Cimatu to new BMB chief: Bring puka shells back to Boracay

The lead agency tasked to conserve the country’s rich biological diversity has a new chief and Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu wants her to immediately get on board government efforts to rehabilitate the pollution-challenged Boracay Island.


 Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez officially took the helm at the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) from Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, who is transferring to the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity as its new executive director. BMB is a staff bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).


 During the recent turnover ceremony, Cimatu gave Rodriguez marching orders to take an active role in bringing back to its pristine state the island first known for the rare puka shells.


 “We have a mission in Boracay. My challenge to you now is to bring back the puka shells. The Filipino people from the whole country will be watching you,” Cimatu told Rodriguez.


 “We should show to the Filipino people that we would finish what we have started,” said Cimatu, who was earlier tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to clean up Boracay which he described as a “cesspool” due to environmental damage.


 Cimatu has just announced the establishment of a 750-hectare critical habitat for threatened species within the world-famous resort island. The undertaking is part of the grand plan to restore Boracay’s pristine waters, lush green forests and wetlands.


 In response, Rodriguez said she was ready to take on the challenge. “The Boracay issue is only the tip of the iceberg, and though the task remains to be Sisyphean, it is one task that we will continue to undertake simply because it is what needs to be done,” she said.


 “Public opinion and perception of our work prepared us. But forge on, we must, for though it may be bloody, we shall remain unbowed,” she added.


 Prior to becoming BMB head, Rodriguez served as director of DENR’s Region 5 office. A forester by profession after graduating from Bicol State University, she also served as a Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer.


 Meanwhile, Cimatu commended Lim for her hard work and dedication in the more than two decades she spent at the DENR, 15 years of which as head of the BMB, formerly the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau.


 During her service, Lim earned accolades for her excellent work in government service and natural sciences.


Lim, in return, thanked Cimatu “for inspiring the BMB to become the best in just eleven months.”

 “It is under Secretary Cimatu’s watch that we can unleash the true value of our protected areas, for helping facilitate the passage of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act or E-NIPAS, and for the successful hosting of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species,” Lim said. ###

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