Archive for the 'Share Your Thoughts' Category

January 29, 2010

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza is encouraging the public to go “green” this holiday season.

Lito Atienza Planting Trees

DENR Secretary Lito Atienza Planting Trees

“With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, what better way to spend the holiday but with our family and friends. But in the midst of our celebrations, let us not forget the main reason of our rejoicing – our savior Jesus. Christmas symbolizes God’s love for mankind by the incarnation of Jesus Christ and saving the world from sins,” Lito Atienza said.

Included in God’s noblest love for mankind, Lito Atienza continued, is His provision of this habitable earth and everything in it for humanity to enjoy. In turn, however, Atienza stressed man’s duty to keep the earth livable by keeping the environment healthy and clean.

He said that enjoying the holidays need not be wasteful and garbage-laden. “People must make it a habit to practice the 3R’s — reduce, re-use and recycle. Putting this practice every day means not only good housekeeping for the Earth’s resources but saving humanity from the impact of climate change.”

Atienza offered the following tips to go “green” these holidays:

1. Minimize the use of gift wrappers.
Since gift-giving is a tradition that Filipinos continue to observe whatever the circumstances they’re into, it is important to keep our gift wrapping to the minimum. “Lavish wrapping is no longer “in” as it consumes a lot of our natural resources, such as the trees, from which we make paper and other trimmings. It also generates garbage,” Atienza said.

“Better still,” he said, “why not give gifts that need no wrapping at all,” citing things that one can do for their loved ones while at home for the holidays, like cooking for them, cleaning the house, especially of discards and recyclable materials, attending the garden, etc. . “We can add some environmental advocacy by re-echoing the practice of waste segregation, and giving them bonus with the little money that comes from selling the recyclables.”

2. Recycle or re-use boxes or gift wrappers.

“What’s important is the thought that we are giving to others. Christmas is giving and sharing of ourselves because of our love for God who first gave us His eternal love, and Mother Earth,” he added.

3. Promote the use of washable and re-usable food containers, plates, forks and spoons, etc.

With the inevitable need for food containers for parties and get-togethers, it is wiser to use washable food containers and other utensils for small family reunions. For big parties, don’t just throw discards as these can be used later, such as unused paper plates, washable plastic spoon and fork. Tin cans for soft drinks are also recyclable.

4. Discourage the use of styrofoam and other non-biodegradable food
containers. Instead, he is encouraging the use of banana leaves and other natural products which are both earth-friendly and non-toxic.

5. Give unspoiled food wastes to pets or turn them into compost for the garden lovers.

6. Start an advocacy campaign about solid waste management, particularly waste segregation at source, during family or school reunions which will eventually have a snowball effect.

Atienza said it is important that people are informed of the magnitude of the garbage problem facing not only Metro Manila but all other urban centers in the country.

DENR records showed that about 6,700 tons of garbage are being generated in the national capital region every day but only approximately 10% are being recycled or composted. The remaining 90% goes straight to dump sites, rivers, streets and backyards.

“From the statistics, and from what we saw after the onslaught of typhoon “Ondoy” we can say that we are already a country of garbage. If we do not start being more responsible now with our own garbage, there is no way we could prevent being flooded every time it rains,” Atienza said.

For the New Year, Lito Atienza is encouraging the public to refrain from lighting fire crackers as these are dangerous not only to public health but also to the environment.

“Fire crackers emit toxic substances that could trigger asthma, allergy and other illnesses among vulnerable sectors of our society, such as our children and the elders,” Atienza said.

At the same time, the fumes add up to the pollution load of Metro Manila’s sky, which to this day, according to him, remains dirty.

“While the past years saw an improving air quality in Metro Manila, it is not yet ideal. We still have to do more, and one way where everyone can share in the effort is to refrain from lighting a fire cracker this New Year,” Atienza explained.

Lito Atienza added this tip to usher the New Year with a bang: “Get your pots and pans, including your aluminum wash basins, and have your children and grandchildren take turns in making noise. They will surely enjoy doing just that until the media noche is served.”

Publishing date: Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009 (2:20 PM)

September 29, 2009

Written by Dennis D. Estopace / Reporter
Monday, 28 September 2009 21:39
THE government was warned 32 years ago that ceding control of urban development may have adverse consequences, such as the devastation experienced by the metropolis on Saturday.

“Some are saying it’s [the flooding of key Metropolitan Manila areas] an act of God. It’s not. It’s neglect on the part of the government,” architect Felino Palafox Jr. told the BusinessMirror on Monday as casualties of Typhoon Ondoy grew to more than a hundred dead and thousands of people displaced.

In the document sent by Palafox, the Metro Manila Transport, Land Use and Development Planning Project (Mmetroplan) already cited the Marikina Valley as among the areas deemed “unsuitable for development.”

The area that includes the city of Marikina were among those that sustained the most damage, according to news reports. In one hard-hit site alone, Provident Village, TV reports said 58 bodies had already been recovered, presumably people who never had time to leave their homes as floodwaters rose too quickly.

“Development should be restricted by the application of controls in three major areas—in the Marikina Valley, the western shores of Laguna de Bay, and the Manila Bay coastal area to the north of Manila,” said the report submitted in July 1977 to then-Public Works and Highways chief Alfredo Juinio.

“We’ve told government all along [that] this would happen because of the flooding [in] the same month in 1970,” Palafox said.

He said he was working for the government then when he and a group of researchers undertook this World Bank-funded study on a land-use plan that was finalized by Hong Kong-based consulting firm Freeman Fox and Associates.

Palafox cited a recommendation from the study that the government should monitor the Marikina Riverbank so that the water would not reach 90 meters. Likewise, no structure should have been allowed within nine meters from the riverbank, he added.

Dahil hindi sinunod ’yun, parang massacre ang nangyari [Because the recommendation was not heeded, what occurred was virtually a massacre],” he said.

The three-volume report also noted that “urban development is spreading into [these] areas which are, in their present state, unsuitable for development—either because they are low-lying and liable to flooding, or because development is without adequate facilities for the treatment and disposal of sewage [the norm in Manila] and so will continue to contribute to the severe pollution of areas, such as Laguna de Bay.”

The study added: “The unsuitable areas for development, where pressures are nevertheless considerable, are primarily the flat coastal areas to the north where extensive areas are liable to flooding and where increased pressures for reclamation are likely to further exacerbate this problem.”

Another is “the Marikina Valley, to the east, where the land is liable to flooding and where development with inadequate provision for the treatment and disposal of sewage is contributing to the severe pollution of Laguna de Bay and where flooding is a problem in the adjacent areas.”

Finally, the study said the pressure for development, but requiring control, includes “the western shores of Laguna de Bay where development without adequate facilities for the treatment and disposal of sewage is contributing to the severe pollution of Laguna de Bay and where flooding is a problem in the adjacent areas.”

“In order to avoid development contributing to longer-term flooding and water pollution, it is necessary that the short-term development is restricted in these areas. Only when remedial measures to deal with the problems have been implemented, should the development of these areas proceed on a significant scale,” the study said.

“Lessons are to be learned, for sure, but these have been taught three decades ago,” Palafox said.

Article is from

September 29, 2009

Here are more images after Typhoon Ondoy wrecked havoc in Provident Village. by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009 by MyPhotoSharing2009


I lived in Provident Village my entire life, until I moved out two years ago to a condo in Ortigas Center. Provident Villages is not new to flooding. In fact, ever since 1968, the village has experienced mass flooding every 10 years. I was there when I woke up to raging floods in 1988. In 1998, the flood reached up to 6 feet only, which was not bad. My parents had experienced it since 1978. They told me that year was the worst. They weren’t prepared for this to happen.

Though a year late, 2009 brought in the worst and most devastating flood to Provident. In the previous floods, we managed to recover our things, and got back up our feet the day after. Less than 5 people died, if not none at all. So when the waters rose last Saturday, everybody in Provident knew that it was time again. They didn’t know it was going to be very different.

The Marikina government managed to fix the drainage and flood system of the city when the Fernandos governed. We were happy about it. Floods were prevented. As an effect, Provident Villages prospered. New and big houses grew like mushrooms. Real estate shot up. Everything was going well. Until now.

I was in my condo when everything happened, when my dad and two sisters hanged on for their lives in a 2nd floro balcony of a neighbor’s house. My dad and sisters swam and braved the floods, to save those trapped in their houses. Two, however, still died.

My family and 13 other people held it out on top of a roof under the rain, without food, water or light. They were rescued at 5AM Sunday. They were fortunate enough, since our house was still near the gate of the village. I realized the others were rescued in the morning. I have been hearing stories of terror and survival from my relatives who also live in Provident. If I were there, I would be writing this differently.

In the end, I am happy that my entire family is safe and sound. We lost everything that my parents worked for. I still can’t believe this happened. It all caught us by surprise.

This is a tribute to all the victims of Provident Village, our beloved neighbors.

RJ Samson