Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje described as “a step in the right direction” the joint efforts by the Philippines and France to raise global awareness on the urgent need to take bold action against climate change and address its impacts.


In his two-day visit to the country, French President Francois Hollande launched with President Benigno Aquino III the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change and urged other nations to act now to stop the devastating effects of climate change.


“We welcome the Manila Call to Action on Climate Change as a step in the right direction. This initiative could set the tone for the Paris climate change conference set for December this year,” Paje said.


France will host the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or COP 21 in which countries will try to reach and sign a new international climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol.


Paje, chairman of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change, meanwhile, told a forum that the Philippines recognizes the urgency of responding to climate change and has moved to improve its defenses and resilience to the global phenomenon.


He said Filipinos have refused to become complacent in the face of extreme weather events and changing climate.


“While we accept the increasing intensity of typhoons as the new normal, we refuse to be complacent. We act because we suffer the worst and we truly know the urgency of action on climate imbalance,” Paje said during a climate change forum organized by the French Embassy at the National Museum on Thursday.


The environment chief said that for a country that experiences an average of 21 storms and typhoons every year, the Philippines is more than ever vulnerable to the impacts of climate change with rising sea levels and increasing frequency of tropical cyclones.


Paje said the cost of damage in infrastructure and agriculture alone to typhoons and natural disasters in the country from 2001 to 2013 amounts to about P265 billion, and the number of individuals who had to rebuild their lives is also staggering.


He noted that for Supertyphoon Yolanda alone, more than 1.4 million families were seriously affected, with about 7,000 casualties.


In response to the country’s vulnerability to climate change impacts, Paje cited the various efforts undertaken by government to improve its natural defenses and resiliency.


Paje said the country has launched massive watershed rehabilitation efforts and banned logging in all natural forest nationwide, and completed the national geohazards assessment and mapping that significantly improved the adaptive capacities of the flood- and landslide-prone communities.


All these programs are implemented in partnership with the local communities and civil society organizations, he pointed out.


He also thanked the French government for its commitment to support the country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, particularly the ongoing greenhouse gas inventory being implemented by the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change in partnership with the Ateneo de Manila University, the establishment of the Urban Planning Center at the University of the Philippines, and the existing Climate Change Academy at the Bicol University in Legazpi City, Albay.

Posted By: Lynne Pingoy



            No unaccredited employment agency will be allowed to operate in Quezon City .
            Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista has directed public employment services office (PESO) head Carlo Magno Abella to immediately implement the accreditation of all employment agencies in the city to combat the fastest growing trade of illegal recruitment or human trafficking.
            Bautista, who joined leaders from all seventeen local government units in the National Capital Region (NCR) in the fight against the so called modern-day slavery or human trafficking during a summit dubbed as “Breaking Free: End Modern-Day Slavery” at Tent Enderun, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, has vowed to lessen if not totally end the horrendous crime.
            The QC mayor said that the city will strengthen the role of the barangays in recruitment of work force by introducing skills development program for every individual. Through this manner, an employment agency which is looking for skilled workers would only request PESO to furnish them the list of those individuals from the city’s 142 barangays who possess the needed skill in the job opening, whether local or abroad.
            At the same time, the QC mayor has challenge human trafficking advocates to consider ASEAN integration by 2016 as threat to millions of Filipinos that might fall victim of human trafficking. The free flow of trade and services brought by ASEAN integration, he warned, will greatly affect all forms of slavery, it might worsen the problem particularly in terms of number, if we are caught unprepared.
            Around 21 million people around the world fall victim to human trafficking. In the Philippines alone, based on 2012 Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) report, there were 1,376 human trafficking victims. This figure does not include those in many unreported cases.
            Trafficking nowadays is considered next to drug dealing since it is growing faster generating an estimated profit of $32 billion.
            “QC will try our best to face the challenges of ASEAN integration particularly fight against human trafficking by 2016. We are making a stand to protect Filipinos of all ages against human trafficking,” the mayor said.

            He said that even in schools preparations are underway by integrating and developing skills of senior high school students to help them in their careers and the challenges in the future. 

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion



Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has lauded the record-breaking “TreeVolution: Greening MindaNow” as a big step forward in restoring Mindanao’s rapidly dwindling forest cover and fighting climate change.


“More than setting the now-confirmed world record, we will always consider TreeVolution as a big step taken by Mindanao residents themselves in re-greening their landscape to help mitigate climate change and protect themselves against its adverse impacts,” the environment chief said.


Records tally-keeper Guinness World Records has recently confirmed Mindanao, through the TreeVolution – a massive tree-planting activity held in various locations in the region in September last year – as the new title holder for the most number of trees planted within an hour.


Paje congratulated the DENR’s partner organizers, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) led by its chairman Lualhati Antonino , the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and those who actively participated for the success of the activity.


“We are hoping that this move will inspire others, as collaboration and unity among stakeholders is the key to address the adverse impacts of climate change,” he said.


He noted how in recent years Mindanao had been battered by strong typhoons and huge floods in what could only be attributed to climate change impacts, and said that the sheer number of trees planted under the TreeVolution program, if properly cared for to maturity, would benefit the people of Mindanao and the environment.


Paje cited the sequestration of carbon, which greatly contributes to global warming and climate change; recharging of aquifers; stabilization of the soil; food security; and livelihood creation as only some of the benefits that the project would bring to surrounding communities and the environment.


During the TreeVolution, more than 122,000 participants simultaneously planted 2.29 million seedlings, across 29 locations in Mindanao on September 26 last year, surpassing the previous record of 1.9 million trees planted by India in 2011.


Paje lauded the commitment of Mindanao’s local government units who contributed five hectares each for the planting sites, through a resolution passed by the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Municipal League Presidents of Mindanao or Confed-Mindanao.


He reiterated that the TreeVolution was in support of the government’s National Greening Program, which aims to cover 1.5 million hectares with trees by 2016.

Posted By: Lynne Pingoy


International balladeer David Pomeranz, the voice behind the hit songs “Got to Believe in Magic” and “King and Queen of Hearts,” will be at Quezon City Hall onFebruary 24 (Tuesday) for a post-Valentine concert.

The musical event, sponsored by the office of Mayor Herbert Bautista, shall serve as a special post-Valentine treat to city hall employees, including the barangays, public school teachers, firefighters, hospital staff, partner NGOs/POs, Gender and Development (GAD) focal persons, senior citizens, street sweepers, reservists, among others.

The QC government will be staging the concert for free, which will be held at the city hall compound starting at 5 p.m.

According to Dr. Ruby Palma, head of the QC Gender and Development Resource and Coordinating Office (GADRCO), the David Pomeranz concert will also serve as one of the city’s cultural activities for the celebration of the Arts Month this February and as a prelude to the celebration of Women’s Month in March.

The activity will also be in celebration of the city’s Diamond Jubilee, under Secretary to the Mayor Tadeo Palma.

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion



The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has signed a deal with the state-run Tarlac College of Agriculture (TCA) to train farmers in Central Luzon on proper management of agricultural waste, which is a major pollution hazard.


Undersecretary Jonas Leones, chief of the Environmental Management Bureau of DENR, said the deal was an important step towards addressing environmental problems associated with improper management of waste from farm operations.


“We need to train our farmers on how to properly manage agricultural waste in order to reduce risks to the environment, as well as human health,” Leones said.  Leones signed the agreement in behalf of DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje while TCA president Dr. Max Guillermo signed for the college.


Under the agreement, the TCA will put up Satellite Ecology Center within its campus in the town of Camiling, where the academic institution will develop and hold short-term training courses on ecological solid waste management (ESWM) for farmers.


The DENR, on the other hand, will provide TCA an initial fund of P300,000 to enable the school to develop training modules and perform other roles and responsibilities.


Aside from farmers, the TCA will also train government workers, teachers, agricultural technicians and junk shop owners on solid waste management.


Leones said the undertaking was expected to develop an “army of ESWM trainers,” who use existing technologies and innovations aimed at reducing waste in the agricultural sector.


The signing of the DENR-TCA deal was among the highlights of the 14th anniversary celebration of the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, held recently at the DENR central office in Quezon City.


RA 9003 defines agricultural wastes as those “generated from planting or harvesting of crops, trimming or pruning of plants and wastes or runoff materials from farms or fields.”


The most common agricultural wastes in the Philippines are rice husk, rice straw, coconut husk, coconut shell and bagasse.


Agriculture is a well known source of water, land and air pollution. The way agricultural wastes are stored and used has profound effects on human health and the environment.


Waste from farm operations can pollute the environment resulting in impacts to water quality.


In measured amounts, farm waste acts as fertilizer. But if the amounts are excessive, bacteria and chemical can flow into the ground and contaminate water drinking sources.


Burning of farm waste causes severe pollution of land, air and water. The smoke from agricultural burning contains toxic pollutants that are dangerous to human health.

Posted By: Lynne Pingoy


There are plans for a nationwide adoption of Camp Pag-ibig, the Quezon City government-led multi-sectoral effort of providing children with special needs the opportunities to integrate and socialize into the mainstream of society.

QC Congressman Jorge “Bolet” Banal said that if plans do not miscarry, Camp Pag-ibig will be launched simultaneously in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao in February next year in time for the celebration of the 40th year of anniversary of the yearly day camp.

Already, Congressman Banal has requested the organizers of Camp Pag-ibig in Metro Manila, including the QC government, Department of Education – National Capital Region, Manila Water and Capitol Jaycees, to coordinate closely with their counterparts and corporate partners in Cebu in the Visayas region and Davao area in Mindanao, to ensure the nationwide adoption of the program by next year.

“Hopefully, the plan will materialize,” said Congressman Banal, who also sits as overall camp director of the annual Camp Pag-ibig hosted by the QC government.

While Camp Pag-ibig was launched in 1976, it was only in 1979 that the city government began hosting the activity.

Every year since 1976, children with physical and mental disabilities gather together for Camp Pag-ibig, a Valentine’s Day celebration, to spread the gift of love to children with special needs.

This year, camp organizers are exerting all efforts to make the 39th Camp Pag-ibig onFebruary 15 at the Balara Filter Plant grounds more meaningful not only to the participants, but also to the parents as well.

Camp organizers are expecting about 2,000 participants this year, to represent the 17 school divisions in the NCR. All special education schools in NCR will be represented inSunday’s activity. The schools division of Antipolo City is also an active participant to Camp Pag-ibig.

To date, Mayor Herbert has already ordered key departments and offices of the city government to coordinate efforts to ensure the success of this year’s camp.  Chief among which are the social services development department, public affairs and information services office, department of public order and safety and the parks development and administration department.

Aside from Congressman Banal, Camp Pag-ibig organizers also include former QC Councilor Jorge Banal, Sr. and Dr. Teresita Inciong, who are both representing the Philippine Association for Intellectual Disability, Inc. (PAFID).

Also actively involved in the preparations are representatives of the JCI-QC Capitol, Manila Water Company, DepEd-NCR, QC Division of City Schools and St. Catherine SPL Learning Center.

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion


Support for the families of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) officers who died in the   January 25 Mamasapano clash, continues to snowball.

On Thursday, the Quezon City Council, led by presiding officer Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, extended support to the bereaved families at the SAF headquarters at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, by way of a council resolution expressing commendation for the 44 fallen SAF officers for their courage and dedication displayed during the Mamasapano clash.

Melanie L. Duque, widow of PO3 Andres V. Duque Jr., personally received a copy of the resolution commending her husband.

Aside from the resolution, Duque also received financial assistance from the QC Council.

According to Vice Mayor Belmonte, the financial assistance is sourced from their personal funds.  “Hindi man po kalakihan ang tulong na ipinaabot namin sa inyo, maipagmamalaki naman po namin na ito ay galing sa aming mga puso,” said the vice mayor.

In her remarks, Vice Mayor Belmonte assured the bereaved families that Quezon City will be supportive to their quest for truth and justice.  “Kaisa ninyo po ang Lungsod Quezon sa paghahanap ng mga sagot sa mga tanong na nagpapabigat sa inyong mga damdamin”.

P/SSupt. Amando Clifton Empiso, acting chief for the Directorial Staff of the Special Action Force, received on behalf of the other bereaved families the assistance extended by the QC Council.

“We would like to thank the QC Council for reaching out to the families of fallen officers.  The outpouring of support continues to inspire us to move on,” Empiso said.

With Vice Mayor Belmonte during the occasion were Councilors Jesus Manuel Suntay, Godofredo Liban II, Anthony Peter Crisologo, Vincent Belmonte, Anjo Yllana, Bayani Hipol, Eufemio Lagumbay, Candy Medina, Roderick Paulate, Raquel Malangen and Estrella Valmocina.


Posted By: Edrillan Pasion