Newly appointed Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez graced her first Monday morning DENR flag ceremony. NAMRIA hosted the occasion which was held at the DENR central office in Quezon City on 04 July 2016. Resource Data Analysis Branch Assistant Director Benjamin P. Balais led the recitation of the Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pilipinas and this writer gave the invocation. Supervising Administrative Officer, Ms. Xenia R. Andres, acted as emcee for the event.
In his message, Administrator Peter N. Tiangco said that NAMRIA is even more prepared and committed to accept the challenges of the new administration, with the support of the agency’s officials and employees and the able assistance of its partner institutions. He also expressed NAMRIA’s dedication to achieve its programs and projects and enumerated some accomplishments to date. These include, among others, NAMRIA’s organizing a multidisciplinary team and spearheading preparation of supporting documents for the country’s claim for an extended continental shelf (ECS) in the Benham Rise Region; its heading the delegation that successfully defended this claim before the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), as a consequence of which a total of 135,506 square kilometers of seabed area were added to the Philippine Maritime jurisdiction; NAMRIA’s key technical assistance in the crafting and the passage of Republic Act number 9522, “An Act to Amend Certain Provisions of Republic Act No. 3046, as Amended by Republic Act No. 5446, to Define the Archipelagic Baselines of the Philippines, and for Other Purposes”; the commendation the agency received for the aforementioned efforts from the Philippine House of Representatives which passed House Resolution number 174; the agency’s pushing for the implementation of Administrative Order (AO) number 16, a landmark policy which directs government entities to coordinate with NAMRIA in the acquisition of data from airborne and spaceborne platforms for use in their respective projects; NAMRIA’s technical contributions which were instrumental to the success of nearly almost 20 years of negotiations between the Philippines and Indonesia for the delimitation of overlapping maritime boundaries, the first maritime boundary agreement concluded by the Philippines; and the agency’s successfully achieving certification to ISO 9001:2008 or Quality Management System (QMS) standards.
In her message, Secretary Lopez rallied the department’s officials and employees to work together as a family and as a team saying that “the team is everything.” She cited the need for communication in order for DENR to be a magandang pamilya.” She expressed her commitment to work with those in the department and her excitement especially over “the great opportunity to make a difference.” She said that she can only do so much and, citing her 26-year experience in development work, said that a good team needs “matuwid, mabait, masipag… really, really good people.”
Secretary Lopez said she voted for President Rodrigo Duterte “because he really loves the poor” and she read to the assembly a portion of his inaugural speech which, she said, she would stand by in DENR: “Love of country, subordination of personal interests to the common good, concern and care for the helpless and the impoverished—these are among the lost and faded values that we seek to recover and revitalize as we commence our journey towards a better Philippines.” She also mentioned two rules she said she will live by in DENR: the rule of law and that of an uncompromising commitment to the betterment of the Filipino people. She spoke of the DENR as working together with the Filipino people and that in whatever decision the department is to make, the main deciding factor is the good especially of the poor. She said she is not against the mining industry but that she is against suffering. She mentioned putting up a hotline of DENR just for civic society.
She asked her audience to recite with her the following oath: “Ako ____ ay nanunumpa sa integridad, sa pag-alaga ng kalikasan, sa pagmamahal, sa pagtutulung-tulungan, at sa malusog na pamumuhay. Ginagawa ko ito mula sa puso punong-pungo ng pag-asa para sa Diyos, para sa bayan, para sa magandang kinabukasan para sa lahat. So help me God.” She also taught them a rallying cheer for DENR. Speaking about her firm and deep commitment to the Filipino people, she said that the department can really be a potent tool in having a nation without poverty if its citizens take care of the environment and natural resources. She mentioned two elements that are important: will and heart based on integrity. She called on her audience to be happy and healthy; to love God, country, and one another and not to be negative; to commit to integrity; and to commit to the welfare of the Filipino people, which she said is the performance indicator of DENR. She told them she is there at their service and asked them to let her know their ideas and problems as they, especially for the next six years, will work together and make an amazing difference in the lives of the Filipino people.
NAMRIA Administrator Tiangco addresses the gathering...
...and applauds the new ENR leader.
Team huddle with the Secretary
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