DENR promotes Baliangao Protected Landscape & Seascape as eco-tourism site
The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Cagayan de Oro City expressed full support to the local government move of promoting the Baliangao Protected Landscape and Seascape (BPLS) as an eco-tourism site.
In a report to DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, OIC Regional Executive Director Ruth Tawan-tawan said that her office has embarked on a close partnership with the municipal government of Baliangao in Misamis Occidental for the development of the protected area as an eco-tourism site.
Tawan-tawan said that the protected area, which covers around 300 hectares in barangays Tugas, Misom, Sinian and Landing, is home to 21 species of mangroves, with bakauan as the dominant species. It also boasts of a 75-hectare marine sanctuary where 39 colorful fish species could be found, and serves as a research laboratory that offers educational and scientific values for marine researchers or related studies.
Among the eco-tourism activities allowed in the area include boating, snorkeling, scuba diving and islet hopping. Nature walk can be done in the boardwalk of the Baliangao Protected Landscape and Seascape. The boardwalk, which was constructed beneath the mangrove forests, connects the islets from the mainland.
Proclamation No. 418 issued on November 22, 2000 declares the wetland areas of Baliangao as a protected area. Pursuant to the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 and its implementing rules and regulations, a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) was established to strengthen the conservation and protection efforts in the area.
Last year, the DENR, in cooperation with local stakeholders, initiated a three-hectare mangrove rehabilitation project in the protected area in support of the National Greening Program (NGP).
Other activities conducted in BPLS include managing the protected area, implementing the Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS) and the conduct of nature conservation, education and extension in schools and communities.
Prior to its proclamation as a protected area, BPLS was originally known as the Misom Sea Sanctuary established by the local government of Baliangao, Misamis Occidental pursuant to Resolution No. 01, series of 1991. The 74-hectare marine reserve at Brgy. Misom was established by the PIPULI Foundation, Inc., an environmental non-government organization.
DENR intensifies issuance of residential free patents in NCR
The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has intensified its campaign to process and issue residential free patents in Metro Manila.
DENR-NCR Executive Director Neria Andin said the move is to enable qualified residents to have their residential lots titled speedily and at less cost to the lot owners.
“I have already directed our technical people from the lands sector to reach out to residents and explain how they could avail of free patents speedily and at less cost,” Andin said.
She also said the fasttracking of land applications is among the priority tasks that DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has ordered all regional offices to undertake to provide equal rights to millions of qualified lot owners to have their titles perfected.
From January to June this year, Andin said her office is targeting to process and issue at least 5,000 residential free patents within Metro Manila.
According to her, the issuance of residential free patents is now part of the land disposition program of the government by virtue of Republic Act No. 10023, otherwise known as the Residential Free Patent Act. It is being implemented not only in Metro Manila but all across the country in consonance with the thrust of the government to provide equal rights to millions of Filipinos to own unregistered lands which they have occupied for at least 10 years.
Areas eligible for issuance of free patents under RA 10023 include untitled public land zoned as residential areas, including townsites declared prior to the enactment of the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.
Zoned residential areas within delisted military reservations or abandoned military camps are also covered by the law provided these are not intended for public service or public use.
The size of residential areas eligible for titling under the law should not exceed 200 square meters for highly urbanized cities such as Metro Manila, 500 sq. meters for other cities, 750 sq. meters for first and second class municipalities, and 1,000 sq. meters for all other municipalities.
DENR partners with LGUs for clean-up of waterways in Iloilo.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has provided around P5 million in fund assistance to the local government units of Iloilo City and Oton for the balling, removal, transplanting and pruning of mangroves and nipa clumps that impede the flow of water along Dungon creek and Batiano river, respectively.
DENR Region 6 Executive Director Adeluisa Siapno explained that the mangroves to be removed will be balled to enhance their survival when transplanted. She also said her agency will be supervising the activity to ensure that only those that have been marked to be obstructing the flow of water shall be removed.
Siapno said that some P2.9 million have been provided by the DENR to the Iloilo City government for the balling, removal and transplanting of 1,666 mangrove trees and 630 nipa clumps along the stretch of Dungon creek, covering three barangays of Mandurriao, four barangays in Jaro, and Brgy. Magsaysay in Lapaz.
On the other hand, a total of P2.077 million has also been provided to the Oton municipal government by the DENR for the balling, removal, transplanting and pruning of 1,099 mangroves and 4,203 nipa clumps and other tree species situated in the town’s six barangays, namely Alegre, San Antonio, San Nicolas, Poblacion West, Poblacion North and Tagbac Sur, to enhance of water flow in Batiano river.
Siapno said the partnership forged by her agency with the LGUs of Iloilo City and Oton was in consonance with the thrust of DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje to engage other stakeholders in the protection and rehabilitation of the country’s environment and natural resources.
She also said the clearing of Dungon creek and Batiano river is part of the government effort to protect and rehabilitate the Iloilo River, and to address flooding resulting from the growing intensity of typhoons that visit the country due to climate change.
Locals support new management plan for Lake Danao National Park
The city government of Ormoc and a group of farmers surrounding the lake were among the local stakeholders who have expressed support for the updated management plan for the Lake Danao National Park, it was announced by DENR-Region 8 Executive Director Manolito Ragub.
“With the people’s positive gesture, including the support committed by the Ormoc city government, we are now looking forward to implementing the plan with high hopes of attaining the pre-set goals of making the Lake Danao National Park a top tourist attraction in this part of the country,” Ragub said.
According to Ragub, the regional office initiated the revision and updating of the Lake Danao’s management plan in consonance with the thrust of DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje of making programs and projects on environmental protection and natural resources management more responsive to current concerns, and to involve a wider participation of stakeholders in the planning process.
He also stressed that the revised plan was designed to transform the 2,193 hectare- national park into a climate change resilient center of biodiversity, adding that important inputs to the new plan were the city’s Ecotourism Development Plan and the Lake Danao Site Development Plan. The original management plan was crafted sometime in 2009.
The plan also contains updates on the physical and biodiversity data of the park, new management structure and the roles of stakeholders, and financing mechanisms to ensure the park’s sustainability.
Measures to address climate change concerns, as well as management standards and guidelines were also identified to attain the plan’s six goals of biodiversity conservation, improved quality of life, eco-tourism promotion, sustainability of the park, informed lake users and waste management.
Ormoc City Tourism officer Ira Bantasan said the city government has allotted some P5 million for infrastructure and other activities at the park, adding that the on-going construction of the view deck and rest rooms will soon be completed.
She called on the village residents to help in the proper maintenance of the park’s surroundings and facilities to entice more park visitors.
DENR to rehabilitate ‘Pablo’-damaged reforestation areas in Comval, Davao Or.
The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Davao City is set to start the rehabilitation of upland areas affected by typhoon ‘Pablo’ under the National Greening Program (NGP).
This after DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje directed the prioritization of typhoon-ravaged areas in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental that will be reforested or rehabilitated under the NGP this year.
DENR-Region 11 Executive Director Joselin Marcus E. Fragada said his office has earmarked a social mobilization fund of PhP 34,652,000 to reforest some 4,372 hectares in Compostela Valley and 4,291 hectares in Davao Oriental.
Fragada also said the rehabilitation of the areas shall be done using the cash for work scheme but shall be utilizing rehabilitation funds of the department.
“Through the Cash for Work Scheme, members of people’s organizations (POs) and barangay residents will be hired for a continuous period of 90 days for site preparation, hauling of seedlings and the actual tree planting. They shall be paid using the social mobilization fund of NGP following the minimum wage law, which is presently at PhP 301.00 per day,” Fragada said.
According to Fragada, around 7,533 hectares of tree plantations established from 2009-2012 under the Upland Development Program and NGP have been damaged due to typhoon Pablo.
MGB redistributes geohazard maps in Western Visayas.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 6, has distributed anew copies of geohazard maps with scale of 1:50,000 to local government units in Western Visayas.
DENR-Region 6 Executive Director Adeluisa Siapno said the redistribution of the maps was in accordance with the instruction of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje to level up the department’s technical assistance to local government units to reduce the impact of natural disasters on people, the environment and infrastructure.
“Geohazard maps identify the level of susceptibility of an area to not only flooding but also to landslides. With the maps at their disposal, the local leaders and their constituents can already work on strategies to minimize the impact of calamities,” Siapno said.
Prior to this, in 2011, the DENR has already distributed geohazard maps to the LGUs, including the conduct of the orientation workshops on the use of the maps.
She also stressed that the MGB continuously issues landslide and flooding advisories to local officials as soon as the weather bureau confirms the existence of weather disturbance. “Unfornately,” she said, “we continue to suffer in grief from loss of lives and properties due to inadequate preparations.”
The MGB represents the DENR in the Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Committee of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC). The RDRRMC is an inter-agency council created by virtue of Republic Act 10121, otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, tasked not only to inform the public about incoming calamities such as typhoons but also to help communities reduce the risk of disasters.
The said law acknowledges that part of disaster risk reduction and management is the need to “identify(ing) hazard-prone areas and other factors which contribute to people’s exposure to disasters.”
“This is where geohazards maps play a valuable role, for it contains an accurate guide on areas where flooding and landslide will mostly likely to occur in case a typhoon strikes, so as to reduce the loss of lives and properties brought about by natural disasters,” Siapno said.
In a related development, DENR-Region 6 geologist Mae Magarzo disclosed that the MGB is now in the process of completing digitizing all geo-hazard maps with scale of 1:10,000, and in checking the identified relocation sites for landslide susceptibility.
DENR releases hawksbill turtle back to sea in Negros Occ .
The continuing campaign of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in biodiversity conservation is beginning to bear fruit with the recent release of a captured hawksbill turtle in the sea off Negros Occidental.
DENR-Region 6 Executive Director Adeluisa Siapno said the hawksbill turtle, commonly called pawikan, was in good physical condition and without any trace of injury when it was inspected by field personnel of Pontevedra’s agriculture office, local police and DENR’s CENRO-Bacolod City immediately after its accidental capture last month. Its carapace measures 66 centimeters long and 51 centimeters wide.
“The team found the pawikan to be in good health, no trace of injury, not even a sign of entanglement. They released it back to its natural habitat, knowing fully well that it can survive on its own,” Siapno said.
Siapno expressed appreciation for the concern and cooperation shown by the community. “The discovery, which was accidental according to the community, was immediately relayed to us and other concerned offices, that’s why we were able to respond on time,” she stressed.
She also said that with proper orientation, the community can be a strong partner in biodiversity conservation as she shared the message of DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje in his constant call for public participation and support to environmental protection.
“As DENR Secretary Paje always says, environmental protection, including biodiversity conservation, is not the concern of the department alone or the government, but all Filipinos,” she said.
FREE PATENT DISTRIBUTION IN TARLAC CITY
An unidentified resident of Tarlac City receives a free patent from DENR Region 3 Executive Director Maximo Dichoso of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). She is one of 153 landless farmers in the city that benefited from the land distribution and poverty alleviation program of the Aquino administration, covering more than 61 hectares of agricultural lands inside the Paquillao Resettlement Site in Sitio Care. Also in photo is Region 3 Technical Director for Land Management Tirso Parian, Jr. (to Dichoso’s left).
Joint DENR-PNP-PA team confiscates P1.3M forest contraband in Nueva Ecija
The anti-illegal logging campaign embarked by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army in Nueva Ecija last October has resulted in the confiscation of about 20,000 board feet of forest contraband worth at least P1.3 million.
In its report to DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, DENR Regional Executive Director for Central Luzon Maximo Dichoso said the confiscations included some 8,024 board feet of premium hardwood dipterocarp valued at half-million pesos recovered from the backyard of a furniture maker and 329 sacks of charcoal.
Dichoso said the campaign daubed “CamPlan N.E. 10.12” was carried out by operatives from the DENR’s Talavera and Cabanatuan offices, local police and the 702nd Brigade and 56th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army to neutralize within the month the illegal logging syndicates operating in Gen. Tinio town, a known “hotbed” of illegal logging in Nueva Ecija.
Seized from the backyard of furniture maker Apid Maducdoc of Sitio Batog of Brgy. Rio Chico were contraband wood of Yakal, Bagtikan, and Apitong, which informants said were reportedly cut from the mountains of Sierra Madre in Dona Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan, and floated down the river of Sumacbao in Gen. Tinio.
According to Dichoso, his office is set to file criminal charges against Maducdoc for violations of Section 68 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines, as amended by Executive Order No. 277 of 1987. Maducdoc has since remained at large.
Dichoso also ordered a probe on the involvement of certain local officials who abetted illegal logging operations in Gen. Tinio.
Resolution No. 2011-006 of the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (AILTF) states that all forest products coming from natural and residual forests after February 28, 2012 shall be considered as property of the state.
The DENR has identified the towns of Bongabon, General Tinio, and Gabaldon as illegal logging “hotspots” in Nueva Ecija.
Last year’s forest protection campaign in Central Luzon yielded 212,517 board feet of assorted forest products and conveyances estimated to worth at least P7 million.
DENR monitors charcoal making in Bicol
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Executive Director Gilbert Gonzales has directed his field officials to strictly monitor wood charcoal making in the Bicol region.
“The intention of the directive is to control indiscriminate cutting of trees in consonance with log ban policy of President Aquino and also to put a stop to the denudation of Bicol’s forests,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales’s order mandates all provincial and community officers of DENR-Region 5 to take stock of, and inspect all establishments involved in the buying and selling of wood charcoal, as well as determine the source origin of the wood charcoal being supplied in the local market.
The field officials were likewise under order to refrain from issuing Certificate of Verification or CoV to transport wood charcoal without seeking clearance from higher authorities.
“Transporting wood charcoal without the CoV and other permits is a violation of DENR Administrative Order 32 issued in 1997. Under such circumstances, the DENR can apprehend the tools, implements, conveyances used in the conduct of illegal tree cutting and/or charcoal making, and may also initiate administrative and criminal proceedings, if warranted,” Gonzales said.
The forest regulation sector of DENR was likewise ordered to provide 24-hour manpower support in checkpoints.
Based on reports, a total of 2,451 sacks of wood charcoal have been seized from January to September this year in the six Bicol provinces, namely: Camarines Sur (1,270); Albay (286); Camarines Norte (163); Masbate (72) and Catanduanes (5).