Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu on Monday vowed to prioritize environmental protection through full implementation of existing laws on clean air, clean water and solid waste management.
Cimatu said he would also ensure strict adherence of mining laws by mining contractors and fight illegal logging.
“But my main effort will be protecting the environment and implementing laws, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act,” Cimatu told DENR officials and employees, as he unveiled his environmental programs and management priorities as the new head of the agency.
The former military chief said he would work towards improving air quality in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.
Under his watch, Cimatu said the DENR will further intensify efforts to rehabilitate the historic Pasig River, an important water body in Metro Manila that connects Laguna Lake to Manila Bay.
“If we are able to clean the Pasig River, including the esteros, we will be successful,” Cimatu said.
Cimatu is also keen on addressing the issue of solid waste management, as he expressed concern over the huge volume of garbage being produced in Metro Manila every day.
Noting that the nation’s capital region churns out 4,000 dump trucks of waste daily, Cimatu said he is open to the possibility of creating a task force to deal with the problem.
Meanwhile, Cimatu promised to promote and safeguard the welfare of all workers in the DENR.
Cimatu said he would establish meritocracy in the DENR in order to give due recognition to best performing employees.
At the same time, however, Cimatu said he won’t hesitate to expose and punish corrupt DENR officials and employees as he has zero tolerance for corruption.
“It is, therefore, expected that every official and personnel of the DENR will serve the people in the highest standars of public service and accountability,” he pointed out.