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We Support the Confirmation of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez

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We, the Filipino People fully support the confirmation of Secretary Gina Lopez as Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) :

WHEREAS, history will show us that wars and conflicts were waged due to food and water insufficiency resulting to extreme poverty like in the case of Syria where the worst drought in at least 900 years triggered the catastrophic Syrian Civil War, with almost half a million killed and resulting to the largest human migration in history;

WHEREAS, the Philippines has the second-lowest forest cover in Southeast Asia at 24% of the total land area (only 7.2 M has. out of the original 30 million has.remain) . While the country’s biodiversity is considered one of the richest worldwide and our corral reefs one of the most extensive in the world (only 2% in excellent condition), they are also  among the most threatened;

WHEREAS,  studies show that  "such environmental deterioration had resulted in a degraded ecosystem, poor health, scarcity in natural resources, poverty, unmitigated flooding, as well as death and destruction with the onset of climate change."

WHEREAS, studies show that "the Philippines is ranked highest in the world for its vulnerability to tropical cyclones, and third in the world in terms of exposure to floods and droughts." Given the threats of climate change and the role watersheds play in mitigating the impacts of floods and droughts, it is a must that our remaining forests must be conserved and protected;

WHEREAS,  studies show that "The Philippines hosts thousands of species that can be found nowhere else on Earth, among them some of the world’s most unique creatures--- the Philippine Eagle, one of the rarest eagles in the world ; the Philippine mouse deer, the world’s smallest hoofed mammal; the Palawan peacock pheasant, considered to be the most beautiful of the peacock species; the whale shark or butanding, the world’s largest fish and the smallest primate, the Philippine tarsier. 52,177 described species of which more than half are found nowhere else in the world : (a) 5TH in the world in number of plant species--- (13,500 species of plants, which represent 5% of the world’s flora, 9,000 species of flowering plants, (b) 8th in the world list of endemic plants--- 25 genera of the plants are endemic to the country, 1,137 endemic species of amphibians, birds and mammals (c) 4th in bird endemism---576 species of birds recorded in the country, of which 257 are endemic, (d) 5th in mammal endemism--- 188 species of mammals, of which 111 are endemic (can only be found within a particular area or region) (e) 8th in endemic reptiles--- 290 species of reptiles, of which 224 are endemic (f) 109 amphibians recognized, of which 88 are endemic (g) 20,940 species of insects with 70% unique to the Philippines, (h) 928 total species of terrestrial vertebrate fauna wherein 529 are endemic to the Philippines (i) 10,000-15,000 species of plants wherein 30-40% are said to be endemic to the country;"

WHEREAS, studies show that "The Philippines is strategically located within the Coral Triangle, the global epicenter of marine life abundance and diversity --- with 76% of all known coral species, 37% of all known coral reefs, 33% of the world’s coral reefs, the greatest extent of mangrove forest in the world, and spawning and juvenile growth areas for the world’s largest tuna fisheries.";

WHEREAS, in addition, 227 endemic species of flowering plants are listed in the "Red List" of "critically endangered" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the DENR's own "Red List" of threatened, endangered or vulnerable fauna includes 215 species of birds, 96 mammals, and five reptiles, with 592 with endemic species of amphibians, birds and mammals considered "threatened or endangered";

WHEREAS, scientific studies show that the primary threat to biological diversity in the hotspots are “habitat alteration and loss caused by destructive resource use, development-related activities and human population pressure. These include mining, logging and land conversion for industrial, agricultural and urban development;"

WHEREAS, water is a basic necessity to human life. Watersheds play a critical "role as water support systems for both upstream and downstream communities, where they are used for domestic water supply, irrigation, and can be tapped for it's hydro-electric power potential. Perpetual supply of potable water supply and food security are also threatened if our forests are not protected and conserved ;"

WHEREAS, food and water scarcity becomes a national security issue once  laws and government continue to allow the degradation of the environment;

WHEREAS, in her stint as Secretary of the DENR, Gina Lopez has shown that she has the capability and capacity to objectively perform duties inherent to the position, adhering to the highest values of transparency and accountability to the people, upholding only the common good and ensuring that the rights of the Filipino people to a healthful and balanced ecology as enshrined in the Philippine Constitution are respected, protected and upheld. Such courage to fight for the common good is unsurpassed. The country, the Filipino people and the generations yet unborn are set to benefit from her continued and faithful service.

WHEREFORE, we the Filipino People ask the Honorable Members of the Commission on Appointments to the confirm the appointment of Gina Lopez to officially serve as Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR);

FURTHER for all  Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), Critical Priority Areas (CPAs), Important Bird Areas (IBAs), critical watersheds, wildlife and fish habitats in the Philippines be immediately declared as Protected Areas by the President of the Republic of the Philippines and legislation be passed for their protection for posterity.

 



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