April 29, 2009 05:46 PM Wednesday [ journal.com.ph ]
By: Cory Martinez
“WE will have the Filipinos singing ‘Tayo na sa Antipolo’ in no time,” said Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza as the DENR and the Antipolo City government renew and strengthen their alliance in undertaking efforts for the proper maintenance, management, re-development and restoration of the Hinulugang Taktak National Park (HTNP).
Secretary Atienza and Antipolo City Mayor Danilo Leyble formally signed recently a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that entails the cooperation of both parties in managing the park, not only for recreation purposes but as a protected panorama of flora and fauna.
“Hinulugang Taktak is a symbol of the Philippines’ richness in natural resources. It has even been declared as a national park in 1990 through Republic Act 6964, but its once pristine falls has lost its grandeur due to pollution from the dumping of wastes from the city’s residential, industrial and commercial areas,” Atienza said.
Atienza said the MOA will pave the way for the government’s sustained environmental efforts that are anchored on the promotion of biodiversity conservation and effective solid waste management.
The DENR chief cited planting bamboo along HTNP’s tributaries as among possible activities to help save the park. Local officials concerned must also implement sound waste management there, he continued.
“We are doing all these in pursuance to Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act because proper waste disposal should protect not only the environment but also our water bodies,” the DENR chief said.
“If all of our 1,680 LGUs nationwide, all barangay leaders and all communities will do their share in the proper disposal of waste, then we will have no problem with garbage in Hinulugang Taktak, even in the whole country,” Atienza said.
He also added that no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the full implementation of RA 9003, particularly at the local government level. In fact, according to him, the President devotes every Friday to inspect projects and activities of LGUs, including those of non-government agencies, relative to solid waste management.
Last Friday, Pres. Arroyo made a surprise visit to the DENR to inspect the department’s materials recovery facility and sewerage treatment plant.
Under the agreement, the DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau and the city government will be co-managing the national park and formulate a management plan to rehabilitate it through the active participation of concerned barangays, non-governmental organizations and other government agencies, such as the Department of Tourism.
The city government of Antipolo will be in-charge of undertaking and overseeing the development of the park, in accordance with DENR’s management plan, including the allocation of funding for its operations and a massive information campaign on solid waste management and biodiversity conservation within the city and its neighboring municipalities and communities.