Sec. Gina Lopez bares her agency’s plans for protected areasEnvironment Secretary Gina Lopez has directed protected area (PA) managers in the country to ensure that local communities are involved in all aspects of management of conservation areas known for their natural, ecological and cultural values.
Lopez gave her marching orders during a conference of members of Protected Area Management Boards (PAMBs) in Region 4-A or Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) held in Quezon City recently.
“We will involve the people. We cannot help save the environment if we don’t partner with the people who live there,” Lopez said during the 5th Regional PAMB Summit of Region 4-A attended by around 200 PAMB heads and members.
The environment chief also reminded the PA managers about the commitment of the Department of Environment Sec. Gina Lopez bares her agency’s plans for protected areas and Natural Resources (DENR) to social justice by making sure that “the resources of an area are enjoyed by its people.”
“Your performance indicator is the quality of life of the people there. I want them to live well. I want them to earn,” Lopez told summit participants.
She also bared a plan for a joint venture between the communities and the DENR, through its corporate arm, the Natural Resources Development Corporation or NRDC, to provide livelihood opportunities to people in PA communities.
Lopez said she wants the DENR to act as a “benevolent entrepreneur” that will help people within and around PAs utilize their resources and improve their lives.
There are more than 200 PAs across the country, ranging from large natural parks, landscapes and seascapes to wildlife and marine life sanctuaries. Seventeen of these conservation areas are located in the Calabarzon. (Excerpted from www.denr.gov.ph)