Science and Environment

LGUs laud sustainable dev't project

LGUs laud sustainable dev't project
Logo of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources

MANILA, Philippines — Several local government units (LGUs) nationwide are commending the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) flagship program, Project TRANSFORM (Transdisciplinary Approach for Resilience and Environmental Sustainability through Multistakeholder Engagement), a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to empower communities to combat climate change and achieve sustainable development.

Project TRANSFORM has been launched in Ormoc City in Leyte; Malimono, San Francisco and Burgos in Surigao del Norte; and Limay, Mariveles; and Orion in Bataan, Rizal province and Quezon City.

Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez, whose city serves as a pilot site for the project, emphasized the program's effectiveness. Having personally experienced the devastation caused by typhoons and floods, Torres-Gomez has made climate change a top priority for her administration. 

According to her, Project TRANSFORM expands on previous efforts and provides the city with useful resources like training on disaster management, greenhouse gas accounting and biodiversity profiling.

“The ultimate gratification," said Torres-Gomez, "is not only seeing the environmental, social and economic improvement in the lives of our constituents, but being recognized by the DENR as a successful case study for LGU-based climate action that can be replicated across the nation.”

For her part, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte expresses a similar view, thanking the national government for recognizing their environmental initiatives.

“Through the implementation of Project TRANSFORM in QC, we look forward to developing and enacting more green, sustainable and inclusive climate initiatives for QCitizens," she said.

This sentiment of appreciation and commitment is further reinforced by Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II, emphasizing the project's goal of improving disaster preparedness, achieving sustainable development, and mitigating the consequences of climate change through strong public-private cooperation.

Project TRANSFORM's pilot testing areas include towns like Del Carmen, Burgos, Malimono and San Francisco, which were severely damaged by super typhoon "Odette," demonstrating how important the project is in helping communities who are at risk.

Meanwhile, Rep. Albert Garcia of Bataan emphasizes the importance of continuing to nurture communities and promote sustainable practices through initiatives such as Project TRANSFORM. He drew attention to how public-private partnerships have the ability to develop sustainable energy sources, promoting both economic expansion and environmental responsibility.

Garcia also urged stakeholders to continue on the path toward creating a sustainable community through programs such as Project TRANSFORM, which brings together national and local governments, the corporate sector, and communities to solve environmental issues.

For her part, Rizal Governor Nina Ynares underscored the transformative impact of Project TRANSFORM on communities, saying, "It would help us based on the transformation of our communities into a more resilient and sustainable home, where our children, our future, and our dreams can be nourished and nurtured.”

Ynares sees the project as a paradigm for nationwide change, encouraging sustainable practices and community involvement.

She pointed out that the province's continuous recognition as the most competitive province in the country is proof of its dedication to sustainable development, and Rizal's involvement in the program is a reflection of that.

“Project TRANSFORM is one concrete application of how local governments may move together and continuous consultation with the DENR and all the stakeholders in government and in the private sector as well as academia,” Environment Secretary Mari Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said.

This project exemplifies DENR's support for a comprehensive strategy that involves multiple sectors working together toward common objectives and is supported by data.

The project's scope is broad, including land, air and sea domains. The DENR chief highlighted the innovative inventory of public lands, which serves as a model for natural capital asset accounting systems. 

The visions of DENR go beyond safeguarding the environment to include empowerment and inclusivity. Yulo-Loyzaga underlined the necessity of acknowledging different needs, viewpoints, and contributions in society. "By fostering a culture of inclusivity, we can harness the untapped potential of marginalized communities, empower local enterprises, and build a more resilient and sustainable economy that benefits everyone," she said.

The importance of LGUs in building climate and catastrophe resilience was also pointed out by the DENR chief. “Local leadership is critical in making the resilience agenda work on the ground,” she explained, adding that the DENR is ready to assist LGUs with ridge-to-reef management, which includes forests, coastal areas, land use, solid waste and water management.

Barangays, the smallest administrative divisions, also play an important role in disaster risk reduction. 

Yulo-Loyzaga noted their significance, saying, "As the first line of defense, barangays also serve as the primary platform for outcomes in the vision of securing community resilience as stated in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan and the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change." Recognizing their contributions is critical to establishing resilient communities and accomplishing sustainable development objectives.

Sector-wide relationships are also essential to achieving DENR's objectives for sustainability and resilience. In light of this, Yulo-Loyzaga urged cooperation in the identification of high-priority areas, assess risks, and invest in effective environmental protection and disaster risk reduction initiatives.

With this, Yulo-Loyzaga called for collaborative efforts to identify high-priority areas, understand vulnerabilities, and invest in appropriate environmental protection and disaster risk reduction strategies. "This is only the beginning and by working together, we can truly make a lasting impact on our communities," she urged.
Project TRANSFORM directly aligns with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s directive on climate change and sustainable development. In his 2023 State of the Nation Address, Marcos highlighted the urgent need for climate action and collaboration in the country.

“The building blocks of progressive, livable and sustainable communities will never be complete without appropriate and responsible action to mitigate and to adapt to the effects of climate change,” he said. 

Marcos also stressed how economic agenda and climate change objectives may coexist, adding, “The economic agenda cannot and will not ever be incompatible with our climate change agenda.”


Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Philstar.com.

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