We mark the 33rd anniversary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on a somewhat somber note, knowing that we could have compiled more achievements by this time of the year had not the COVD- 1 9 pandemic supervened.

 For more than three months now, this pandemic has compelled us to scale back our operations and activities, although we have continued to perform our duties according to our mandate.

We will not, however, allow COVID-19 to dominate our future. We will continue fighting COVID- 19 with vigilance. We shall keep up our guard against infections, at bath the personal and institutional levels. As we await the development and availability of vaccines and mass immunization, we shall formulate measures to enhance defenses against this insidious threat.

We must also lean lessons from this dark episode in world history. COVID-19 has been associated with the consumption of wildlife, particularly bats and pangolins. We hope that this will greatly curb, if not fully eradicate, illegal wildlife trading.

On the brighter side, the broad cutbacks in economic and socia1 activities imposed by government to control the spread of COVID-19 have significantly reduced pollution, giving us cleaner air, waterbodies, and urban landscapes. This is a confirmation that reducing human activities that drive and aggravate climate change can allow our planet to regain its health, and thereby make our future more sustainable.

On this note, I call on all members of the DENR family to be vigilant in the fight against COVID-19. We will dispense with a formal celebration of our 33rd anniversary for now, so that we may emerge from this crisis tougher and more resilient. Eventually, we will regain full productivity and rebuild our momentum, and have more reasons to celebrate.


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