PEMSEA formalizes international headquarters in Philippines

The Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) recently inked an agreement with the Philippine government formalizing the location of its international headquarters in the country, specifically at the compound of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City.

The headquarters agreement (HQA) was signed between Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario and PEMSEA Executive Director Raphael Lotilla at the DFA in Pasay City. The signing was witnessed by officials of the DFA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), led by Undersecretary Analiza Teh and representing DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje,  as well as other PEMSEA officials.

Paje said that the DENR welcomed the agreement and committed the agency’s continued support to PEMSEA. “PEMSEA’s operations within the DENR compound allows not only us but the Philippine government in general, to continue working closely with the PEMSEA and all its partners in ensuring the protection and development of our marine and coastal resources within the East Asian region,” he said.

The collaboration with the PEMSEA shall also ensure the continued implementation of DENR programs geared towards the long-term social and economic development of the country’s coastal and marine areas, he added.

PEMSEA is a partnership arrangement among 11 country and 20 non-country partners, starting out as project-based but transformed in 2006 as a regional mechanism to implement the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA). It operates mainly through the PEMSEA Resource Facility, which provides secretariat and technical services to the partnership council.

The HQA affirms the 2007 pact between the DENR and the PEMSEA on the provision of office facilities within the DENR compound, where it had been housed since 1993. 

The agreement also affirms another agreement in 2009 among eight of the PEMSEA country partners including the Philippines, which recognized the partnership’s international legal personality. The other countries that signed the agreement were Cambodia, China, North and South Koreas, Indonesia, Laos, and Timor-Leste.

In the Philippines, the PEMSEA and the DENR have been implementing integrated coastal management programs to address the challenges of governance of coastal areas. Its project demonstration areas are located in Batangas, Balayan and Tayabas Bays in Batangas; Guimaras Island in Western Visayas; and in Bataan.  

Along with the Global Environment Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Maritime Organization or GEF//UNDP/IMO, the PEMSEA and the Philippine Government also launched the Manila Bay Environmental Management Project in 2000 to plan, develop and manage the Bay’s marine and coastal resources.

The PEMSEA hosts the East Asian Seas Congress, a ministerial forum and an international conference held every three years to track the progress of the SDS-SEA implementation. The last congress was held in 2009 in the Philippines, while the next would be this August in Korea. 





EnvironmentNatural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje rallied last week his field officials to ensure the success of the National Greening Program, saying the program has full support of the President.

    “There is no reason to fail considering that President Aquino has amply given all the support this program (NGP) needs to succeed,” Paje told the regional executive directors (REDs),  regional technical directors, and the provincial and community environment and natural resources officers (PENROs, CENROs) attending the 2-day National Convention of Field Officers held May 31-June 1, 2011 at the DENR Social Hall in Quezon City.

    Paje also challenged the field officials “to give their best shot” as their performance in implementing the NGP will be “highly taken into consideration’ in the evaluation of officials for promotions.
“Those who will be performing will be rewarded. Wala pong biro yan,” Paje said, stressing that the field officers will be evaluated fairly based on a purely-merit system “without regard for personal ties or past associations” he has made through over 20 years at the DENR where he started his career as a casual forester.

Paje said the NGP-driven performance-based incentive scheme will first zero in on the PENRO and CENRO positions, with an instruction to DENR Assistant Secretary for Management and Finance Corazon Davis to reserve the vacant PENRO and CENRO posts as rewards for NGP’s top performers especially those that are on an acting capacity. 

“If you are a CENRO, you will automatically become a PENRO.  Those who are not yet full-pledged CENRO (with temporary appointment), we will make you full-pledged CENROs. Performance lamang, wala nang iba,”  Paje stressed. 

Of the 168 CENRO plantilla positions, 47 have yet to be filled;  while 25 remain vacant in the 73 PENRO  plantilla posts.

The incentive scheme forms part of Paje’s overall program to strengthen DENR’s performance-based promotion system to beef up the national leadership’s efforts in professionalizing the  Philippine bureaucracy.

But Paje was quick to clarify that the quality of their performance will be determined by the survival of the seedling declared in their performance and not merely on the number of seedling planted.

“Remember, the NGP is a national priority program of President Aquino, and this is not for show but for grow. Gone are the days when tree planting activities were just to set world records or just for photo opportunities,” Paje noted.

At the same time, Paje asked “doubting Thomases” to be forthcoming this early with their hesitation to go all out to meet their targets to allow for management to act appropriately in their particular case.

“We will make sure that everybody performs. Kung sino sa inyo ang tingin ay hindi kayang ipatupad ang programang ito, sabihin na ninyo ngayon,” Paje said.

The performance-based incentive will be based on the field officials’ scorecard in the  yearly targets given them and will be validated with the use of state-of-the art technology such as satellite mapping and internet-based technology through NGP’s website at the