MANILA - Secretary Ramon Paje lauded the officials and employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for standing their ground despite threats and hazards that come with their job to ensure the protection and sustainability of the environment.
“I know our responsibilities are not easy. In fact, our work entails a deep sense of commitment and sacrifice for our country and its future,” he told his team.
“Environmental management and protection is more than a job, it is a mission. We shall continue to move forward and level up some more to honor our mission and the trust that the public has given us,” Paje said.
He urged them to continue their hard work and step up efforts in maintaining a positive public perception towards the agency’s anti-corruption drive.
“This is no time for complacency. It is essential to preserve the gains achieved under the Aquino administration, particularly on its fight against graft and corruption,” Paje pointed out, as he sought the help and cooperation of his DENR family in ensuring continuity of reforms instituted by the present government.
Paje made the remarks as he underscored the importance of the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing a remarkable improvement in the DENR’s rating in its sincerity to fight graft and corruption, from a “Bad” -34 in 2009 to +1 this year.
The DENR received a “double upgrade” from the 2012 SWS Survey of Enterprises on Corruption, which was based on interviews of 826 company executives representing large, medium and small enterprises from all over the country.
It was the first time since 2005 that the DENR got a positive rating from the same survey. The DENR was consistently given negative ratings at an average of -33.
Paje said the DENR’s improved anti-corruption rating would only mean that the department has been “regaining public confidence.”
The DENR chief also attributed the significant improvement in their rating to reforms that have taken place in the agency.
Among these are the posting of all contracts and bidding results in the DENR website, installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras nationwide, posting of process flow charts in all offices to assist the public in their transactions with the agency, and the holding of consultative meetings with civil organizations on government programs and projects.
Paje said the agency is also in the process of cleansing its ranks by prosecuting and penalizing erring personnel.
To date, more than 60 DENR personnel have been dismissed, suspended or relieved; 34 were charged for various offenses; and 176 were placed under investigation.
Last June, 34 DENR officials were relieved for their alleged failure to stop illegal logging in the Caraga region.