February 8, 2018

BUTUAN CITY – Secretary Roy A. Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) hasrd turnoverinstalled Atty. Felix Sagomez Alicer as the new Regional Director of the DENR Regional Office 13, (Caraga) on February 8, 2018 with a tall order to solve the issues on mining, timber poaching and the rehabilitation of the Taguibo Watershed in Butuan City which is the source of potable water of the residents.

“This is your marching order. The Taguibo Watershed must be planted with rich endemic species to improve the supply of water” Secretary Cimatu told the incoming Regional Director in his remarks at a ceremony held at the DENR 13 Learning Center in Barangay Ambago, Butuan City.

RD Alicer replaced OIC, Regional Director Charlie E. Fabre who is now assigned as the PENRO of Negros Oriental province based in Dumaguete City.   

It was a moment of surprise for both officials who until the day of the turn-over have remained blind of their new assignments.  Out-going Director Fabre had   been requesting the top management to put him back to his old unit at the PENR Office   in Dumaguete City to be close with his family. Secretary Cimatu approved his request and signed the Special Order at the DENR Regional Office ordering him to report as PENRO of Negros Oriental.

“I am very happy with my new assignment”, Fabre said.

“I am leaving Caraga Region whose personnel and staff I have learned to love and enjoy working with” he added.

On the other hand, the incoming Regional Director said he would “try to sustain if not surpass the accomplishment of his predecessor”. “I am not expecting the personnel to love me but I will try to teach them to love me so that together we can move in harmony and accomplish the tasks ahead of us” he said.

His message drew applause and approval from the audience. Even Secretary Cimatu was awed by Alicer’s remarks calling him “a versatile speaker” at the middle of his remarks before the DENR personnel.

Secretary Cimatu admitted the DENR is “weak in enforcement of environmental laws”. “We have the forestry and mining laws in place” he said.  “We have the Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Management, laws on pollution, laws on biodiversity but these existing laws need  to be enforced and strengthened to protect our environment and natural resources” Secretary Cimatu said.

He specifically reminded the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers (CENRO) in the region to do their job. “Our performance will depend on you. If you fail, we all fail” Secretary Cimatu said to the CENRO officers who were standing while he was delivering the last part of his message. “I would rely more on the CENRO to carry on the tasks” he said. “You are at the frontline, you are the ones who win the battle” he said.

Secretary Cimatu said that he would strengthen the working force of the CENRO by deploying more personnel and hiring more lawyers to assist the field offices in the enforcement of environmental laws.

The DENR Secretary said he wants to professionalize the career paths of the potential leaders who want to become CENR officers but should undergo one month rigid training at the DENR Training School in Caranglan, Nueva Ecija and pass the trainings and interviews before he can be appointed to the position. Secretary Cimatu was accompanied by Undersecretary Atty. Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr., Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Mundita Lim, Director of Human Resource Development Service Rolando R. Castro, Assistant Secretary for Mindanao Atty. Michelle Angelica Go, and Director Montano among others.   (By HERZON GALLEGO)

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