Press Releases

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu challenged the various offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to "go down to the grassroots level and involve more people and communities to the agency’s programs and projects," during the celebration of the agency's 34th anniversary on June 10.

"For instance, make as many people as possible aware that we have forest guards and other employees who put their health and lives at stake defending our environment," Cimatu said during the celebration held via face-to-face and web conference, which was attended by more than 1,500 DENR employees across the country.

This year marks a momentous occasion as this is the first time that the DENR celebrated its anniversary with all its employees—from the regions, bureaus, attached agencies, and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENRO) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENRO)—attending the event online via Zoom telecommunication application.

"Let more people know how far we have gone in our Enhanced National Greening Program and other DENR programs and projects implemented in the field that resulted in communities' lives getting better," he added.

The DENR was created on June 10, 1987, by virtue of Executive Order 192 reorganizing the previous Department of Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources and transferring the energy matters to the Office of the President during that time.

With the theme "Celebrating with A Greener and Safer Environment," the 34th DENR founding anniversary also featured the Environmental Awards for Governance and Leadership Excellence or EAGLE Award 2020, which is conferred to the most outstanding regional executive director, regional director, and implementing and supervising officers of the PENRO and CENRO.

For the second time, Arleigh Adorable of DENR-Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) was hailed as the top-performing Regional Executive Director and was awarded a trophy and a cash prize of P100,000. Adorable was first conferred with the award in 2019.

Mario Ancheta of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) and Ma. Victoria Abrera of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) were recognized as top regional directors for their respective line bureaus. Abrera also won the same award in 2019.

Delia Benitez of PENRO-Eastern Samar was recognized as the top Supervising PENRO, while Merlyn Dumalahay of PENRO-Camiguin bagged the top Implementing PENRO.

Benitez and Dumalahay each received a trophy and a cash prize of P75,000.

Like Adorable and Abrera, Dumalahay also won the top Implementing PENRO for the second time around since she was first awarded in 2019.

A supervising PENRO heads a provincial office with sub-offices headed by the CENROs, while an Implementing PENRO heads a lone DENR field office in the entire province.

The top performing CENRO for 2020 was awarded to Imelda Casiwan from CENRO Pinukpuk in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Casiwan received a trophy and a cash award amounting to P50,000.

The EAGLE Award aims to "strengthen the culture of organizational and leadership excellence in the DENR as it carries out its important role in ensuring the conservation, management, development, and proper use of the country’s environment and natural resources."

It also aims to "assess the efficiency and effectiveness in delivering their official functions, and to recognize and commend the performance of the field officials for their exemplary leadership and major accomplishments and contributions in pursuing the department’s goals and objectives."

Two major areas have been the basis for the assessment of the nominees: physical and financial performance and environmental governance.

Using the major areas, the evaluation covers two phases—first is the determination of efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services, product outputs, and results (60 percent), while the second phase is the determination of leadership abilities (40 percent). ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday, June 11, renewed its commitment to remove the water hyacinths in Laguna Lake by collaborating with nearby local fishing communities.

Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and Head of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force Benny D. Antiporda said that the DENR will continue its project, which started in October 2020, to tap local fishermen in addressing the proliferation of water hyacinths, commonly known as water lily.

“The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has a project where we commission the labor or assistance of our local fishermen to harvest the water hyacinths in polluted waterbodies,” Antiporda said during the cleanup drive in Binangonan town, Rizal province initiated by Rotary Club of Binangonan on June 11.

He added that the project provides livelihood to the fisherfolk and at the same time “gives life to the Bay.”

Antiporda, who also committed to supervise the project, was confident that since the success of the Boracay rehabilitation, the feat to address the water hyacinth pollution in Laguna Lake will not be of a big task.

“I personally commit that in the coming weeks or so, we will be here in this lake to clean up all the water hyacinth and make sure that we will prevent incidents in the previous years where this lake is all covered with water lilies,” he pointed out.

“We have rehabilitated Boracay. We are cleaning up the Manila Bay. Laguna Lake is relatively not that big. Why not, we clean this up, too?” he added.

Water lilies can be a nuisance because these allow disease-spreading vector species of mosquitoes to breed freely in the static waters. Their decomposition results in an obnoxious smell, decreases the clarity of water and depletes the level of dissolved oxygen making it unsuitable for human use.

The pilot testing for the said project was introduced to the local government of Taytay in Rizal province where the DENR also met with members of the Samahan ng Mangingisda sa Lawa ng Taytay or SMALT. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) on Wednesday, June 9, officially commenced the Pasig River Dredging Project, a major venture to rehabilitate one of the largest river systems connected to Manila Bay.

The signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA), held at the Petron Sales Training Office in Manila, signifies the start of the project and the commitment of DENR and SMC to work together in the dredging and cleanup of Pasig River.

"This project does not only directly complement our ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay, but one can just imagine the positive impacts the cleanup and rehabilitation of Pasig River could bring to the majority of our population and to the ecosystems that connect to it," said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

The dredging project, which is part of SMC's commitment to the Adopt-a-River Program, aims to improve Pasig River's water flow and mitigate flooding by deepening and widening the shallow and narrow portions of the waterbody.

The ongoing Tullahan-Tinajeros River Rehabilitation Project is SMC's first Adopt-a-River partnership with the DENR.

"Indeed, this is another significant step towards our ultimate goal of restoring and enhancing the environmental integrity of Pasig River, one of the most iconic and important waterways in the country," Cimatu said.

In the agreement, DENR will provide the technical expertise for the project while SMC will provide manpower support and dredging equipment.

The implementation of the dredging project will also involve the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Philippine Coast Guard, whose officials have expressed support for the project during the MOA signing.

SMC President Ramon Ang regarded the event as a "very historic gathering" as representatives from various government agencies, along with the local governments of Manila and Mandaluyong, were also in attendance.

After the MOA signing, a site and equipment inspection for the initial operations were also held in the former Pandacan Oil Terminal.

The SMC has identified the narrow and shallow portions of the river along the Pandacan-Paco area, Estrella in Makati City, and near C5 Road, Manila Bay, and EDSA, as priority dredging sites.

The SMC said that larger equipment will be used as the Pasig River is a much bigger river system compared to the Tullahan-Tinajeros River.

Ang said that SMC has invested in a cutter suction dredger—which can dredge 1,000 tons per hour, 10,000 tons per 10 hours a day, or 3 million tons a year—and hopper barge for high volume dredging and transfer of dredged materials to a designated site.

He said they are also looking into conducting percussion drilling for areas that are difficult to dredge due to heavy materials.

Under the MOA, the DENR will also help in the evaluation of soil test results to be conducted by the SMC to identify the location and find the best usage for the dredged materials.

Moreover, it will assist in the application for an environmental compliance certificate or ECC for the relocation site of dredged materials.

"On behalf of the DENR, I would like to extend our sincerest thanks to SMC for its unwavering and continuing commitment to various environmental causes," Cimatu said. #

 

Five workers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), along with a diocesan priest deputized as a forest protection officer, were inducted into the roster of environmental heroes by the Environmental Heroes Foundation Inc. (EHFI) during the World Environment Day celebration on June 5.

Those honored were DENR workers Joselyn Aleste Bugaring, officer-in-charge of the Kalinga Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office; Norberto Mabini, Land Inspector I in Lianga, Surigao del Sur; Rolando Sinday, tree marker in Lianga, Surigao del Sur; Isidro Roluna, tree marker in Tandag, Surigao del Sur; Jessie Comendador, a laborer in Los Baños, Laguna; and deputized forest protection officer in Bukidnon Fr. Nerilito Dazo Sator.

They were honored at the DENR Heroes' Park in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City in physical and virtual ceremonies on June 5.

Families of the honorees received the posthumous awards consisting of plaques of recognition and livelihood assistance amounting to P1.8 million.

The EHFI said the assistance will be given to the honorees' families in three tranches of P600,000 or P100,000 per family from 2021 to 2023.

"Though our intensified actions against violators of environmental laws are taking a toll on our people, we will not relent. With these, we urge Congress to support us in our call for the creation of an Enforcement Bureau that will give the DENR stronger enforcement powers," DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said in a message read by DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito Antonio de Leon.

De Leon said his office is working in coordination with the Office of the President to certify as urgent a bill for the creation of the Environmental Enforcement and Protection Bureau (EPEB).

In the meantime, he said that Cimatu has ordered the creation of an interim enforcement bureau to be called "Environmental Enforcement and Protection Service" to provide "a more coherent and focused body to attend to the enforcement activity" of the DENR.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, chair of the EHFI board of trustees, pointed out that the foundation has "a clear-eyed vision from the beginning that most of the lives that will be lost in this battle to preserve our environment, especially our forest, will come from the rank and file employees and officials of the (DENR)."

He lamented that the DENR rank and file employees are "unarmed, virtually defenseless" against "powerful people who are used to imposing their illegal will and immoral motives from the barrel of a gun."

DENR Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and EHFI executive director Daniel Darius Nicer said the six honorees comprised the second batch of environmental heroes given recognition by the EFHI.

The organization has also conferred posthumous recognition to five individuals in 2016.

"We will be giving P600,000 of your prize to the families of our environmental heroes this year and another P600,000 each year for the next two years," Nicer said, citing the P4-million donation from the UNTV Foundation after the DENR Warriors came out as champions in the UNTV Cup Season 8 held in February 2020, and named EHFI as the team’s charity-recipient of its P4-million prize money.

Nicer said the EHFI board has already authorized the foundation to receive cash donations from donors and feelers have already been sent to possible donors "so that we can augment the funding of the foundation."

"We welcome donations from the private sector, NGOs (non-government organizations), and other entities for us to continue this work," Nicer said, noting that the EHFI criteria have already been amended to include those who are living but "worthy recipients" with outstanding contribution in protecting the environment.

EHFI board members include former DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, retired Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, GMA Network chair Felipe Gozon, and former Civil Service Commission (CSC) chair and currently Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The EHFI, a non-stock, non-profit organization managing an endowment fund for relatives of DENR heroes, was conceptualized in 2012 by Paje with P5 million from the President’s Social Fund as seed money for the foundation.

The CSC also donated P314,000 generated from a fun run it organized in 2011 during the 111th anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service. ###

 

A policy solution being implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to effectively minimize the adverse effects of chemical exposure on human health and the environment has been named as one of the top candidates for the Future Policy Award 2021.

Out of the 55 policies from 36 countries that were nominated, the DENR's Administrative Order (DAO) 2013-24, or the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, was chosen as one of the 12 policies from five continents that have been shortlisted for the award.

Dubbed as the "Oscar on Best Policies," the Future Policy Award of the World Future Council recognizes countries with "the most effective policy solutions" that aim to abate the detrimental effects of chemical exposure to human health and the environment.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu welcomed the inclusion of the Philippines, saying that it is an indication that the government is doing right in its campaign to "regulate, phase-out, or ban chemicals" to eliminate risks to public health, workplace and the environment.

"We are elated to know that our effort to protect our people from the harmful effects of chemicals has been recognized, not to mention, on the international stage," Cimatu said.

"This just shows that we are on the right track as we regulate, phase-out, and ban chemicals for the serious risks it could bring to public health and our environment," he added.

Section 4 of DAO 2013-24 mandates the prohibition of the use of lead and lead compounds in the production/manufacturing of packaging for food and drink, fuel additives, water pipes, toys, school supplies, cosmetics, and paints.

The policy has ordered the prohibition of production of paints--as a pigment, drying agent, or for some intentional use--with more than 90 parts per million or ppm, set as the threshold limit.

A moratorium for the production beyond the threshold limit was enforced since the implementation of the order in 2013.

Lead in paints, however, was allowed for three years (2013-2016) for architectural, decorative, household applications, and six years for industrial applications (2013-2019).

Beyond the set transitional period, the use of lead in paints will be prohibited.

According to the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, lead in paints is a global issue and is being discussed in several international fora, where the Philippines has shared its experience in phasing out lead in paints.

The Future Policy Award, the first and only award that recognizes policies for the benefit of present and future generations on an international level, is an annual event by the World Future Council since 2010.

Aside from the Philippines' Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, policies from Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Sweden, and the United States were also shortlisted for the award this year.

The winners of the Future Policy Award 2021 will be announced on June 29 while a virtual awarding ceremony will be held on July 6. ###