“The newly-appointed Environment Secretary must give emphasis on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in crafting and implementing programs and policies of the agency, taking into account both structural and nonstructural measures. She must also undertake a review of the previous administration’s infrastructure projects.” This is what Jonallin Yang, Secretary-General of scientist group AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, said after President Bongbong Marcos appointed Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga as the new head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Loyzaga-Yulo is an expert on climate disaster resilience and previously served at the helm of the Manila Observatory as its executive director. “Given her expertise on climate disaster resilience, we expect that she will put climate change and disaster risk reduction front and center of government policymaking, as these cut across all sectors – from food and agriculture, to mining, tourism, transportation, and even manufacturing ,” added Yang. “The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, which further drives disaster risks. And yet, the past administration has done nothing but approve environmentally destructive projects, such as reclamation and mega dams. Former President Duterte has also lifted the ban on new mining agreements as well as open pit mining. Such acts by the previous administration have further placed already vulnerable communities into more perilous situations.”

“AGHAM expects that the new DENR Secretary would implement scientific programs in conserving the environment and reducing our vulnerability to the climate crisis. We do not want a repeat of the previous administration’s blunders, like in the case of the dolomite beach fiasco, which scientists claimed had nothing to do with improving the water quality of Manila Bay. We expect DENR to forward the interest of the people and the welfare of the environment before profit,” ended Yang. ###


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