Press Releases

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has assured that there will be no letup in the fight against climate change and disaster risks as building resilient communities remains a top priority for the government.

“Sa mga darating na araw at buwan, patuloy nating palalakasin ang ating mga programa at polisiya. Patuloy nating titiyakin ang katatagan ng kinabukasan ng ating bansa,” Cimatu said during the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Forum held in Davao City on July 17.

The forum came five days before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his fourth SONA on July 22.

As a way forward, Cimatu said the Duterte administration will continue to pursue policy reforms that integrate climate and disaster risk considerations into development policies, strategies, plans and programs.

Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will continue to coordinate closely with other line agencies under the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR) to ensure that they work together toward the goal of establishing adaptive and resilient communities.

The DENR chief co-chairs the cluster with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, while the Climate Change Commission acts as the cluster secretariat. The members include the Executive Secretary, the Cabinet Secretary, and the heads of the Presidential Management Staff, the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Finance, and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Other members are the secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Energy (DOE), the chairpersons of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, and the heads of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, Presidential Communications Operations Office, National Security Council, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Cimatu said the Cabinet cluster supports the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience and other legislative proposals that promote disaster and climate resilience, such as the proposed National Land Use Act, Land Administration Reform Act, Integrated Coastal Management Act, and National Building Code of the Philippines.

“With the help of Congress, we intend to adopt a national land use policy that will optimize balanced development,” Cimatu said. “We hope to achieve this through rational and just allocation, utilization, management and development of our country’s land resources under the proposed National Land Use Act.”

This policy, he said, will be complemented by the planned delineation of forest limits, which would enable the DENR to sustainably manage, conserve and protect the country’s remaining forests from further depletion.

Meanwhile, Cimatu said the proposed Land Administration Act seeks to improve the land sector as a driver to sustainable development, economic growth and poverty alleviation.

“Hindi lamang pangangalaga sa kalikasan ang pakay natin,” Cimatu explained. “Misyon din natin na mapakinabangan ng mamamayan ang likas na yaman sa mas mahabang panahon para lalo pang mapabuti ang kalagayan nila sa buhay.”

Cimatu said the cluster will work for the swift enactment of the Integrated Coastal Management Act, which would ensure optimum and sustainable resource utilization of coastal and marine environment.

He said the establishment of a department devoted to disaster resilience is necessary to help the government manage broader climate-disaster governance arrangements, and oversee the implementation of disaster risk and vulnerability reduction and management.

The cluster, according to Cimatu, also supports proposal to prohibit the conversion of irrigated lands as it would address the threats to the country’s food security.

He said that crucial to the government’s strategy was the proposed National Building Code of the Philippines, which aims to provide a framework for minimum standards and requirements for all buildings and structures so that government can regulate and control their location, site, construction, use, occupancy and maintenance.

At the same time, Cimatu said the government will provide the ability to generate, synthesize and disseminate knowledge, methodologies and decision-making tools to ensure climate resilience.

To cite an example, Cimatu said the DOST commits the installation of more than a dozen doppler weather radars and high frequency doppler radar networks in various parts of the country.

The DOST, he added, is also set to install several flood forecasting and warning systems in major river basins, a borehole seismic station in Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Island, and a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis in Metro Davao.

On the other hand, the DICT will implement programs on communications technology to prepare the communities and local government units in case of disasters.

“Lahat po ito ay gagawin natin para mabigyan ng panahon ang ating mga kababayan na lumikas bago pa man dumating ang bagyo,” Cimatu said.

“Sisiguruhin natin na walang pamilyang Pilipino ang nasa peligro sa panahon ng kalamidad,” he added.

Cimatu also revealed that the DOE will intensify development of renewable energy in off-grid areas for wider access of populace.

The government will continue to mainstream the use of alternative fuels and energy technology in the transport sector, as well as monitor the implementation of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, Cimatu said.

To ensure quick restoration of energy services during and after calamities, Cimatu said the government will strengthen energy systems and facilities through the energy resiliency program.

He also said that the government will provide financial assistance for disaster mitigation, preparedness and rehabilitation of damaged electric cooperatives. #

Magiging magkatuwang ang Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Compostela Valley para sa isasagawang rehabilitasyon ng Naboc River na matatagpuan sa Barangay Mt. Diwata, Compostela Valley na naging madumi dahil na rin sa mga latak na nagmula sa pagmimina.

Noong Hulyo 17, nilagdaan ang Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) sa pagitan nina DENR OIC Assistant Secretary for Field Operations-Eastern Mindanao at kasalukuyan ring Region 11 Executive Director Ruth Tawantawan at Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy sa opisina ng DENR Region 11 sa Davao City.

Sa kanyang mensahe matapos ang MOA signing, sinabi ni Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu na huhukayin ang ilog (dredging and desilting) upang matanggal ang dumi dulot ng pagmimina sa naturang lugar. Sa pamamagitan nito ay maisasaayos ang daloy ng tubig at matatanggal ang mga dumi na sanhi ng polusyon.

“We will not allow this river to die and we will relentlessly exhaust all means to bring it back to life, just as what we have successfully done in Boracay,” sabi pa ni Environment Secretary Cimatu.

“At the same time, never again shall we allow irresponsible mining operations to thrive in the area,” dagdag pa nito kasabay ng pagsasabi na ang rehabilitasyon ng Naboc River ay isa sa kanyang prayoridad na programa bilang kalihim ng DENR.

Sinabi pa ni Cimatu, na sa nakalipas na 25 taon ay naging catchment basin ang ilog ng mga nakalalasong kemikal mula sa gold mining at iba pang gawain ng mga tao sa Mt. Diwalwal. Dahil din sa abusadong paggamit ng ilog ay nalason ito ng kemikal partikular na ng mercury. Mayroon na rin itong fecal coliform o dumi ng tao at hayop.

Ang Naboc River ay nagmumula sa itaas na bahagi ng Mt. Diwata at dumadaloy sa anim na barangay sa mga munisipalidad ng Monkayo at Compostela. Kabilang dito ang mga barangay ng Babag, Mt. Diwata, Naboc, Tubo-Tubo, Upper Ulip at Mangyan.

Ayon pa kay Cimatu, ang Mt. Diwalwal ay naging biktima ng kasakiman at iresponsableng pagmimina ng mga tao sa naturang lugar sa loob ng dalawang dekada.

“The system goes green and in full swing. I have no doubt we will succeed in the same way we succeeded in rehabilitating Boracay,” sabi ni Cimatu matapos ang paglagda sa MOA.

Sa kanyang State of the Nation Address noong 2017, hinikayat ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte ang mga mambabatas na bisitahin ang isang ilog sa Diwalwal, bilang pagtukoy sa Naboc River, na dating napakalinis ngunit naging kulay itim na.

Bilang tugon sa pangulo, sinabi ni Cimatu na bumuo ng plano ang DENR upang mabigyan ng solusyon ang problemang ito.

Inatasan na rin ang Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) na magsagawa ng 500-meter sampling interval mula sa Barangay Diwata hanggang sa Barangay Babag sa Monkayo upang matukoy ang kalagayan ng ilog. Nakumpirma din sa pag-aaral ang mataas na antas ng mercury at fecal coliform sa kahabaan ng ilog.

Noong Hulyo ng nakalipas na taon ay naglabas ng Special Order No. 2018-593 ang kalihim na bumubuo sa Provincial Task Force Naboc River (PTFNR) sa Region 11. Ito ay bahagi ng Executive Order No. 217 ni Pangulong Duterte na nagtatatag sa National Task Force Diwalwal.

Ang PTFNR ay nakapag-bigay na ng 1,797 cease and desist orders sa mga may-ari ng ball mills at planta ng carbon-in-pulp nitong nakalipas na Marso. Dahil naman sa “Lihok Alang sa Naboc” ay naging madali ang operasyon sa paglipat ng mga informal settlers at processing plants mula sa Mt. Diwata patungo sa Sitio Mabatas upang matugunan ang environmental concerns sa Diwalwal.

Bukod sa paglilinis ay nagkaroon na din ng information, education at communication activities sa nasabing lugar.

Nagpasalamat din si Cimatu sa mga barangay officials sa lugar na tumutulong sa kampanya upang malinis ang Naboc River sa pamamagitan ng kanilang solid waste management.

Nakapaloob sa MOA na ang DENR at ang Compostela LGU ay magtataguyod at pananatilihin ang pag-unlad ng komunidad sa pamamagitan ng “rational exploration, development, utilization at conservation” ng mga mineral resources sa ilog.

Pangagasiwaan din ng DENR ang lahat ng aktibidad para sa rehabilitasyon ng ilog upang matiyak na sumusunod ang mga ito sa environmental laws, rules and regulation at sa rehabilitation Master Plan sa pakikipagtulungan sa DPWH.

Regular ding magsasagawa ng periodic monitoring ng ilog bilang Water Quality Management Area na nakapaloob sa Republic Act 9275 (RA) o mas kilala sa tawag na Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 upang masuri ang epekto ng gagawing paglilinis sa ilog.

Titiyakin naman ng MGB at ng provincial local government na ang lahat ng buhangin at graba kabilang na ang metallic materials na makukuha sa ilog na may kaukulang permits ay maitatapon ng maayos batay sa RA 7942 o Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Department Administrative Order 2010-21 o ang Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7942 at iba pang kahalintulad na batas. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the provincial government of Compostela Valley (ComVal) for the intensified rehabilitation of the mine-waste contaminated Naboc River in Bgy. Mt Diwata, Compostela Valley.

The Memorandum of Agreement was signed Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by DENR OIC Assistant Secretary for Field Operations-Eastern Mindanao and concurrent Region 11 Executive Director Ruth Tawantawan and Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy at the regional office of the DENR.

Following the MOA signing, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the river will be dredged and desilted after it has been heavily silted and poisoned due to irresponsible and abusive mining operations in the area. This will address pollution in the river and improve the flow of water on its channels.

“We will not allow this river to die and we will relentlessly exhaust all means to bring it back to life, just as what we have successfully done in Boracay,” said Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

“At the same time, never again shall we allow irresponsible mining operations to thrive in the area,” he said, adding that the rehabilitation of Naboc River is among his priority programs as DENR secretary.

According to Cimatu, for the past 25 years, the river has been the catchment basin of all toxic wastes coming from gold mining and human activities in Mt. Diwalwal. Years of abuse and misuse have resulted to the deterioration of the river’s water quality. It is now heavily poisoned by mercury and tainted by fecal coliform.

Naboc River originates from the uppermost slope of Mt. Diwata and traverses through the six barangays in the municipalities of Monkayo and Compostela – Babag, Mt. Diwata, Naboc, Tubo-Tubo, Upper Ulip and Mangyan.

Cimatu further said Mt. Diwalwal “has been the pet prey of man’s insatiable greed – the wanton and irresponsible mining activities in the area” for over two decades.

With the signing of the MOA, “the system goes green and in full swing,” said Cimatu. “I have no doubt we will succeed in the same way we succeeded in rehabilitating Boracay.”

In his 2017 State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called upon lawmakers to visit the river in Diwalwal, in reference to Naboc River, whose waters he described as turning from pristine to black.

In response to this, Cimatu said, the DENR has crafted a plan of action to “once and for all address the problem.”

On orders of Cimatu, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has conducted a 500-meter sampling interval from Bgy. Diwata down to Bgy. Babag in Monkayo to assess and evaluate the condition of the river. Results confirmed that the whole stretch of the river has exceeded the standard level of mercury and fecal coliform.

The environment chief also issued Special Order No. 2018-593 on July last year which created the Provincial Task Force Naboc River (PTFNR) in Region 11. The task force was pursuant to the Executive Order No. 217 of President Duterte which created the National Task Force Diwalwal.

The PTFNR has served 1,797 cease and desist orders (CDOs) to ball mills and carbon-in-pulp plant owners on March this year. It also undertook the “Lihok Alang sa Naboc” operation which aimed the immediate transfer of informal settlers and all processing plants from Mt. Diwata to Sitio Mabatas in Bgy. Upper Ulip in Monkayo to address Diwalwal’s environmental concerns.

Clean up, information, education and communication activities were also conducted in the area.

Cimatu thanked barangay officials in the area who have campaigned to clean Naboc River through solid waste management.

Under the MOA, DENR and the Compostela LGU commit to promote sustainable community development through the rational exploration, development, utilization and conservation of mineral resources in the river.

For its part, the DENR shall have supervisory authority in all activities over the course of the rehabilitation of the river and ensure strict adherence to all relevant environmental laws, rules and regulations and the rehabilitation Master Plan in collaboration with Department of Public Works and Highways.

It shall also conduct periodic monitoring of the river as Water Quality Management Area under Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 to evaluate the effects of the clean up on the river.

The MGB and the provincial local government shall also ensure that all sand and gravel materials, as well as metallic materials extracted from the river, pursuant to mining permits are disposed of in accordance with RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Department Administrative Order 2010-21 or the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7942, and relevant laws, rules and regulations. ###

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has lauded the efforts of the Dynamic Art Group for organizing an art exhibit in support of the ongoing rehabilitation of the highly polluted Manila Bay.

The exhibit, which ran from June 18 to July 27 at The Gallery of Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque City, features paintings of the historic bay during its glory days or long before the government decided to place it on rehabilitation due to serious environmental degradation.

“Through this exhibit, we are reminded about the glory of Manila Bay back during the days so that we may focus on the goal of sustaining the same thing for the next generations,” Cimatu said.

The paintings were created by artists Vic Bachoco, Esther Garcia, Maxi Ramos, Jun Rocha, August Santiago, Fernando Sena, Fritz Silorio, Bing Siochi, Ely Tablizo, and Myk Velasco.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, who delivered a speech during the opening of the exhibit, emphasized that cleaning Manila Bay also aims to clean the culture of the Filipino people.

“It is the next generation who will suffer with what we are doing, and that, we will not permit,” Antiporda said.

He added: “When we started this project, people thought we were crazy, and yet we succeeded [with Boracay]. And now, Boracay is too small of a project compared with Manila Bay. Now, if we will succeed here in Manila Bay, Manila Bay will be too small of a project if we clean up the whole country.”

Paintings that are displayed in the exhibit include the Manila Bay Yacht Club with the famous Manila Bay sunset and a portrait of Secretary Cimatu.

The Manila Bay rehabilitation was launched in January this year pursuant to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive.

In 2008, the Supreme Court issued a writ of continuing mandamus ordering the DENR and 12 other agencies to restore the waters of Manila Bay to Class SB level.

Class SB level classifies coastal and marine waters as safe for regular use by the public for activities such as bathing, swimming and skin diving. #

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has urged informal settler families (ISFs) living along waterways to do their share in the Manila Bay rehabilitation by availing themselves of the government’s relocation program.

Cimatu said the relocation of ISFs would hasten ongoing efforts to rehabilitate polluted creeks and other waterways that drain into the historic bay, which the government wants to become “swimmable” by December this year.

The environment chief made the appeal when he and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso inspected last weekend an area along Estero de San Antonio Abad in Malate that used to be occupied by 50 ISFs.

The area has been cleared of illegal structures after 50 ISFs agreed to transfer to a relocation site administered by the National Housing Authority (NHA) in Caloocan City’s Tala district, leaving behind 20 ISFs residing along one of Manila’s filthiest esteros.

“We would like to appeal to the remaining 20 families to comply with the requirements of the NHA, so that we can already move them to their new location, to a better place. Hindi ritosaibabaw ng estero,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu noted the significant improvement in Estero de San Antonio Abad since majority of the 71 ISFs living along the creek have left and their houses demolished by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

He revealed that the fecal coliform level in the estero has “dramatically gone down.”

“Napakataas ng coliform level nitodatinaabotsa 1.3 billion [most probable number per 100 milliliters], perongayonumabotnalangsamga 10 million [mpn/100ml],” he said.

However, Cimatu said the cleanup efforts will continue until the coliform bacteria count reaches acceptable level.

“Priority natinangesteronaitonamalinisandahilito ay direktanapumupuntasa Manila Bay,” he pointed out.

The former military chief said the fences surrounding the creek will be removed to comply with the three-meter easement rule and allow more spaces for garbage trucks and people who would take part in the cleanup operations.

The DENR, he added, will continue to coordinate with the Manila city government for the rehabilitation of the Malate creek and other esteros leading to the Manila Bay. #