Message of Senator Loren Legarda: 2024 Philippine Environment Month Culminating Activity with DENR Partners and Stakeholders

June 30, 2024

My warmest greetings to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the culmination of the 2024 Philippine Environment Month. Multiple sectors are gathered here tonight united by our shared advocacy of environment protection and natural resources conservation.

Even tenured communities in our public lands, those entirely dependent on natural wealth, and those living among our threatened wildlife must have their voices heard and be represented. Allow me to liken these sectors to a rainforest floor, teeming with life but with plants competing for sunlight, water, and soil nutrients. While there is competition, there definitely is sharing. And more importantly, there are niches.

Introducing an invasive species can severely impact the whole ecosystem. We call on the sector here with the greatest potential for both harm and positive change – the private sector. You can be the guiding force in our economy, embracing natural capital accounting, and adopting business practices that enhance rather than exploit natural ecosystems. The academe will provide the strategic insights needed for success, while the role of the government remains crucial. Effective legislation and implementation will improve our stewardship of the planet.

Throughout my years in Congress, I have led the passage of numerous environmental laws to preserve our biodiversity, such as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001, the Expanded NIPAS of 2018, and the Climate Change Act of 2009. Most recently, in the 19th Congress, I principally authored and sponsored the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) law, which is crucial for the inclusion of the value of our finite natural resources into our national accounting system, contributing to more informed environmental management decisions.

Partnerships among all these sectors are flexible and focused, amplifying impact, and increasing knowledge sharing and testing. When partnerships succeed, whether through the removal of species from the threatened species list, the rehabilitation of hectares of land, or schools adopting zero waste and edible schoolyards, we should celebrate these achievements. I look forward to addressing more of these successes with all of you in the future.

Thank you at isang luntiang Pilipinas sa lahat.