DENR cites JHMC for John Hay environment

>> Friday, March 18, 2016

BAGUIO CITY -  For maintaining good environment, monitoring air quality and protecting its forest cover, Environment Assistant Secretary and Environmental Management Bureau director Juan Miguel Cuna lauded John Hay Management Corp. for partnering with them in installation of Continuous Ambient Air Monitoring Machine Station, an aid in making programs to assure good air quality within the Camp John Hay Reservation Area.
“The installation of the CAAMMS is a very important move. This is a state of the art equipment that allows us to monitor the quality of air in our respective areas which can serve as a guide in coming up with actions and strategies to address air pollution,”.
Cuna  made these remarks after he and Dr, Jamie Eloise M. Agbayani,  JHMC  president and CEO signed  memorandum of agreement  Feb. 24 at the Bell House in Camp John Hay.
Also present to witness the signing were DENR acting regional director Engr. Maria Dorica Hipe , DENR-CAR regional director Ralph C. Pablo,  and EMB CAR regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo
 According to a data from the Governance Commission for GOCC, JHMC is the only government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) that measures air quality.  
With signing of agreement, JHMC would be able to identify measures to mitigate effects of climate change in Baguio through the expertise of the DENR-EMB as our partner. Together, we will be strengthening our sustainable forest management plan within the Camp John Hay Reservation  while we continue to provide job opportunities for the Cordillera Region,” Agbayani added.
Pablo said, “The installation of the monitoring station at Camp John Hay is a means to share the message that not all areas in the City have bad air quality. There are other areas such as Camp John Hay which has  a good air quality index that can serve as a benchmark owing to its sustainable environment management plan.”
 The latest ambient air monitoring conducted by the DENR-EMB during the last quarter of 2015 at the Mile Hi Center  yielded  8 µg/m3,   while the Baguio Ayala Technohub recorded a 10 µg/m3 of PM10 which are within the Good Air Quality Index.
 The Mile Hi Center   has been maintaining a good air quality index for the past seven years, since the monitoring  commenced; while the Ayala Technohub has maintained a good air quality index for the past three years, following its opening in 2012. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Clean Air Act gave a ceiling  of 150 µg/m3 for a passing air quality index.
The latest monitoring was done during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) holiday from November 16-20, when thousands of visitors trooped to Baguio. This also coincided with the Philippine Mining Safety Engineers Association (PMSEA) Conference. The  November 30 to December 6  monitoring meanwhile  coincided with the Foodies at the Hub,  another crowd drawing event by  the Ayala Techno Hub establishments.
 Pablo said that the move of JHMC to install a monitoring station is a laudable one as it shows their concern for the environment and the air that people breathe.
 The MOA states the shared responsibility of JHMC and the DENR-EMB to ensure the station will be fully utilized and taken cared of as a primary source of air quality monitoring information.
The project costs P10 million which allocation includes the equipment capital outlay and annual maintenance for parts and services.
The MOA also says that the CAAMS will be maintained and secured by JHMC with the technical assistance of the DENR.  The JHMC will shoulder the electric consumption and will ensure the security of the CAAMS. On top of this, additional fencing expenses was also approved by the JHMC Board of Directors.
 “The stewardship of the forest is our paramount concern in order to protect the last bastion of the forested area in the City of Baguio” said Pres. Agbayani.
The agreement marks the first step toward the real time air quality information within the 625 hectares of government land.
Cuna said “We would like to assure the public that the DENR-EMB will be assisting the JHMC in preserving the remaining forest cover at Camp John Hay. It is but proper to monitor the air quality of the City of Baguio to properly address air pollution   problems and climate change with the development infused. This is the biggest program that the Aquino administration has been giving attention to for the past few years with the help of various sectors not only from the government but also from the private sect.”
He added“this partnership will bring to fruition JHMC’s vision to be the leader in forest and environment  stewardship in the Philippines by 2018.”
Director Pablo stressed the importance of trees by saying, “If there are many trees, it follows that the air is better. It is important for people, not just in the city but in other regions for them to value the trees for the sake of the air to breathe.”
 Camp John Hay was the US military’s rest and recreation facility which was turned over to the Philippine government. It was placed under the stewardship of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) following enactment of the law that created it. JHMC, the BCDA’s subsidiary directly manages the reservation.


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