President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (PNA photo by Rey Baniquet)

MANILA – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday guaranteed that the Philippines' resiliency and adaptation to the "new normals" of climate change are on top of his administration's national agenda.

Marcos gave the assurance in a speech delivered during the 2022 multi-stakeholder forum organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

"As your President, I assure you that our environment and our country’s resiliency and adaptation to the new normals of climate change are on top of the national agenda. We ensure that the initiatives we will take will enable us to become smarter, more responsible, more sustainable in all that we do," he said during the opening of the DENR's three-day forum.

"The road ahead will be long and it will be tough, but we must stay strong and accept that it will be a battle that we all must wage, and even more importantly, it’s a battle that we must win," he added.

Marcos lauded the DENR for organizing a forum that gathers different stakeholders who are expected to forge collaboration with the agency and other state departments to craft and implement programs towards climate, disaster resilience and sustainable development.

He said he is confident that the forum will serve as a platform for the participants to identify each sector’s "unique and shared" challenges, bolster cooperation, as well as to gather information on priorities for possible inclusion in the DENR’s policy agenda and the multi-year Roadmap for Programs, Activities and Projects.

"I know it’s only a beginning of a challenging but most important task of protecting the only Earth and home that we know," Marcos said. "In this collective fight, we are not soldiers; we are stewards. There will be no weapons to use; only behaviors and practices to improve upon."

Maximize use of PH’s natural wealth, resources

Marcos also emphasized the importance of utilizing and developing the country's natural wealth and resources.

He expressed optimism that the forum would yield "fruitful" discussions that will harmonize the DENR's policy agenda.

This, as he acknowledged the need to discuss measures to protect, conserve and manage the environment, given the country's vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

"Along with the outcomes of this forum, I expect that we will be able to accelerate the DENR's mission of mobilizing our capacities and resources to preserve, conserve, and manage our environment," Marcos said. "I also expect this forum to lay down a strategic direction to maximize the use of the country's natural wealth and to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth."

The DENR forum aims to enable inclusive dialogues across all the agency's stakeholders; share stakeholders’ experiences of working with different national government agencies; foster partnership among stakeholders; and identify multi-stakeholder initiatives that apply science, technology and innovation to achieve unique values across different sectors.

Marcos hoped that the forum would bring about substantial outcomes that will help enrich the country's national wealth and resources.

"More importantly, I wish this event to be an opportunity for the government and private partners to actively collaborate in translating an integrated and multi-stakeholder Resiliency Framework into actions that will sustain the growth of this sector," he said.

Marcos said the fight against climate change would only be successful, if everyone is committed and determined to "steer our practices and systems towards a greener direction."

"Victory will not come by defeating a visible enemy. It will come in certain moments when we can see that we are gradually averting a global crisis that we have attended to the difficulties that our people will face because of the onset of climate change," Marcos said.

"And triumphant will we be when we realize that our children will have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and lands and oceans not only to explore but also to responsibly harness for their sake and for the good of all Filipinos and for all humanity," he added. (PNA)