It was all hands on deck at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last Wednesday, as its top officials met with representatives of various people's organizations and civic groups to listen to all their concerns during the agency's first ever "People's Day" under the leadership of Secretary Gina Lopez.

Lopez, who had earlier designated every Wednesday as People's Day in the DENR, made sure that key officials of the department, including its attached agencies, were present so they could immediately respond to issues and concerns raised during the meeting.

The environment chief said she wanted all DENR officials to become more results-oriented and responsive to the people's needs.

"Everyone who comes here should return home armed with the spirit that something will be done in their areas so that they have a plan," Lopez said, addressing those who came to the DENR central office in Quezon City to bring forward their concerns about matters that are within the agency's mandate.

"I don't want [the DENR] to be just a regulatory arm, I want something done in your respective areas," she added.

During their meeting, the DENR executives and civil society members talked about issues like public land titling, reclamation, mining and reforestation, among others.

They also discussed possible livelihood opportunities the DENR could provide the public under its existing projects, notably the National Greening Program.

"We want this People's Day to become a people's arm so you have access to DENR. It is important that whatever your concerns are, we can find a solution," Lopez told members of people's organizations and the civil society.

Lopez, meanwhile, directed all DENR officials present to make sure that they took note of all the issues and concerns brought before them and that appropriate action will be taken.

Aside from top officials like undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, officers of different bureaus under the DENR were also present during the meeting.

Lopez said the holding of People's Day is one way of bringing the DENR and its programs closer to people. It likewise serves as a tool to improve transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in the DENR as the agency also get the public's input on matters affecting them, she added. ###