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DENR clueless on carbon footprint in Bicol

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY – The government agency tasked to monitor the state of environment in Bicol is clueless about carbon footprint contribution in the atmosphere here.

Lawyer Antonio A. Abawag, DENR officer-in-charge executive regional director, admitted that his office has no study and data yet about the region’s greenhouse gas contribution and pollution impact situation here.

In a press briefing held yesterday through Ugnayang Pangkapaligiran at Hamada Hall of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office here, Abawag told Bicol Mail that his office has yet to conduct a greenhouse gasses inventory or study to know the state of environment in the region.

“We are not expert yet [on the matter] and need to conduct greenhouse inventory although we presently have fair forest cover at the rate of 15 to 18 percent [out of the total land area],” Abawag said.

According to him, of the six provinces in Bicol, the provinces of Sorsogon and Catanduanes have good forest covers compared to Masbate.

“Bicol is not yet degraded compared to other regions in the country. In fact, we posted an increasing forest cover although Mindanao remains to be the most thickly forested,” he said.

Imelda Baltazar, chief of Albay provincial environment and natural resources office (Penro) told reporters during the press briefing that the increasing forest cover in Bicol is being supported by Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda of the 2nd district of Albay by providing funds to employ more forest rangers and guardians of the sea.

Baltazar disclosed that her office has hired at least 50 forest rangers and bantay dagat to watch over the land and the seas and go after poachers and illegal loggers.

“This is not to praise Congressman Joey Salceda but he is the only legislator who helped us out to provide funds to hire more forest rangers and bantay dagat that contributed to protected forest cover and sea lanes,” she said.

The DENR press briefing is coincided with the ongoing 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland wherein the Philippines is one of the 196 countries pushing and working for finalization of Parish Agreement on climate change.

The Paris Agreement was forged and ratified in 2015 in Paris, France in a bid to strengthen national commitments to the Paris Agreement by 2020, and to discuss investments in solutions that empower countries to cut emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

At least five major reports have examined the current and future impacts of climate change on economies, health, and global progress.

The 2015 Global Climate Risk index put the Philippines on top of the list of 186 countries most affected by climate change.

This 2018, the Philippines joined 196 countries for a two-week climate change conference in Katowice, Poland to adopt the implementing guidelines of the 2015 Paris Agreement that bound participating governments to help climate-vulnerable nations adapt to climate change impacts and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Philippines has succeeded in championing climate justice and other fundamental principles in the talks. We continue to enjoin developed countries to improve their mitigation targets, mobilize climate finance and accelerate its flow, as well as the development and transfer of technology,” Emmanuel De Guzman, head of the Philippine delegation to the Katowice talks, said.

The climate talks, according to him, is an opportunity for the Philippines to show leadership and momentum on global climate action and to ensure the completion of the implementation guidelines of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change that addressed the priorities, needs and attainment of sustainable development for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries.

The Philippines is highly regarded in the negotiation process at the climate talks as a leader of developing countries, he said.

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