LAST January 15, there was a top-level shake up at the DENR. Sec. Lito Atienza, who resigned to run for mayor of Manila, turned-over his post to Eleazer Quinto, his undersecretary for Field Operations. Barely a month after, Sec. Quinto was also replaced by a DENR field man.

Promoted to Secretary is Horacio C. Ramos, the director of the DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). He still holds that position in concurrent capacity. This field man and career employee bypassed other senior officials in the department, the Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries. His superiors are now his subordinates.

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Secretary Ramos is a licensed mining engineer. He joined the Bureau of Mines and Geosciences as a mining engineer in May 1969 and has served with the Government since then. He worked his way up until he was promoted to MGB Director in March 1996.

Good luck sir!

(Reduce campaign trash)

In spite of the DENR’s warning, candidates and supporters peppered the Acacia Trees along McArthur Highway in San Fernando with campaign paraphernalia. It’s a good thing that the Liberal party here in the province removed their posters to comply with the law. I urge other candidates to do the same.

In addition to protecting trees, the DENR wants to reduce campaign trash as well. Through its National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) secretariat, the department launched its Basura-Free Election 2010 campaign, with theme “Kalat Ko, Linis Ko”.

The Basura-Free Election program promotes a “zero-waste” election through the implementation of waste reduction, segregation and proper disposal of waste generated during the campaign and election period.

Together with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the DENR signed and issued a joint circular on the implementation of the program for the duration of the campaign and election period.

The memorandum circular has put forward some guidelines that can help candidates, political parties and party-list groups campaign in environmentally-responsible ways:

- Adherence to a litter-free campaign;

- Observance of waste segregation during campaign meetings and other related activities;

- Proper coordination with the local waste collector to gather? Segregated waste for composting, recycling or for proper disposal;

- Cleaning up the surroundings after each activity;

- Getting on with the campaign without damaging any trees;

- Avoidance from using excessive packaging of goods and single use containers; and

- Disposal of election campaign materials immediately after the elections day.

According to NSWMC Executive Director Gerardo V. Calderon, any local official, political party or candidate to the May 2010 elections, who willfully or through negligence, fails to observe the provisions of this Joint Memorandum Circular shall be subject to the sanctions provided under the Local Government Code, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, and under such other applicable laws.