DENR hopes to scale up Panay forest and climate protection project

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hoping to expand nationwide a highly acclaimed forest and climate change protection project, which resulted in the sustainable management of resources in areas surrounding a mountain range on Panay Island.

According to DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, the recently completed Forest and Climate Protection Panay Project (ForClim)—an eight-year initiative funded and implemented by the German and Philippine governments—is worth replicating in other parts of the country.

“ForClim has proved successful in integrating biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation through sustainable management of forest resources. With the right support from our partner organizations, hopefully we can bring this kind of success to other areas in the country in the near future,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu issued the statement after the implementation of ForClim’s second phase was finally completed this year. A simple closing ceremony held recently at the DENR central office was led by DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones and Cimatu’s chief of staff Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia.

ForClim II, which ran from June 2014 to February 2018, was financed through a grant of 5.95 million euros from the German Ministry for the Environment, Natural Conservation and Nuclear Safety, with a local counterpart funding of 250,000 euros from the DENR. The first phase was implemented from 2010 to 2014.

Just like the first phase, ForClim II was implemented by German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit or GIZ and DENR. The project covered the Panay Mountain Range and 23 adjacent municipalities.

Throughout its implementation, ForClim II effectively managed and governed over 30,000 hectares of forest and connected systems of protected areas in Panay.

It made sure that Panay Mountain Range, given its globally significant biodiversity, was protected and natural resources in the adjacent areas were managed and used by local communities in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner.

The project introduced innovations and approaches in forest land use planning, including the establishment of critical habitats, forest conservation and management, forest rehabilitation, agroforestry, and income generation for local communities.

It followed a conservation and development approach providing incentives for sustainable resource management such as agroforestry, upland agriculture and use of bioenergy.

ForClim II also worked towards the protection of natural forests and rehabilitation of degraded forests, resulting in reduced carbon emissions of 453,353 tons from 2011 to 2017.

The project had trained more than 813 people, hired 725 forest guards, and produced forest protection agreements covering 18,732 hectares.

Garcia, in accepting on behalf of the DENR the document containing the project’s outputs, said those accomplishments “encapsulate” the department’s Program for Environment and Natural Resources for Restoration, Rehabilitation and Development or PRRD.

PRRD, which matches the initials of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is a five-year roadmap that aims to “protect the country’s natural resources from naturally occuring and human-induced degradation.” ### 


DENR backs ordinance banning single-use plastics in Boracay

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has applauded the initiative of the local government unit (LGU) of Malay in Aklan province to ban single-use plastics in Boracay and the rest of the municipality.

Municipal Ordinance No. 386, Series of 2018, prohibits the use of single-use or disposable plastic items by hotels, resorts, restaurants and establishments in the accommodation business.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny Antiporda said that the ordinance was a welcome move on the part of Malay LGU to augment government rehabilitation efforts in the pollution-challenged Boracay, which has been closed to tourists for six months until October 26.

To recall, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in June that a ban on single-use plastics would help ease the garbage problem on the world-famous island and prevent further degradation of its environment.

“We commend the LGU of Malay for heeding the Secretary’s call by coming up with such ordinance,” Antiporda said. “Single-use plastics, particularly those used in packaging, have been identified as a contributing factor to Boracay’s mounting waste problem, not only on land but in surrounding waters.”

At the same time, Antiporda said the single-use plastic ban is a major boost to government efforts to fight plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, wildlife, waterways and oceans, and the environment.

“The DENR is willing to provide Malay with any assistance in the implementation of this ban and all its other programs to manage solid waste,” Antiporda said.

“Malay can become a model not only for Aklan or the entire Panay Island, but also to other LGUs with ecotourism sites,” he added.

The ban covers disposable plastic products like toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, shaving razors, shower caps, sachets of shampoo or conditioner, liquid body soaps, combs, bottled water, straws, spoons, forks, knives, and sachets of coffee, sugar and creamer.

As eco-friendly alternatives, establishments are encouraged to use items such as reusable or refillable dispensers and metal utensils.

The penalties for violators are as follows: stern warning and a fine of P2,000 for first offense; confiscation of single-use plastics and a fine of P2,500 for second offense; and cancellation of business permit to operate for third offense.

The latest ordinance complements Municipal Ordinance No. 320, Series of 2012, which prohibits the use of plastic bags for dry goods, regulates its utilization on wet goods, and bans the use of styrofoam/styropor.

Last year, the environmental group Greenpeace ranked the Philippines as the “third-worst polluter into the world’s oceans” after China and Indonesia.

The Philippines got a similar ranking in terms of plastic trash in the 2015 report on plastic pollution released by Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business Environment.

According to the report, the country has become the world’s third largest source of plastic leaking into the ocean and has among the highest trash collection rates in Southeast Asia. # 


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