DENR's Paje, MMDA's Tolentino and Paper Drivers' Licenses

Article excerpt

"Thoughts on a Stormy Day -Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark-1. Don't miss the boat.2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.3. Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.4. Stay fit. When you're 60 years old,someone may ask you to do something really big!5. Don't listen to critics. Just do the job.6. Build your future on high ground7. For safety's sake, travel in pairs.8. Speed isn't always an advantage.The snails were on board the ark with the cheetahs.9. When you're stressed, float awhile.10. Remember, the ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals11. No matter the storm, when you are with God,there's always a rainbow waiting!" From Leslie MasiganIf the flood waters in traditionally-flooded areas in Metro Manila receded much faster this past days, credit that to diligent efforts by the MMDA and local government units to de-clog esteros and other waterways.We must also laud P-Noy's effective turn-around of the services and the weather-reportage of Pagasa through wise use of its resources and an energized staff! They issued hourly accurate bulletins and used all their resources to the max!There will be more strong typhoons before this year bows out, Pagasa also predicts, but hopefully not as super-strong as Juan. Metro Manila was spared but Northern Luzon was not. However, because of the readiness of the LGUs to respond to the expected effects of Juan, based again on Pagasa's accurate forecasts, casualties were minimized. But, agri crops and property took a heavy toll. The people in the devastated areas in Zambales, Isabela, Ilocos region need help, so please, let's help them in cash or in kind!MMDA chair, the bachelor-lawyer and ex-mayor of Tagaytay city, Francis Tolentino showed the BulongPulungan forum at Sofitel, the agency's comprehensive program on flood control. Perennially - flooded areas were highlighted and detailed solutions were presented, principally on the continuous de-clogging of waterways and transfer of casual settlers on esteros and riverbanks. Francis also discussed other festering problems on flooding including the Laguna de Bay pollution and encroachment of subdivisions, LGU units around the lake, etc. It helps that Tolentino is an environmentalist and trained in urban development. The "new MMDA" will use "civil will" and not rely on the "political will" that hard-driving Bayani Fernando became known for. He has the unanimous cooperation of the MM mayors whom he meets regularly, alternating their venues in different "turfs."The consensus of the mayors and strong public opposition to the return of the "odd-even" scheme on EDSA doomed the proposal, Francis acknowledged. There will be more attention to "pocket gardens" in open public areas which will be maintained, a more rigorous re-training of traffic enforcers and the rescue teams composed of MMDA personnel, and volunteers will be on full alert in the coming weeks. He added that the LGUs, in tandem with the agency, has began making wooden boats to be used in times of floods and their rescue equipment to include more rubber boats. The next big battle, he told the Bulong audience, will be with the unregulated giant billboards all over the metropolis. MMDA alerted the billboard owners to roll up their tarpaulins and this spared the public from possible harm caused by the topping of the steel structures holding up the advertising messages. Francis is of the opinion and we agree, that there must be a stop to oversized, distracting billboards mushrooming just anywhere! He likes to interact with the stake holders in Metro Manila, so feel free to give him your opinions, whenever and wherever!Another young public servant is DENR Secretary Ramon Paje. Barely 50 years old, the career forester from UP Los Banos is a fresh wind in the Aquino Cabinet. Personable, knowlegeable( with a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UP and a Certificate on Environmental Economics and Policy Analysis from Harvard University) and highly motivated , this TOYM awardee, describes the first 100 days of P-Noy as having encouraged a high level of environmental consciousness among the people, NGOs and government agencies and local government units. …