Atienza names 'Spines' environment czar
By Danny O. Sagun
Lingayen, Pangasinan (6 August) -- Gov. Amado T. Espino was named Friday as Special Environment and Natural Resources Officer (SENRO), a powerful position he can use it to the hilt to solve the recurring environmental problems facing the province.
Espino took his oath before Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Joselito "Lito" Atienza, who came to Pangasinan to launch his regional "People's Hour" Program at the Pangasinan State University convention hall.
As SENRO, the governor is authorized to manage, conserve, protect and oversee all foreshore lands in the province with the power to enforce all pertinent local and national laws governing such lands, he can apprehend tools, equipment, structures and conveyances used in crimes against environmental laws.
Atienza directed his regional and provincial officers to always coordinate and work closely with the governor. A firm believer in autonomy and decentralization, he said he believed that local government officials can do more in the campaign to protect and conserve the environment and natural resources because of accountability to their constituents.
Atienza signed the DENR special order deputizing Espino in a simple ceremony at the new governor's office at the Capitol building. Espino, for his part, thanked the secretary for the trust given him even as he accepted the additional responsibility regarding it as another challenge.
He said he was not new to the job, recalling his involvement in the creation of the Lingayen Gulf Commission as well as the Agno River Commission during the time of former President Fidel V. Ramos. He was the provincial police director that time.
The DENR regional office will conduct orientation and briefing for the SENRO and his staff.
Observers said Espino's capability may now be tested as he would be facing problems long plaguing DENR-squatting on foreshore lands, pollution by factories, encroachments in riverbanks, illegal cutting of trees, mining concerns and many others. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]