New DENR chief vows to fight climate emergency, protect PH’s indigenous species

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Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ma. Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga on Thursday, July 21, vowed to protect indigenous species and respond to climate emergency.

DENR Secretary Ma. Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga (DENR PHOTO)

“e need to combat the climate emergency through practical climate change adaptation measures, the use of science to approach national scale as well as local scale impacts of climate change,” she said in her speech during a turn-over ceremony at the DENR main office in Quezon City.

Loyzaga noted that people are currently living in a multi-hazard environment.

“Not just from natural hazards but from industrial as well as what we call natural technological hazards. The compounding of these hazards has led o the development of systemic risks and threats to our entire economic and social system,” she added.

Loyzaga stressed that it is important to continuously “protect our indigenous species as part of our natural heritage and at the same time harness these resources for the benefit of our country.”

“ On that note, I wish to enjoin all of you to please join us on this new course and mission. And I hope for your collaboration. Please my office is open, please feel free to come in and share your thoughts and possibly concerns as well,” said Loyzaga.

Emphasizing the crucial role of the DENR in accounting for the natural resources of the country, she said “accounting will need, in fact, to take place very, very soon as we make plans for the new administration’s agenda moving forward.”

She noted that the accounting of natural resources under her administration will involve the use of science and technology, as well as the use of financial management and economics.

“And that means we will have to work across the different departments to achieve that foundation.”

Building resilient communities

Loyzaga said she wants to build resilient communities along with other government agencies through risk-sensitive and balanced development of resources “along what we call the natural rural urban transect.”

“These resources are part of our patrimony; we need to treasure them, and need to measure what we value,” she said.

According to her, she also wants to work with local governments of cities, saying they are the engines of growth but they depend largely on the ecosystems that support them.

On July 12, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. nominated Loyzaga as chief of the DENR.

Loyzaga was the chairperson of the International Advisory Board of the Manila Observatory where she advocated for more scientific research on climate and disaster resilience.

For nine years, she served as the executive director of the MO and technical adviser of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.

Loyzaga is a member of the Senior Advisory Board of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Command and General Staff College.

DENR secretaries are tasked to uphold the agency’s mandate that aims for the conservation, management, development, and sustainable use of the country’s ecosystems and natural resources.