Press Releases

A wetland located within the Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLAS) will take center stage as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Biodiversity Management Bureau leads this year’s Philippine celebration of the World Wetlands Day (WWD).

WWD is celebrated every 2nd of February to raise global awareness on the vital role of wetlands for the planet and its people. The date marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an international treaty in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.

Presidential Proclamation No. 74, series of 1999, also declares February 2 of every year as National Wetlands Day in recognition of the immense importance of wetlands to the welfare of the Filipino people and the protection of global biodiversity.

This year’s WWD theme, “It’s Time for Wetland Restoration,” highlights the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration and the steps needed to revive and restore degraded wetlands.

According to the Ramsar Convention, wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests as more than 35 percent of wetlands globally have been degraded or lost since the 1970s.

If this trend continues, the world will lose valuable ecosystems which deliver unrivaled benefits to humanity such as source of fresh water, natural carbon sink, livelihood and food, and increased protection against storms and floods.

In line with this year’s global theme, the WWD 2023 national celebration will be held at SIPLAS to highlight the role of wetlands in disaster risk reduction and post-Typhoon Odette wetland restoration and rehabilitation efforts.

Highlight of the event is the national declaration of the Del Carmen Mangrove Reserve, a portion of SIPLAS situated in Del Carmen, Surigao del Sur as a Wetland of International Importance. This is a precursor to its nomination for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, or as a Ramsar Site.

Wetlands of International Importance are wetlands that hold significant value not only for the country in which they are located but for humanity as a whole. By being recognized as such, the government must commit to take the necessary steps to ensure the maintenance of the wetland’s ecological character.

The WWD 2023 national celebration is in collaboration with DENR–CARAGA, PENRO Surigao del Norte, Protected Area Management Office of SIPLAS, and the municipal government of Del Carmen, as well as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes project, DENR-United Nations Development Programme/Global Environment Facility (UNDP/GEF) Integrated Approach in the Management of Major Biodiversity Corridors in the Philippines project, the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor project and the Foundation for the Philippine Environment-UNDP/GEF Seventh Operational Phase of the Small Grants Programme in the Philippines or SGP7 project.

All DENR regional and field offices are expected to lead the celebration of WWD in their respective localities.

Other national government agencies, local government units, the private sector, non-government organizations, people’s organizations, the academe and the Filipino community are invited to celebrate WWD and to show support for wetland restoration and to inspire action for Philippine wetlands. #

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched Project TRANSFORM (Transdisciplinary Approach for Resilient and Sustainable Communities) during the second leg of the agency’s Multistakeholder Forum in the Visayas on January 18.

An offshoot of a panel discussion in the first multistakeholder forum held in Manila last October, Project TRANSFORM will support the DENR’s new Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Resiliency Framework to deliver environmental, social and economic gains for local government units (LGUs) nationwide.

Guarded by the thrust and directive of Environment Secretary Antonia Loyzaga to engage the whole of society in the DENR’s mission, the project aims to put together all the best practices from both government and the private sectors to deliver an inclusive, science-based, and data-driven template that all stakeholders, partners, and LGUs can use in fighting the accelerating climate emergency.

“This project will be inclusive, meaning all stakeholders and partners will be welcome to support this based on the demands and needs of the communities,” said DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones.

Ormoc City, Leyte was chosen as the pilot area for the implementation of Project TRANSFORM to be undertaken by the DENR, in collaboration with the City Government of Ormoc, National Resilience Council, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Peace and Equity Foundation, Zuellig Family Foundation, and Energy Development Corporation (EDC).

Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez said she is grateful that Ormoc was selected as the pilot site for Project Transform, as the city will gain more environmental protection, assistance and inputs.

“Our localized sustainability and resilience program will now be turbo boosted by the DENR to offer higher level solutions to raising ecological integrity and improving social economic conditions, not only for Ormocanons, but for the surrounding municipalities as well,” Torres-Gomez said.

The DENR and its multi-sectoral partners signed a pledge of commitment signifying their cooperation toward the achievement of their shared goals at the stakeholder forum on January 18 as well.

Project TRANSFORM is composed of five modules developed by DENR and EDC that will be introduced to the LGUs to strengthen their existing programs in various aspects: biodiversity, greenhouse gases (GHG) accounting, financial literacy, disaster management, and nature-based solutions.

Emphasizing the vital role of data collection in its mission for innovative strategies, policies and processes, the DENR pushes for biodiversity profiling of the area and an inventory of species use under the Biodiversity Module.

Under the GHG Accounting Module, DENR will bank on carbon accounting to determine how an area contributes to GHG that causes warming and climate change.

The DENR aims to help LGUs develop a simple financial system to assess projects, and learn basic bookkeeping processes and revenue and reinvestment analysis as template for annual audit of livelihood projects under the Financial Literacy Module.

Training on disaster preparedness and response, and knowledge sharing on earthquake awareness, climate scenario analysis and protocols will be under the Disaster Management Module, while carbon policies to grow back forests and natural habitats will be under Nature-based Solutions Module.

These modules aim to meet the overall goal of the DENR ENR Framework of improving LGUs’ environmental integrity, and improve the communities’ well-being.

Project TRANSFORM as a whole will help in area protection, water, energy and food supplies, and augment fund allocation in the ecological sector; provide GHG measures in the social sector; and provide resource-based enterprise development in the economic sector.###

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Antonia Loyzaga highlighted the importance of a Resiliency Framework for Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) in helping vulnerable communities to climate change and natural disasters during the Visayas leg of the DENR Multistakeholder Forum in Iloilo City on January 18.  
 
The DENR Chief said the inputs of stakeholders from the national and local governments, academe, civil society, and private sector on potential strategies on environmental protection and natural resource management were all vital in the completion of the framework that will provide the DENR with a comprehensive approach towards adaptive and resilient communities. 
 
“The Resiliency Framework has been developing over time, because based on what we have seen, it is not enough to bounce back from disaster. It is more important for us to bounce forward. What this means is, we recognize the vulnerable communities – of those who are exposed whether it is the ecosystems, people, industrial systems. Then, we approach this in a systemic way,” Loyzaga said. 
 
She added that resilience is not just about coping and adapting, but also having the ability to reorganize and regenerate the ecosystems to fully support the communities and the development plans for the country. 
 
“It’s really about harnessing all of these ridge-to-reef systems, and bringing them into fruition in terms of what they give to the development of the region overall, so that’s several regions altogether,” Loyzaga said.
 
The framework will serve as the foundation for science-based and data-driven ENR policies. With this, Loyzaga further explained that the role of the DENR now is to recognize how the environment underpins the resilience of all the different ecosystems. 
 
In line with the Department’s mission, DENR will focus on the different dimensions of development, prioritize those dimensions, develop the social, environmental, and economic, and begin to foresee the risks that the Department, within its mandate, can actually address. 
 
The completion of the Resiliency Framework for ENR is currently underway as it will be produced out of the DENR’s series of multistakeholder forums which successfully began in Manila in October last year. The Visayas leg in Iloilo City was held in January 18 to 19, 2023.
 
Its Mindanao leg is scheduled on February 2-3 this year in Cagayan de Oro City.###
 
 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) committed to strengthen and expand collaboration with local government units (LGUs) in promoting environmental protection and working towards sustainable development after the DENR Visayas Multistakeholder Forum held in Iloilo City on January 18-19.

The two-day forum gathered together over 250 stakeholders during which local chief executives from the region shared best practices, contextualized solutions, and valuable insights on environmental protection and sustainable development.

During the plenary session for the local government sector, officials from the provinces of Iloilo and Samar, as well as the cities of Ormoc (Leyte), Bayawan (Negros Oriental), and Bago (Negros Occidental), presented their respective flagship environmental programs realized through collaboration with partner agencies, particularly the DENR.

The inputs and insights gathered from LGUs during the forum will be incorporated into the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Framework being drafted by the DENR.

This integrated framework will serve as the foundation for science-based, data-driven, and socially, politically, and culturally sensitive environmental policies and programs for the country.

DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations-Luzon, Visayas and Environment Juan Miguel T. Cuna said the consultation centered on the importance of inclusive and community-based programs to foster active involvement and promote ownership of projects with the LGUs’ constituents, as well as collaborative efforts with other sectors for inclusive and sustainable development.

Cuna said the session had provided the agency with important actionable recommendations that will aid in the DENR’s implementation of evidence-based and risk- and context-informed programs and policies for resilience.

Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez spoke about the National Resilience Council’s Adopt-A-City program whose transdisciplinary initiatives focused on social, ecological, and economic systems for environmental protection and disaster management and resilience in Ormoc City.

The Adopt-A-City program will serve as a model for the DENR’s ENR Framework and Project TRANSFORM (Transdisciplinary Approach for Resilience and Environmental Sustainability Through Multistakeholder Engagement), the newly launched venture of the DENR in partnership with various private and non-governmental groups to be spearheaded in the city.

Another noteworthy program is “Spark Samar” discussed by Samar Provincial Tourism Officer Marvin R. Piczon.

Spark Samar is the province’s tourism program that supports environmental sustainability, economic stability anchored on agro-forestry and fishery, socio-economic development, and disaster resiliency.

Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Officer Cesar Emmanuelle Buyco Jr. discussed the province’s greening and mangrove rehabilitation programs, the creation of the Iloilo Watershed Management Council, and local renewable energy policies.

Meanwhile, Bago City Mayor Nicholas M. Yulo showcased the city’s plans and programs on climate change, solid waste management, forest management, specific resource management and contingency, as well as its “Reviving the Majestic Bago River Watershed” program and environmental law enforcement efforts with the active participation of stakeholders.

Bayawan City’s best practices—which include its waste management and ecology center, fuelwood production in marginal and idle lands, and protection of its Bayawan Nature Reserve—were also presented by Mayor John “Jack” T. Raymond Jr.

During the session, the local chief executives called for a more vital linkage of the DENR and other agencies for environmental education and enforcement, sustainable forest and water management laws, and waste management technical support. ###

 

Quezon City, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11898, also known as the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022. This law requires large-scale companies to establish a mechanism for the recovery of their plastic packaging. Secretary Antonia Yulo Loyzaga signed the IRR in January 2023.

Through the EPR, obliged companies "have the responsibility for the proper and effective recovery, treatment, recycling or disposal of their products after they have been sold and used by consumers" to reduce the volume of plastic wastes generation and extend the life of plastics by adding value or purpose through upcycling or recycling.

The EPR law will also help in advancing a circular economy that mitigates climate change and
protects our life-supporting ecosystems by avoiding or minimizing pollution while maximizing the use of materials.

According to Undersecretary Jonas R. Leones, Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs, prior to the issuance of IRR, the DENR led a series of public consultations in different regions from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The consultation solicited insights and contributions from the different sectors including non-government organizations, academic institutions, local government units, and the private sector. Among the private sector representatives were sanitary landfill operators, manufacturing corporations, and recycling/upcycling companies.

The series of regional public consultations was capped off in a national dialogue led by the DENR Environmental Management Bureau last November 3, 2022, with over 650 participants across sectors in attendance, with support from the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Japan.

“The success of the implementation of the EPR law heavily depends on the cooperation and compliance of the private sector. It is always important to recognize the voices of different sectors and the public consultations provided everyone the venue to share and exchange their ideas that contributed to the crafting of the IRR,” Leones said.

Within six months from the effectivity of the law, these large-scale enterprises are expected to initiate their efforts on plastic recovery and diversion schemes as mandated by the EPR. The IRR also includes an online registry where producers and manufacturers need to register their information.

The implementation of EPR law is a crucial step to the Philippines’ transition to the circular economy. In 2015, the Philippines was cited as the third largest contributor to ocean plastic, with approximately 0.75 million metric tons of plastic ending up in the seas and other waterways annually.
With the EPR law, corporations with total assets of over PhP 100 million will be required to recover a certain percentage of their plastic packaging waste, or else pay a fine. Companies shall be responsible for allocating resources to support the collection, recovery, transportation, processing, recycling, and disposal of plastic packaging wastes in environmentally-sound ways.

Since the passage of this law, the Philippines is now included in a select group of states that promulgate EPR which includes countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, India, South Korea, Chile, Mexico, Columbia, Peru, and Brazil.

The EPR law sets incremental targets that should be fulfilled yearly until 2030. For 2023, obliged companies must recover 20% of their plastic footprint from the year before.

Producers, distributors, and retailers implementing initiatives under the EPR laws will be eligible for tax incentives. However, fines ranging from PhP 5 million to PhP 20 million will be imposed for failure to comply with the provisions and meet the target recovery rates of the EPR.

Meanwhile, those not covered by the law are encouraged to practice voluntarily or be part of a network of obliged enterprises, collectives, or producer responsibility organizations that practice EPR.

The DENR further states that the implementation of this will only succeed with sustained partnership and collaboration among all stakeholders, as well as local government cooperation.###