Press Releases

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15 08 14 Endangered natural heritage WEB


Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has offered a P100,000 reward for the arrest of those responsible for the death of Philippine eagle “Pamana”.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Pamana. This is not the first time that a Philippine eagle was shot to death. Those responsible for this barbaric act must be arrested and punished for committing this environmental crime,” Paje said. 

He also said that while Pamana’s death was a setback to the country’s biodiversity conservation pro

gram, the government will continue to pursue its breeding program for the raptor through the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF).

Pamana, a three-year-old female Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), was found dead by biologists from the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) and forest guards at the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) in Davao Oriental last Sunday. A puncture and metal fragment on her right breast indicated she had died of a gunshot wound.

Paje has condemned the killing even as he called on law enforcement units in the province to assist regional environment officials in hunting down the perpetrators.

He said that the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Protected Area Management Board of MHRWS and the Philippine Eagle Foundation are now conducting a full investigation on the incident.

“We are distressed that, despite intensified awareness campaigns by various stakeholders, some people still have a blatant disregard for our natural heritage, which, sadly, is what Pamana’s name means,” he lamented.

The environment chief also urged local residents to help authorities track down the killers.

Paje said that the critically endangered Philippine Eagle is protected under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. As such, anyone found guilty of killing wildlife species can be imprisoned from six to 12 years, with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P1 million.

Moreover, illegal hunting within the MHWRS, which is a protected area, is also punishable by a jail term of six years and a fine of up to P500,000.

Pamana was released within the MHRWS just last June 12. Ironically, she was rehabilitated by the PEF after DENR personnel had rescued her from gunshot wounds three years ago.

In her necropsy report, PEF’s veterinarian Dr. Ana Lascano reported the bird was already in “advanced state of decomposition” when its carcass was found around one kilometer away from the release site in San Isidro, Davao Oriental. The estimated date of death was on August 10, when field workers observed that a transmitter attached to her back had stopped sending radio signals.

The Philippine eagle, hailed the “world’s noblest flier” by former aviator Charles Lindbergh, is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

There are an estimated 400 pairs remaining in the wild today. ###

cleanAirSummit front webThe Philippines is playing host to a regional meeting tackling best mining practices in East and Southeast Asian regions.

The week-long event, which began on June 22, is organized by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Geologists and mining engineers, representing mining regulatory agencies from nine member-countries of the Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP), are in Manila for the meeting.

CCOP is an intergovernmental organization whose mission is to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of applied geoscience programs in order to contribute to economic development and improvement of the quality of life in the two regions.

The ongoing meeting provides a forum to engage in meaningful dialogue on mining with focus on mine rehabilitation and decommissioning.

MGB Assistant Director Elmer Billedo said the Philippines stands to benefit from the meeting, which aims to facilitate greater knowledge sharing on best mining practices, given the country’s vast and rich mineral resource deposits.

Billedo said the meeting is also part of the country’s proposal and commitment to come up with a coffee table book highlighting success stories of developing previous mine affected areas.

He said the book, which will compile the best stories from the CCOP member-countries, will prove that “there is life after mining.”

Billedo, meanwhile, underscored the need to shift public perception to mining as a “constructive” activity, as most of the economic and material needs of a country are supplied by the mines.

“It is also high time for us to see that mining of areas is only temporary. After mining, it is entirely possible to convert the use of the land into something that is more sustainable for the community and for the environment,” Billedo said.

The MGB official explained that re-vegetation, if not feasible, was not the only option in rehabilitating mined areas, as practiced in other countries.

He cited the case of Malaysia, which successfully converted some previously mined areas into theme parks, recreational and residential areas.

Billedo said the coffee table book is targeted for production by October 2016, and may be distributed to local governments of CCOP member-countries, as funding allows.

The ongoing regional meeting allows participants to share experiences on other aspects of mine rehabilitation, such as installing facilities to prevent pollution, and passing or amending existing legislations.

Participants will also tour various mining areas in Palawan, including those administered by the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. and Coral Bay Nickel Corp. Both companies are implementing “progressive rehabilitation” of their respective mined areas.

They will also visit the mining site of the Palawan Quicksilver Mines Inc. (PQMI) in Puerto Princesa City, which used to yield mercury. The site has been abandoned by the PQMI and is currently being rehabilitated by the government.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is urging the public to continue supporting government efforts to reduce air pollution as it launched a new public information campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care and use of clean fuel.

At the 7th Annual Clean Air Forum held on Tuesday at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Quezon City, DENR Undersecretary and concurrent Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Director Jonas Leones announced the launching of Perwisyong Usok! Pigilancampaign, with the tagline, Konting Abala, Laking Ginhawa.

“Konting Abala refers to simple acts like proper vehicle maintenance and the use of clean fuel, while Laking Ginhawa refers to benefits like less harmful smoke being emitted by vehicles, which in turn, cause less health and financial burdens. We believe that summing up doing even little acts, goes a long way,” Leones said.

Leones said the campaign will escalate in the coming months with more newspaper advertisements, billboards and even celebrity endorsement.

“We seek the support of our various government organizations, civil society, private sector, academe and media, to own this campaign, implement it in our respective spheres, expand dissemination of the same, use the campaign symbols, to enjoin more sectors’ awareness about it,” he said.

He added: “We want to strengthen appreciation of our people of the need to achieve clean air, so commitment becomes strong, and enforcement becomes effective.”

A joint undertaking by the DENR and the Partnership for Clean Air Inc., the Clean Air Forum was established to review on a yearly basis the progress of Republic Act No. 8749, or the Philippine Clean Air Act. This year’s theme is “Towards Identifying the Economic Benefits of Clean Air: A Call to Action.”

Leones said the DENR has been zeroing in on motor vehicles, which contribute about 70 to 80 percent of air pollution in Metro Manila.

“The number of vehicles plying the streets of Metro Manila has truly increased, especially in this day and age where purchasing vehicles has been made easier and more affordable. But along with the convenience that it brings, we sometimes overlook the major inconvenience, which is air pollution,” Leones said.

According to the DENR official, it is imperative to know not only the health benefits but also the economic benefits of having clean air.

“Using cleaner fuel, for example, not only cleans the air. It is also very economic since it prolongs the life of your engine, reducing maintenance costs. Breathing cleaner air also reduces the risk of diseases like lung cancer,” Leones said.

“Some of us may think of these as short-term benefits, but in the long run, having cleaner air, is not just good for our health, but also for our pockets. The time and effort we invest in cleaning the air are definitely worth it.”

He said that strong public support is crucial in ensuring the success of anti-air pollution programs being implemented by various government agencies, with help from civil society organizations, the private sector, the academe, student leaders and other sectors.

Leones also shared the following initiatives undertaken by the DENR and its partners in combating air pollution:

· Installation of non-stop automated air quality monitoring stations in each of the 17 local government units in Metro Manila. Real time results are available online at the EMB’s website.

· Cancellation of the licenses of 28 erring private emission testing centers and suspension of 49 others. Show cause orders had also been issued against 165 emission testing centers.

· Expansion of roadside anti-smoke belching operations in major thoroughfares in Metro Manila, especially at night where air pollution rates are high.

· Strict monitoring of ongoing major construction projects for total suspended particulates or pollutants that have adverse effects like respiratory diseases, when inhaled.

· Issuance of a DENR administrative order that requires oil companies to ensure the availability of Euro 4 fuels by July 1, 2015, and compliance with Euro 4 emission standards by all new vehicles by 2016. Euro 4 fuels contain less sulfur content and emit less harmful substances in the air. #

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has welcomed a nature and adventure park in Negros Oriental province as its newest partner in wildlife conservation and in the fight against illegal wildlife trade and poaching.

The DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) recently forged an agreement with Dreamland Nature and Adventure Park in Amlan town, which agreed to become a repository of animals rescued and confiscated from wildlife traffickers.

Owned and managed by the municipal government of Amlan, Dreamland attracts tourists and local folk with its nature and wildlife adventures. The 16-hectare park recently acquired wildlife species, including wild cats from the Middle East and camels from Australia.

BMB Director Theresa Mundita Lim and Amlan Mayor Bentham dela Cruz signed the agreement during simple rites held at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City. Negros Oriental Rep. George Arnaiz, Amlan Vice Mayor Gino dela Cruz and other BMB officials witnessed the signing.

Lim said the partnership was part of the BMB’s continuing management and improvement of its wildlife rescue centers (WRCs), which rehabilitate injured, sick and orphaned native wildlife and releases healthy animals to their natural habitat.

She explained that the BMB has the authority to dispose of some of the animals in its custody through different modes, including partnership with zoos and other animal centers.

“Some of our confiscated protected species cannot be released back to the wild, so one of our options is to turn them over to qualified institutions for co-management,” Lim pointed out.

According to the BMB chief, the collaboration would boost government efforts to educate the public on the importance of preserving wildlife.

For his part, Mayor Dela Cruz said the initiative would serve as Amlan’s contribution to wildlife conservation. “If we don’t do this now, future generations may be able to see only in pictures what some of our wildlife look like,” he said.

Under the agreement, the BMB will “loan” to Dreamland “certain species and quantity of wildlife fauna” from its other WRCs. The bureau will also document and monitor Dreamland’s care of the animals, and provide the necessary technical assistance.

Dreamland, on the other hand, will assume full responsibility, including shouldering all expenses for the transfer and care of the animals.

The facility will also be allowed to acquire additional species from authorized sources, but the loaned animals and its future progenies or offspring will remain as government property.

The agreement shall remain in effect for five years and is renewable.

Dela Cruz said the municipal government is expected to gain a 10 percent share in the income of the park which, aside from being a wildlife facility, is also being developed for other recreational purposes. ###

The Philippines will celebrate this year’s World Water Day (WWD) with a focus on the vital role of water in achieving sustainable development.

A series of activities leading up to the WWD 2015 on March 22 is planned by organizers led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

This year’s theme, “Water and Sustainable Development,” seeks to emphasize the importance of water in relation to health, ecosystems, urbanization, industrial processes, energy, food and equality.

The annual celebration kicks off with the 2015 Water and Sustainable Awards, which will recognize “water champions” consisting of organizations and individuals who are helping out their communities in addressing water issues and promoting sustainable development. It is co-presented by the DENR and water concessionaire Maynilad and will be held today at the UP Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City.

For March 17, the Laguna Lake Development Authority will hold a tour of Lake Pandin in San Pablo; the DENR-Region 3 will conduct simultaneous river cleanup in the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan and Bataan, as well as portions of the Manila Bay; and the DENR-National Capital Region (NCR) and Manila Water will begin a two-day lecture series on the importance of water.

Employees of the local governments of Kawit and Noveleta towns in Cavite will join the DENR and Maynilad in a two-day tree planting activity under the “Plant for Life: Save Bacoor-Cañaco-Manila Bay” program, starting March 17.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) will hold a symposium on “Water Security towards Sustainable Development” in Quezon City on March 18.

Three activities are lined up for March 19. These are the water education seminar for elementary and high school teachers to be held at the Air Quality Management Training Center of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB); the “Scubasurero” underwater cleanup activity in Masinloc, Zambales, organized by the DENR-Region 3; and a roundtable discussion on possible amendments to the Water Code of the Philippines arranged by the National Water Resources Board and the Philippine Water Partnership.

Other activities are as follows:

March 19-20: DENR-NCR and Maynilad will hold interactive educational activities under the “WWD 2015 Daloy Dunong: Water Education Drive” for elementary pupils in the cities of Muntinlupa and Manila. The Local Water Utilities Administration will also conduct the two-day Buhay KYUT (health, hygiene and water conservation) program in Iloilo City.

March 22: The EMB and the River Basin Control Office will be joined by various local government units in a river cleanup in Malabon City. The WWD 2015 Run for Water and Sustainable Development, sponsored by Maynilad, will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City.

March 23 and 26: The ERDB and the Department of Education will lead the National Conference on Climate Change and Water Safety for Health, and the “Gising Diwa: Likas Kayang Gamit ng Yamang Tubig” for participants from Laguna, and Tayabas and Pagbilao towns in Quezon.

March 25-27: Water Philippines 2015 Expo and Conference and the Pipes and Tubing Philippines 2015 Expo, both sponsored by UBM Water Philippines, will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

WWD was first celebrated in 1993 when the United Nations declared March 22 of every year as World Day for Water. In the Philippines, the celebration lasts for at least one week by virtue of Executive Order No. 258 issued in 1996, adopting the Philippine Water Week. #