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PIA Press Release

PGMA seeks implementation of Green Philippines Environmental Plan

Manila (24 April) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reiterated today the importance of implementing the Green Philippines Environmental Plan (GPEP) to stem the adverse effects of environmental pollution as the country moves to achieve a First World status in 20 years.

Keynoting the 2007 Earth Day celebration in Malacañang this morning, the President said achieving this goal of joining the ranks of First World countries should be done not "at the backs of the poor nor at the expense of the environment."

"No nation can aspire to become modern without thinking of our environment," she stressed.

According to the President, the scope of the GPEP is four-fold: 1) reforestation; 2) preservation of reefs and waterways; 3) scrubbing the land and air of pollutants that danger the health of citizens; and 4) energy independence.

On reforestation, she underscored the importance of "replenishing fallen trees with new protected forests to bring back the beauty of the Philippines we all love and want."

The President also mentioned her coming trip to New Zealand in May, where Wellington's continuing assistance in the Philippines' reforestation program will be discussed.

On the second phase of the GPEP, the President signed a proclamation establishing a critical habitat and eco-tourism area within the coastal lagoon of the cities of Las Piñas and Parañaque in Metro Manila and ensuring the maintenance of necessary ecological services from peripheral areas.

The President said her signing of the proclamation is in line with her fervent wish to "turn our coral reefs and beaches into national parks and international sanctuaries for eco-tourism and scientific research."

To achieve the third aim of the program, the President encouraged the "young and old alike to clean up our environment."

She lauded the non-government organizations (NGOs) and other private sector champions of the environment such as the environment advocacy groups, outstanding "clean and green" barangays, junk shop owners and eco-aide members for their invaluable help in keeping the environment and surroundings clean and trash-free.

On energy independence, the President cited the need to accelerate the development of alternatives to fossil fuels while implementing the government's energy efficiency and conservation program "through innovation, proper quality planning and united political and civic leadership."

She cited as an example the country's jump into the foray of alternative and renewable sources of energy such as biofuels through the use of ethanol and coco biodiesel.

"Our bio-fuels program will rely on investment and innovation to create jobs, skills and self-reliance while keeping our environment clean," the President said.

The President also designated the 22nd day of April of every year to be commemorated as Earth Day in the Philippines and directed the Department of Education "to incorporate subjects dealing with global warming and climate change into the public school science curriculum subjects."

"We want our young to be aware of global warming and other climate change phenomena," the President said.

Also during the same occasion, the President witnessed the signing of an Anti-Hunger Memorandum of Cooperation between the National Anti-Poverty Commission, the Luzon Urban Beltway, oil industry independent player Flying V and the Rotary International District 3800 to provide free meals and income-enhancement trainings to thousands of poor residents in Metro Manila.

Under the MoC, Flying V will allocate funds from its daily sales to feed in one month some 30,000 household-beneficiaries selected from 10 priority communities in the metropolis.

The 10 communities are Smokey Mountain, Parola, and Baseco in Manila, Payatas in Quezon City, Soldiers Retirement Housing in Taguig City, Bagong Silang in Caloocan City, and depressed areas in Pasay, Pasig, Navotas and Malabon cities. (OPS/PIA) [top]

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