The government’s National Greening Program (NGP) is on the right track in promoting the role of women and achieving the country’s millennium development goal of ensuring sustainable development.

This was announced by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Ramon J. P. Paje through a message delivered by his chief of staff Asst. Secretary Analiza Teh as the agency kicked off its celebration of March as National Women’s Month.

Executive Order (EO) No. 26 signed by Pres. Aquino declared the NGP as a national priority program with the goal of planting 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares for the period 2011-2016.

“The objective of the EO is to pursue sustainable development for poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Without discriminating the men, various studies indicate that women are mostly affected by disasters, food scarcity and environmental degradation,” said Paje.

Paje said that the successful implementation of the NGP will be the agency’s major contribution to the fulfillment of this year’s theme for National Women’s Month, “Magna Carta of Women, Philippine CEDAW: In support of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs)”. Further, monitoring of the agency’s accomplishments would consider sex-disaggregated data to determine the number of female beneficiaries or participants in the program.

According to him, the DENR has undertaken concrete initiatives in response to the three-fold challenge of gender and development (GAD), namely, the country’s commitment to the international Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW; compliance to Republic Act (RA) 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women; and MDG number 7, ensuring environmental sustainability.

He cited that the DENR has long been issuing tenurial instruments such as forest stewardship and land patents to female beneficiaries. He has also instructed the agency’s land management sector to include gender perspectives in the implementation of, and information campaign for, Republic Act 10023 or the Residential Free Patent Act.

For DENR employees, Paje said GAD-related initiatives include the establishment of a day care center for the employees’ children; membership of GAD representatives in various agency committees; issuance of implementing rules and regulations on gender-related laws such as Republic Act No. 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995; and implementation of flexi-time, maternity and paternity leaves per Civil Service Commission rules.