Ecosystems Protection – Cagayan de Oro Port wins laurels for sustainability practices

The Development Academy of the Phils conferrs the Government Best Practice Recognition plaque & certificate to the PPA PMO-MOC on 17 December 2019.

The Port of Cagayan de Oro at Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City is one of only two seaports in the Philippines to have been awarded a Green Port badge by the Green Port Award System (GPAS) program, a green evaluation system for ports in the Asia-Pacific Region developed by APEC Port Services Network (APSN) to promote the green growth and sustainable development of the APEC port industry.

It has also been cited by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) under its Government Best Practice Recognition (GBPR) for Fostering a Green Culture for Port Operations and Management with Best Practices in environmental protection, conservation, and sustainability through the employment of technology; issuance and compliance with environmental policies and mandates; and inculcating environmental awareness among port stakeholders.

The Port of Cagayan de Oro was recognized as one of the APSN Green Port Award System (GPAS) winners for 2018 among candidate ports from 18 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). GPAS serves as a platform for sharing of best practices among ports in the APEC region, to raise the profile of ports committed to green practices, and to improve their capacity for sustainable development.

 “This GPAS recognition gives the Port of Cagayan de Oro a seal of reliability and integrity which will help improve the port’s image locally, nationally, and internally, and open new potential commercial opportunities for the port, PPA, and the port operators through increased ship calls and cargo volumes that directly translate into revenues,” said Port Manager Isidro V. Butaslac, Jr.

Cagayan de Oro Port has earned the right to exhibit the APSN GPAS Badge as one of only 2 certified green ports in the Philippines.

Green Initiatives and Practices

Among the CDO Port’s best practices are measures aimed at energy conservation, noise reduction, protection and preservation of the water, land, and air, and promotion of environmental awareness among the stewards of nature—the people.

CDO Port replaced its High-Powered Sodium (HPS) Lamps with solar powered LED streetlights, and Mast Towers with LED bulbs to attain 46% and 40% energy savings, respectively; upgraded cargo handling equipment to rubber tired gantry cranes and rail mounted gantry cranes to improve productivity and efficiency, minimizing energy and carbon emissions; and adopted smart lighting which automatically provide lights only when needed.

To sustain the water ecosystem, the PMO’s Scuba Diving Team duly certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) regularly conducts underwater garbage collection/cleanups, underwater/underdeck surveys, flora and fauna inventory, and restore detached lighted floating navigational buoys at ports.

PMOs PADI-certifeid Scuba Diving Team regularly conducts underwater garbage collection called Scubasurero.

So far, over 10,000 mangrove propagules have been planted within a total area of over 30 hectares at Bonbon, Cagayan de Oro; Pangayawan, Gitagum, and in the PMO adopted area of Taytay in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental as a hatchery for indigenous fishes.

To improve air quality, the Port reduced carbon dioxide emissions and air pollutants 50% by replacing cargo handling units, using Shore-Based Power Supply (cold-ironing) as charging stations so docked vessels won’t have to use their own engine; and established three carbon sinks/greenbelt areas with 255 trees of various species which has enabled it to pass the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Most recently, it acquired two emission measuring equipment in compliance with the Clean Air Act and to improve air quality within the port premises.

PMO also maintains an organic vegetable and flower garden to grow vegetables and legumes on used car tires which are harvested for feeding programs.

Solid Waste Management (SWM) based on the 4Rs (Reduce, Recover, Reuse, Recycle) has helped reduce residual waste in the port area by 20%, increase collection of recycled paper by 20%, and plastic containers by 31%.

To promote environmental awareness, PMO employees, port stakeholders and residents of adjacent barangays join various forums like Climate Change, Solid Waste Management, Clean Air Act of the Philippines, Clean Water Act of the Philippines.

To comply with its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) requirements, PMO MOC submits regularly to DENR Self-Monitoring Reports under the Republic Act No. 9275 (Philippine Clean Water Act); Republic Act No. 8749 (Philippine Clean Air Act); and Republic Act 6969 (Hazardous Waste Act).

It annually conducts Ambient Air Quality Monitoring, Stationary Source Air Emission Sampling, Emission Testing for PPA and Oroport Cargo Handling Equipment, Water Effluent Quality Monitoring of the port’s oil and water separator facilities, and Ambient Water Monitoring.

PPA PMO-MOC acquires emission measuring equipment in compliance with the Clean Air Act and to improve air quality within the Port of Cagayan de Oro.

Opportunities and Challenges

“By taking responsibility for clean air, land and water, port stakeholders work together to meet more stringent environmental standards and deliver excellent business results,” Butaslac said.

As a Green Port, the Port seeks to: double efforts to encourage ocean-going vessels/ships to reduce emission of pollutants by using clean fuel and use shore-based power supply; improve performance to sustain a green and eco-friendly port; continue professionalization of operations; increase use of bio-based renewable energy such as LNG and bio-fuels, circular economy and transition energy; initiate more environmental-friendly programs/projects to reduce the port’s carbon footprint, and mitigate the effects of climate change particularly on engineering, e.g. more solar panels, improved water treatment facilities, etc.

Since last year, the PMO has sustained the its green port operations further improving SWM by targeting the further reduction of non-recyclables by 10%, by regulating the use of plastic utensils and food packaging within the ports. 

A month after its GPAS win in Singapore, the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) recognized the PMO-MOC for its environmental protection and conservation initiatives during the 2018 Government Best Practice Recognition (GBPR).

Its entry titled, “Philippine Ports Authority—Port Management Office of Misamis Oriental/Cagayan de Oro (PMO MOC): Fostering a Green Culture for Port Operations and Management as successfully was hailed as one of the top five (5) best practices among the 11 entries from various government agencies for 2018 and among the five (5) winners to receive Best Practice trophies during the awarding ceremony on 17 December 2019.

The DAP is a government owned and controlled corporation which develops solutions to address development  problems; upgrade institutional capacities of  institutions to more effectively pursue their respective roles and mandates more efficiently and effectively; promote partnerships, and facilitate the integration of policies, plans, programs, and systems in a holistic perspective.

GBPR is one of DAP’s strategies to help public sector organizations further enhance their quality of service by recognizing agencies with successful and validated practices.

The Academy believes that “best practices are the building blocks and the solution formula in the attainment of organizational outcomes—relevant policies, quality services and organizational effectiveness.”

A key criterion for the evaluation of best practices is the replicability (how best practices can be adopted by other PMOs).  The PPA is institutionalizing the programs for environmental protection and sustainability to its ports nationwide.

For instance, PPAs Top Management has approved the procurement and adoption of the Shore-Based Power Supply (SBPS) in the terminal ports such as the Port of Benoni in Camiguin Province.

PMO personnel planting mangrove propagules in a mangrove site in Taytay, Misamis Oriental

Overview of PMO-MOC

PMO MOC administrative jurisdiction covers the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Camiguin with 7 government and 11 registered private ports (bannered by the Port of Cagayan de Oro, one of 10 gateway ports under PPA port system).

It facilitates the transport of passengers and the input of raw materials and export of the region’s products through bulk, break bulk and RORO. It also provides ancillary services such as pilotage, tug assistance, bunkering, trucking, and porterage; supply of fresh water, and passenger related services.

Evidence of Best Practices

Overview of the Best Practices

PMO-MOC’s Fosterage of Green Culture is described as “inculcating environmental consciousness and sensitivity among stakeholders to achieve synergy with the environment towards sustainable development.”

As an Integrated Management System (IMS) certified, it integrates three systems into one—ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management, ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management and BS OSHAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health and Safety.

It has also been consistent with its emergency preparedness by conducting regular drills especially for sea oil spill in compliance with the risk-based ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management.

“This is in compliance with the PPA Environmental Policy which mandates PPA as a government agency tasked to administer the ports in the country including the development of the ports to spur regional and national growth, adhere to the concept of ensuring that port activities are focused on minimizing the adverse or negative impact to the environment and ensuring that all aspects of port operation and port development are geared towards the protection and preservation of the environment for the maximum utilization of port facilities,” noted Butaslac.

It has also organized continuing education aimed at enhancing environmental awareness through seminars / trainings, information campaigns and site visits. PMO MOC Environmental Specialist Core D. Suan is a DENR-accredited Pollution Control Officer who oversees and ensures compliance with environmental laws.

A Green Track Record

Besides the Green Port Award 2018 given by APEC Port Services Network – Green Port Award System, PMO-MOC has also been certifiedby TUV Rheinland Philippines for its Integrated Management System (2018) and Quality Management System (2012 & 2015).

It has been granted a  Certificate of Recognition bythe Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) for the Port Safety, Health and Environmental Management System (PSHEMS) (2015); Certificate of Recognition by the Government Quality Management Committee for compliance to EO 605 (2017); International Ships and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code Certificate of Compliance from DOTr-Office of Transport Security (2018) and was recognized by the  DENR for implementation of Environmental Programs (2018) and   Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation its continuing partnership in environmental program and joint oil spill response (2018).

The new Passenger Terminal Building with its own in-house carbon-sink.

Sustaining the Green Culture

To sustain its Green Culture, PMO-MOC will fully implement its green programs with continuous improvements like: additional stations for Shore-Based Power Supply and their installation in Terminal Ports; additional Powerhouse with energy-saving devices/features; rainwater collection and water treatment systems, and green buildings.

The new Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) of the CDO Port is a green building, which houses a carbon sink and utilize solar power through the roof top solar panels. It is the biggest and most modern PTB in the Philippines today.

 “Fostering a Green Culture drives the PMO-MOC to gear for more eco-friendly initiatives, bearing the ethos that ports can still do business while still being friendly to Mother Nature, and be hazardous to anyone. Fostering green culture has come a long way and there’s no more turning back, only moving forward,” Butaslac stressed. (With reports from Irish Maika R. Lam)


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