The year 2012 marked our silver anniversary, a year of sparkles. It was indeed a banner year for our Department. Thanks to your hard work, undivided dedication and unwavering commitment that contributed to significant milestones and unprecedented honors:
- The SWS Sincerity Rating Against Corruption gave us a double upgrade by crossing over the consistently negative ratings of as low as -44 in 2005 to a modest +1, because of our vigorous campaign against inefficiency and corruption;
- Pulse Asia survey also gave us +60 in public approval for our efforts in stopping the abuse of the environment, earning for us a net approval rating of +49 from -12 in 2009; and
- The global Environmental Performance Index (EPI) of the Yale and Columbia Universities, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the European Commission, rated the Philippines as "Strong Environmental Performer", even outranking technologically advanced countries like South Korea, Australia, the USA, Singapore and Israel. We also surpassed our area targets in the National Greening Program (NGP) by reforesting some 329,732 hectares since 2011. This is complemented by our intensified operations against illegal logging, which significantly reduced the number of illegal logging hotspots nationwide from 197 to 31, and convicted 72 persons out of 546 cases filed. These are now the focus of the revitalized anti-illegal logging campaign under the leadership of the military this 2013.
Although, still polluted, our efforts in cleaning up the air in Metro Manila paid off with the reduction of TSP levels by 36% from 166 µg/Ncm in June 2010 to 106 µg/Ncm in September 2012. PM 10 levels also declined by 7% in September 2012. Likewise, under the Adopt-An-Estero/River Program, some 348 agreements have been forged with corporations and LGUs, for the cleaning up of about 207 water bodies, nationwide.
Finally, beginning 2011, we have continually cleared our ranks of erring employees, dismissing/penalizing 32 and filing charges against 34, while 176 remained under investigation. We encouraged transparency in our operations by posting all contracts and bidding results in our websites; promoting cashless transactions; and installing over 2,000 CCTV cameras in all our offices.
These were just among the highlights of a fulfilling 2012! We thus stand rightly proud of what we have together achieved, which we, in great honors, also dedicate to the environmental heroes who gave up their precious lives for the protection of our environment.
As we embark on the year 2013, let us continue to better our best and avoid backsliding to afford our institution, the DENR, the needed impetus to sustain its momentum in facing the growing challenges in the years ahead.
On this note and on behalf of President Benigno S. Aquino III, thank you once more for your commendable contributions.
Mabuhay tayong lahat!