DENR-EMB holds annual forum for estero partners Close to 200 barangay officials, community leaders and representatives from national and local governments, academe, civil society and the private sector partners will gather for the fourth annual Partners’ Forum of the Adopt-an-Estero/Water body Program in Quezon City on September 24 and 25, 2014. This will be held at the Microtel, UP-Ayala Land Technohub, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. The Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody Program is one of DENR’s priority program. According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, the forum will serve as a venue to review progress, share best practices, technology options, identify areas for improvement, and plan on the clean-up and rehabilitation of esteros (creeks) and waterways in Metro Manila. “By convening our partners all over Metro Manila, we can touch base across sectors especially the barangays who are actively engaging themselves in periodic clean ups thus reducing threats of flooding in their areas,” Paje said. Paje has been actively promoting the program, highlighting the importance of sustained participation of barangays and estero communities in maintaining clean waterways. Launched in 2010, the program has gained widespread private sector support, drawing together some 565 signed agreements covering 314 waterbodies with private companies to clean-up esteros and water bodies all over the country. Paje added that the partnerships gained in the last four years has resulted in increased collaboration between the private sector and barangays within the adopted waterways. “People are more inclined to act if their participation is valued. We recognize how crucial barangays and our other partners are in making this program work. Hopefully, we can encourage more companies to join us,” he said. Organized by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau, the forum will start with an overall report on the status of the adopted waterways in Metro Manila by EMB-NCR Regional Director Vizminda Osorio. Updates will also be provided by selected industry and local government unit partners of the program. Other topics for discussion are Gender and Urban Waste Management by Engr. Voltaire Acosta; Technology Options for Rehabilitating Esteros and Water Bodies; and Gender and Water Quality Management by Ms. Meth Jimenez of Sagip Ilog Pilipinas Movement, and Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.Techonology options for rehabilitating adopted esteros/ water bodies, will also be presented, including the Metro Manila Estero Blitz program of the Metro Manila Deevelopment Authority. One major output of the two-day forum is the firming up of multi-stakeholder action plans for the next year for their adopted waterways. Under the Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody Program, private company partners will undertake environmental improvement on the waterway they have adopted. This may include regular clean-up activities, dredging of the creek as well as information and education campaigns, community mobilization activities, and trainings for concerned stakeholders. The DENR through the EMB its regional offices and the Laguna Lake Development Authority for Metro Manila and its nearby regions will intensify monitoring of industrial/commercial establishments, and undertake, among others, regular water quality monitoring and provide the necessary technical assistance to concerned leaders and stakeholder groups in the area.###