DENR’s Bo­ra­cay in­spec­tors to be equipped with US-backed tech­nol­ogy

Business World - - The Economy - Re­ice­lene Joy N. Ig­na­cio

THE Depart­ment of Environment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) said it will adopt a US-funded sys­tem to track the ac­tiv­i­ties of en­vi­ron­men­tal in­spec­tors on the re­sort is­land of Bo­ra­cay.

It said the sys­tem is known as the Lawin For­est and Bio­di­ver­sity Pro­tec­tion Sys­tem.

Lawin was in­tro­duced to the Philip­pines through the Bio­di­ver­sity and Water­sheds Im­proved for Stronger Econ­omy and Ecosys­tem Re­silience (B+Wiser) Pro­gram of the DENR, in part­ner­ship with the United States Agency for International De­vel­op­ment (USAID), which is about to be com­pleted this year.

Ac­cord­ing to DENR As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Co­ra­zon C. Davis, the pro­gram will be con­tin­ued by the na­tional gov­ern­ment as it is funded un­der the P800 mil­lion ap­pro­pri­a­tion for for­est pro­tec­tion un­der the 2019 Gen­eral Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Act (GAA).

“The pro­gram will not end be­cause it has gone main­stream. It will be con­tin­ued and in fact, it has been adopted by the Depart­ment,” Ms. Davis told re­porters in Pasay City.

“We are look­ing at the tech­nol­ogy not only for bio­di­ver­sity and for­est pro­tec­tion, but also for pol­lu­tion con­trol. We are re­view­ing how to ap­ply the sys­tem,” Ms. Davis added.

Bo­ra­cay is sched­uled to re-open on Oct. 26, af­ter it was closed for six months for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion due to se­vere wa­ter pol­lu­tion.

Along­side up­grades to the sys­tem of re­mov­ing solid waste from the is­land, the gov­ern­ment im­posed lim­its on tourist num­bers and re­quired beach­front ho­tels to have their own wa­ter treat­ment sys­tems.

Lawin al­lows in­spec­tors to use tablets or smart phones to di­rectly record geo-ref­er­enced ob­ser­va­tions on habi­tat, wildlife, trees, threats and il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties, which will be up­loaded for data anal­y­sis and map­ping.

Lawin also records the num­ber of hours in­spec­tors are on pa­trol, the ef­fort ex­erted and the dis­tance cov­ered.

“We, the na­tional gov­ern­ment through the DENR, de­cided to main­stream and in­sti­tu­tion­al­ize this tech­nol­ogy in all the pro­grams of the DENR,” Ms. Davis said.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms. Davis, ev­ery for­eign-as­sisted project is an op­por­tu­nity for the Philip­pines to im­prove its sys­tems by trans­fer­ring tech­nol­ogy from other coun­tries.

“We look at for­eign-as­sisted projects as an op­por­tu­nity to in­no­vate in terms of poli­cies… Pro­tect­ing nat­u­ral re­sources, our nat­u­ral her­itage, is the great­est value of this pro­gram,” Ms. Davis said.

“We are thank­ful to USAID for pro­vid­ing this part­ner­ship pri­mar­ily be­cause it is trail­blaz­ing in a sense that we use tech­nol­ogy to en­hance for­est pro­tec­tion ac­tiv­i­ties,” ac­cord­ing to Ms. Davis. —

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