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Bill promotes enchanced environmental protection

A HOUSE leader has filed a bill to enhance environmental protection, uplift the lives and natural resources personnel and better equipped agencies in the management and development of environmental related projects and programs.

“The State shall instill environment consciousness among our people to effectively carry out the different environmental programs and projects of the government essential for the protection, preservation and revival of the quality of the environment and natural resources of the country,” said House Deputy Speaker and 1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, President of the 54-strong Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI), in filing House Bill (HB) 1334.

HB 1334 also known as “Magna Carta for Environment and Natural Resources Personnel” aims to promote and improve the health, physical safety, social and economic well-being of the environment and natural resources personnel, their living and working conditions, security and terms of employment; to develop their skills and capabilities in order that they will be more responsive and better equipped to deliver environmental management functions and sustainable development of natural resources in their attainment of projects and programs; and to encourage those with proper qualifications and excellent abilities to join, contribute their expertise and remain in government service and in the country.

“Section 16, Article II of the Constitution laid down the framework for the protection and advancement/promotion of the people’s right to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. The right to a clean environment is recognized as a human right in the country, it being a duty imposed upon the State and responsibility required of individuals,” Romero pointed out.

The lawmaker added that the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) personnel includes but is not limited to the personnel of the DENR, its Bureaus, Regional Offices and attached agencies, environmental units in the other government agencies; the ecological solid waste management and climate change adaptation and disaster risk management departments of the local government units; and units of other government agencies that are involved in environmental management, pollution prevention and rehabilitation works.

This includes forest rangers and park rangers that look after the forest and protected areas. However, their salary, is not as large as the area he is protecting where a forest ranger has jurisdiction over a very large forest area, around 5,000 to 10,000 hectares.

Romero is pushing for the immediate passage of HB1334 to encourage those with proper qualifications and excellent abilities to remain in government service and in the country to work together for a clean and healthy environment.