June 21, 2024

Environment and Natural Resources Sec. Roy Cimatu has lauded the region’s civic consciousness, which he claimed is helpful in its quest for autonomy during the 34th Cordillera Day celebration in Baguio on July 15.
Cimatu, in his keynote address delivered by DENR-CAR Executive Director Ralph Pablo, said the region and its people have always been conscious with the community’s issues such as environmental issues.
“This civic consciousness and sense of participation is vitally important in our decisions and actions for green recovery, as well as Cordillera autonomy,” Cimatu said.
With this year’s founding anniversary theme, “Working together towards Cordillera autonomy through green recovery,” Cimatu urged local leaders to lead the implementation of policies geared towards green recovery.
While governments around the world are rightfully focused on addressing public health and stabilizing economies, Cimatu said the only way to make a nation sustainable and resilient is through green recovery since all these concerns boil down to ecosystems and resources.
He said there is also a window of opportunity for green recovery from the pandemic.
“I see it as an opportunity to build a cleaner, greener, healthier, and a more climate-friendly environment. By now, we should know that we cannot go back to our pre-pandemic nature-destructive practices,” Cimatu said.   
Cimatu said there’s no need to come up with new policies and blueprints to attain a climate-friendly future.
He said all that is needed is the implementation of existing policies such as the Paris Agreement, which aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
He said the key is adopting and enforcing these policies at the local level and having the political will to implement them.
“We need to take steps with determination and political will. I’ve heard it said that if we harness political will, investments and partnerships will follow. If we get this right, we are one step ahead in steering a more sustainable path – green recovery in Cordillera towards autonomy,” he said.   
He also urged local leaders to start with stimulus package such as promoting green finance; creating green jobs; aligning local scheme against the climate crisis with the national and global action plans; and strict implementation of environmental legislations, among others.
Cimatu said as the Cordillera sustains its drive for autonomy, it must also make decisions to ensure that its ecosystems are restored, preserved, and protected for the present and future generations.
“It is a legitimate aspiration, shared with the Bangsamoro that has become an autonomous region. I am aware of how much you want your own opportunity to become one. I know you want it your way – the Cordillera way, in a peaceful exemplary manner, democratically, with a sense of public spirit and respect,” he said. – Ofelia C. Empian