Press Releases

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) celebrated the National Volunteer Month (NVM) on Tuesday, Dec. 7 by giving tribute to some 168 individuals and organizations in the private and public sectors for their volunteerism efforts and support for DENR’s programs and advocacies.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said the NVM celebration this year “takes a more meaningful significance for us at the DENR,” citing that the notable increase in the number of volunteer groups and individuals “affirms the soundness of this Administration’s brand of environmental governance.”

“Persistency and altruism, this is the true face of volunteerism or the bayanihan spirit which has blossomed in the time of Covid-19,” Cimatu said, noting that the pandemic period “has served as an impetus to spur more and more individuals and groups take direct action on environmental citizenship through volunteerism.”

All 168 of the honorees were awarded with Certificates of Recognition during the hybrid program held at the DENR Social Hall in Quezon City with the theme “Volunteer Now: Spark Hope, Create Solutions, and Respond to Pandemic Challenges.

Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda highlighted the significance of the volunteers in heightening environmental stewardship amidst the pandemic.

“We are grateful to our volunteers for their continued support to the programs and projects of the DENR. Truly you are deserving of this recognition for advocating environmental stewardship most especially during this time of pandemic,” Antiporda said.

Meanwhile, DENR Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service Director Hiro Masuda led the presentation of the awards with Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency Executive Director Donald James Gawe, who cited DENR’s strong recognition of volunteerism for its critical role in resilience “in the context of changing nature and frequency of natural disaster.”

“Without our volunteers, I don’t think we can achieve our organizational outcome,” Gawe said, as he expressed optimism that “DENR can become one of the model agencies (which sees) volunteerism as a potent development strategy.”

For his part, Masuda noted that “volunteering has made an impact” to the centrality of environment to public health.

“As volunteers, it is saddening to see people pass on, because when it comes to what we are doing, health and the environment are always connected,” Masuda said.

This year’s NVM recognition awardees included the Department of Health, Lions Clubs International (LCI) Multiple District 301 Philippines, LCI District 301-A2, National Council on Disability Affairs, Philippine Coast Guard-Action Center, PCG-Cavite, Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group-Community Affairs Section, and the Career Executive Service Board.

Also recognized were the Government Service Insurance System, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Education-Schools Division Office Quezon City, Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP)-National Office, BSP-Manila Council, The Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council, Lung Center of the Philippines, and the National Book Development Board.

From the academe were the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Marikina Polytechnic College, Universidad de Manila, University of Santo Tomas-College of Sciences, Quezon City Science High School. Twenty-seven public school teachers in Quezon City who have coordinated with DENR on their tree planting and other environmental activities were also acknowledged.

Honorees from civic groups and non-government organizations included Noble Queen of the Universe Ltd. Inc; Association of Science and Mathematics Educators of Philippine Private Schools; Society of Filipino Foresters Inc.; Sonshine Phils. Movement; Earth Day Network Phils. Inc.; National Bicycle Organization; Rotary International Districts 3780 and 3830; the Rotary Clubs of Makati-Rockwell, San Francisco Del Monte and Diliman Heights; Inner Wheel Clubs of the Phils. District 378; JuanSmile Philippines; Integrated Blind of the Philippines; and UP Beta Sigma Fraternity.

From the business and industry sector, the following were awarded: FAST Cargo Logistics Corp., Kanlaon Security Agency Inc., Philippine Manila Standard Publishing Inc., Royale Cold Storage Inc. Taytay and North, Thaison Builder and Developer, Toyota Motor Dealers of Bicutan-Parañaque and Makati, David M. Consunji Inc., Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corporation, Personal Collection Direct Selling Inc., and the Yuchengco Group of Companies.

Some 21 Environment and Natural Resources vloggers were likewise recognized for their efforts which DENR cited as critical to foster long-term positive change in attitudes and mindsets among stakeholders within the Manila Bay region and shore up the Department’s information, education and communication efforts for its Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program.

Several local government units, including barangays, were also recognized for their partnership with the DENR in their environmental initiatives.

Last year, some 49 honorees were recognized in the awarding rites which the DENR holds annually pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 55, Series of 1998, declaring the month of December of every year as National Volunteer Month to promote volunteerism as a tool for development in both the government and the private sectors. ###

After winning a case against illegal miners operating inside the Taal Volcano Protected Area Landscape just last October, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—through its Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS)—arrested another set of culprits in an anti-illegal quarrying operation in the same area on November 24.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu pointed out that miners who have been doing the same prohibited activities in the same area mean that "they remain unafraid of the environmental laws and their corresponding penalties."

"These illegal quarrying operations cannot be stopped if we remain complacent with enforcement operations. This is the reason why the DENR has bolstered training for our enforcement personnel, and more reasons why the legislative arm of the government should expedite the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB) Bill," Cimatu said.

Fifteen illegal miners, who were apprehended as a result of the DENR enforcement operations, are currently undergoing legal procedures in violation of Republic Act (RA) 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems (E-NIPAS) Act of 2018, RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Presidential Decree 705 or The Revised Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines, and RA 9275 or the Clean Water Act.

Confiscated during the operations were three backhoes, two screeners used to define and segregate the liberated and extracted sand and gravel materials, and a truck loaded with 127 board feet of round logs and 122.83 board feet of lumber.

The ELEPS operatives also discovered that the area was used as a crude "firing range" with blue barrels filled with gravel and sand serving as "target papers." Bullet slugs were also found in the area.

DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito Antonio De Leon assured that the ELEPS team "will do their best to put the offenders in jail after this operation."

"We have seen that the ELEPS and its partner agencies have truly developed their skills in apprehending erring quarrying personnel, thanks to the support of Secretary Cimatu and the DENR’s Human Resource and Development Service during their special course in the Environment and Natural Resources Academy," he said.

De Leon also expressed hope that the efforts of the ELEPS "get the attention of the Philippine legislators in passing the EPEB Bill." ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has re-issued a closure order against a sanitary landfill facility in Urdaneta City in the province of Pangasinan for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the issuance of CDO to the Urdaneta City engineered sanitary landfill is the DENR’s continuing commitment to make sure that RA 9275 and RA 9003 are strictly enforced.

"We are on our way towards changing the psyche of the Filipino people when it comes to solid waste management. The success of the enforcement operations is a crucial part of this gargantuan endeavor," Cimatu said.

DENR-Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS) Intelligence Operations team leader Rogelio Demelletes Jr. said the sanitary landfill facility located in Brgy. Catablan, Urdaneta City was found still being used for waste disposal months after it was first issued a cease and desist order (CDO) on March 5, 2021.

During a follow-up inspection conducted by the DENR's Environmental Management Bureau-Region 1 (EMB-Region 1) on August 19, it discovered that padlocks and barricades have been tampered with and fresh tire tracks were left at the sanitary landfill facility cell and open dumpsite, indicating the arrival and departure of dump trucks and other waste disposal equipment.

The EMB-Region 1 also noted the presence of newly dumped waste at the time of monitoring, as well as the unauthorized opening of the previously decommissioned pipe connecting the storm drainage pond and canal leading to the Sinocalan River.

On October 7, DENR-Region 1 Executive Director Crizaldy Barcelo and EMB-Region 1 Director Maria Dorica Naz-Hipe, together with DENR local officials and ELEPS personnel, led the re-issuance of CDO to the city government of Urdaneta City to stop the operation of the sanitary landfill facility.

The DENR-Region 1 said the illegal operations of the landfill is a blatant disregard of the Pollution Adjudication Board's order pursuant to DENR-PAB Case No. 01-1024A-20.

The team had already cemented the pipe connecting the storm drainage pond and canal leading to the Sinocalan River, which is located at the back of the facility. ###

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu emphasized the importance of good health among its employees toward the successful implementation of all its programs and projects despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic.

"As the Secretary of the DENR, the overall health of our employees is my paramount priority. Though our country is gradually recovering from the pandemic, we will continue to take care of our main asset in the Department—our human resource who face an invisible enemy every time they report for work to perform their duties," Cimatu said during the distribution of COVID-19 health kits to DENR employees on November 19.

The activity, which was held at the DENR Central Office, aimed to safeguard the health and well-being of its workforce.

Through the DENR's Human Resource Development Service (HRDS) Health and Wellness Unit led by Undersecretary for Legal, Administration, Human Resources and Legislative Affairs Atty. Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr., some 1,670 COVID-19 health kits were distributed to officials, permanent and contract of service employees, including those from the Pasig River Coordinating Management Office, an office under the DENR.

The security and janitorial personnel were also given health kits.

Each COVID-19 health kit contains vitamins, Paracetamol tablets, a bottle of mouthwash, and a digital thermometer.

According to DENR-HRDS Director Ric G. Enriquez, the health and wellness program prioritizes preventive measures to keep employees from being infected or spreading the virus.

"We see to it that this program helps in the protection, prevention, detection, and even immunization. We believe that if our employees are physically as well as mentally healthy, they will surely be effective and productive in their office functions," said Enriquez.

The distribution, which is the third for the year, also supports the DENR’s Padayon program which takes on a holistic approach to COVID-19 response through the "Four Es" strategy framework: Educate, Equip, Emerge triumphant, and Express.

DENR Strategic Communication Initiatives Service Director Hiro V. Masuda, who initiated Padayon, said the distribution is an "equip strategy" to provide employees the needed interventions to combat COVID-19 and ensure service continuity in the midst of the pandemic.

In partnership with its stakeholders, the DENR has also undertaken COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, distribution of face masks and face shields, and swab testing.

Enriquez also bared that the DENR is one of the first government agencies that started the vaccination of its employees in May 2021.

As of October 31, 2021, data from the Health and Wellness Unit showed that 90.36 percent or 1,501 out of 1,661 employees in the DENR Central Office have been vaccinated.

The inoculation was done through the DENR, Quezon City government, the respective local government units of the employees, and other health facilities.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 infection in DENR offices nationwide including the DENR Central Office, all regional offices, line bureaus, staff bureaus, and attached agencies was recorded at 1,455 with 1,210 recoveries, 218 active cases, and 27 deaths as of November 24, 2021.

The HRDS is tasked to monitor and report updates on the status of COVID-19 infection in DENR offices nationwide pursuant to DENR Special Order No. 2020-233. ###

Recognizing that mining activities and environmental protection can co-exist, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) honored exemplary mining firms during the culminating event of the 67th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference on November 26.

"These awards are not only individual accolades but are actual testimonies that responsible mining is indeed possible and is still alive," said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu in his keynote speech read by Undersecretary for Attached Agencies, Mining and Muslim Affairs Jim O. Sampulna.

The awarding ceremony was held at the Seda Vertis North in Diliman, Quezon City.

The DENR, through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), has awarded several exploration and operating mining firms and individuals for their commendable initiatives and achievements in environmental management and development, community safety and support, workforce protection, and the upkeep of socially responsible mining operations amid the ongoing pandemic.

It honored recipients of the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA), PMIEA Selection Committee (PMIEASC) Platinum and Titanium Achievement Awards, Best Mining Forest Contest, and Safest Mines Awards.

Outstanding mining workers were also awarded Mines' Best Personalities.

"Truly, the mining industry has not only wholeheartedly taken on the challenge set upon you in 2018, which is to reinvent mining, but has definitely succeeded by providing benefits for greater Filipino citizens, and being compliant with the laws on protection and conservation of the country’s natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations," said Cimatu, who is also the co-chair of the PMIEASC.

Due to restrictions brought by the pandemic, evaluations, deliberations, and offsite validations were conducted by the PMIEASC, Mining Forest Program-National Executive Committee (MFP-NEC), and their respective Technical Working Group and Technical Secretariat, from October 4-27, 2021, covering 27 mining and mineral processing companies for the PMIEA, 30 for the Best Mining Forest Contest, and 34 for the Safest Mines Awards.

"The offsite validation we conducted also resulted in the most number of awardees. This signifies that responsible mining is more than just a catchphrase or slogan, that it is not something to be practiced only when convenient. Rather, this is something that the mineros take very much to heart," DENR-MGB Director Wilfredo G. Moncano said.

Established in 1997 pursuant to Executive Order No. 399, the PMIEA is awarded to mining and exploration firms with outstanding initiatives and implemented programs on environmental protection and enhancement of mining areas, development of the host and neighboring communities, land use improvement, exploration, and mining site rehabilitation and final decommissioning.

The nine PMIEA awardees were: Agata Mining Ventures Inc., Berong Nickel Corp., Hinatuan Mining Corp.-Tagana-an, Platinum Group Metals Corp., and Taganito Mining Corp. for the Surface Mining Operation Category; Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc.-Bulacan for the Quarry Operation Category; and Coral Bay Nickel Corp., Mindanao Mineral Processing & Refining Corp., and Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp. for the Mineral Processing Category.

Meanwhile, 12 PMIEASC Platinum Achievement awardees and three PMIEASC Titanium Achievement Awardees were also recognized.

These mining companies are those who fell short of the required rating for the PMIEA but attained a high degree of performance in safety and health, environmental management, and social development and management.

In recognition of the excellent performance of mining contractors, permit holders, and permittees in the implementation of their Mining Forest Program pursuant to the DENR Administrative Order No. 22, series of 1989, the four Best Mining Forest awardees were Hinatuan Mining Corp.-Tagana-an (Metallic Category), Holcim Resources Development Corp. (Non-Metallic Category), Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp., (Mineral Processing Plant Category), and Philex Mining Corp. (Exploration Category).

Meanwhile, four runners-up under the Metallic Category and three each under Non-Metallic, and Mineral Processing Plant categories were also recognized, respectively.

For successfully achieving the objective of the national campaign against occupational and environmental hazards in mining and its related operations, the nine Safest Mines awardees were: Apex Mining Company Inc. for Safest Exploration A; Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc.-Batangas for Safest Quarry Operation; Hinatuan Mining Corp.-Tagana-an for Safest Surface Mining Operation; Apex Mining Company Inc. for Safest Underground Mining Operation; Coral Bay Nickel Corp. for Safest Mineral Processing Extraction Plant; Graymont (Philippines) Inc. for Safest Mineral Processing Calcining Plant; Philippine Mining Service Corp.-Bohol Plant for Safest Mineral Processing Crushing Plant; Hinatuan Mining Corp.-Tagana-an for Safest Mining Operation; and Apex Mining Company Inc. for Most Improved Mining Operation.

Five runners-up under several categories of the Safest Mines Awards also received plaques.

Safety inspectors, mine supervisors, and miners who have displayed excellence in the promotion and application of mine safety and health in their workplace were also awarded for the Mines’ Best Personalities.

The awardees include surface miner Jennifer Inting and surface safety inspector Aldrin Resullar of Hinatuan Mining Corp.-Tagana-an; surface mine supervisor John Darwin Amag of Agata Mining Ventures Inc.; and underground safety inspector Ronnie Rojo, underground mine supervisor Johary Unggel, and underground miner Marvin Badayos of Apex Mining Company Inc.

With the theme, "Pusong Minero: The Quiet Heroes of the Pandemic," the awarding ceremony was led by the DENR-MGB in cooperation with the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association. ###