaga ng kalikasan, at sa malusog na pamumuhay. Ginagawa ko ito mula sa puso, punung-puno ng pag-asa para sa Diyos, para sa bayan at para sa magandang kinabukasan para sa lahat. So help me God."

          "Hoo-ha!" Calabarzon earth warriors yelled.