DENR Supports LGU-IP Sustainable Development Initiatives; (Speech of Honorable Secretary ANGELO T. REYES, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Conference on LGU-Indigenous Peoples Development Planning on January 24, 2007 at Malate, Manila)

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Byline: SECRETARY ANGELO T. REYES

IT is with great honor to be invited to this conference which brings together two of the important sectors of our society that play a major role in the management of our environment and natural resources.

The local government units have long been the DENR's partners in ensuring that future Filipinos will continue to enjoy a livable environment and continuously benefit from the country's natural resources. This has been strengthened through the DENR-DILG-LGU Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2003-01. It provides for the strengthening and institutionalization of DENR-DILG-LGU partnership on devolved and other forest management functions. To date, many municipal watersheds are now being co-managed by local government units.

For the indigenous peoples, we are proud to state that the pioneering work of the DENR from 1986 to 1997 helped lay the foundation of Republic Act No. 8371, also known as the indigenous peoples rights act. Taking the cudgels for the indigenous peoples as their flagship champion under the then Social Reform Agenda was by no means an easy task considering the legal and technical implications on the issue of recognition of ancestral lands and domains. Through a strong partnership between the DENR, indigenous peoples sector, supportive legislators, other government agencies, and non-government organizations, the passage of the IPRA was finally realized in 1997.

All over the world, the dependence on environment and natural resources for individual survival and national development has become more pronounced than ever. This has led to the rapid depletion of our natural resources and the ever-increasing negative impact on the environment. Thus, the need to protect our environment and nurture our natural resources is no longer an empty call as we are now reaching the tipping point where our planet is no longer capable of repairing itself.

The key to ensure our planet to continue on being able to repair itself is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This is the essence of sustainable development which is now the rallying call of all peoples in the four corners of the world. We consider the partnership with local government units and indigenous peoples as an important element in achieving this global objective.

In pursuit of sustainable development, we have adopted a 12-Point Agenda which are classified into four (4) broad categories namely:

I. Protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources;

II. Sustainable exploration and development of the country's natural wealth;

III. Promotion of social equity and protection of communities; and

IV. Good and green governance

Under Category I, Agenda 4 calls for a vigorous forest development in watersheds, protected areas, and other upland areas.

Under Category III, Agenda 10 calls for social mobilization to ensure that communities are involved in the protection of the environment.

Category IV has only one agenda, agenda 12 which calls for the promotion of transparency, efficiency, and accountability in the conduct of our work.

We believe that the 12-Point Agenda that we have adopted can not be fully achieved without the involvement of local government units and communities especially the indigenous peoples.

Today's conference is about LGU-IP development planning. This basically involves ensuring that environmental concerns are integrated in the resource management objectives of local governments and the indigenous peoples communities. …