Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Biodiversity Management Bureau has identified the municipality of Sta. Ana, Cagayan as one of the six project sites nationwide for the establishment of a marine stations to enhance ocean science, resource management and development strategies.

In her recent visit to Region, DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga appealed for the support of the local government unit of Santa Ana and other stakeholders to protect and preserve the coastal and marine resources as a scientific marine research hub will be established in the municipality where the famous Palaui Island Protected Landscape and Seascape is located.

“Sta Ana, Cagayan will be the northernmost site to serve as sentinel covering the Northern Philippine Sea marine biogeographic region,” said Secretary Loyzaga as she emphasized the island’s beauty, diverse flora and fauna, and vast natural resources.

Secretary Loyzaga also said corals that live in the northern parts of the Philippines are resilient to climate change per extensive scientific research conducted by the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Institute (UPMSI).

“This project is so important that is why we are working with the UPMSI to create further studies in collaboration with the community, and we would like this to be a center of education so that we know why we need to protect the area,” the top environment official added.

Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of DENR Region 2 expressed gratitude to the Environment Secretary for considering the region as one of the recipients of the said project.

“We also thank officials of the Philippine Navy, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, local government unit, and other members of the Protected Area Management Board for their support in coming up with this new initiative of our Secretary,” Director Bambalan underscored as she discussed developments implemented within the PIPLS such as construction of step ladders, information center, pasalubong stalls; and installation of water and solar-powered generation systems.

Photo4a PR DENR to establish marine research station in Sta web4During the visit, Secretary Loyzaga together with Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna, Undersecretary Augusto Dela Peña, and Head Executive Assistant Joaquin Loyzaga led the tree-growing activity within the green spaces at the Regional Government Center in Tuguegarao City.

Photo6 PR DENR to establish marine research station in Sta web3They also led the groundbreaking ceremony for the PENRO Cagayan building graced by Cagayan 3rd District Representative Joseph Lara who intervened with the necessary funding assistance; and conducted meeting with stakeholders of National Irrigation Administration, SN Aboitiz, the provincial government of Isabela, Cagayan State University, and local government unit of Ramon, Isabela for the strengthening of Magat watershed; and with Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba and Tuguegarao City Mayor Maila Ting-Que for the improvement of the Department’s priority programs implementation.#

Manila, Philippines - Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga partners with local executives to integrate the use of hazard maps in decision-making to avert disasters and safeguard lives and livelihoods.

“A hazard does not have to become a disaster,” Loyzaga explained during a radio interview held Sunday. The Environment Chief sounded off the appeal in the wake of the landslide incident in Maco, Davao de Oro, stressing the DENR’s collaborative efforts with key national and local agencies to enhance the preparedness and resilience of affected communities.

Recalling the incidence of an earlier landslide in the area back in 2008, Loyzaga highlighted the significance of recognizing data-driven indicators for early warning and action. This includes the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration's (PAGASA) record of unusually high rainfall in January this year, which was four times the affected area’s monthly average in the nearest weather station.

Loyzaga likewise acknowledges the importance of local government units’ (LGUs)’ leadership in early action guided by hazard maps. She underscores that early warning should lead to early action.

The Environment Chief also emphasized the critical role of a whole-of-society approach - to face these challenges with the government, communities, private sector, and even the citizens. To facilitate early disaster readiness actions and promote science-based decision-making, especially in highly vulnerable areas, the DENR, through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), continues to update the distributed hazard maps and conduct information, education, and communication campaigns. The agency issues tailored geohazard advisories for local government units (LGUs) and concerned barangays.

This incident highlights the cooperation between DENR and the Philippine Space Agency. The timely sharing and processing of information can aid LGUs in conducting thorough disaster risk reduction measures.

The DENR in close collaboration with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), provides hazard maps and advisories for proactive disaster preparedness in alignment with the latter agency’s disaster risk reduction and management program. It also provides crucial support to search and rescue operations through its MGB regional offices in Mindanao, in partnership with the private sector in the region. MGB has deployed two ground penetrating radars for the use of responders on site in Maco. ###

Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga highlighted the importance of international cooperation in addressing air pollution today at the Media Day of the Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality (ASIA-AQ) held in Clark, Pampanga.

The ASIA-AQ project, led by the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is an international collaborative research initiative with South Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER), University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), and the Philippines’ DENR, Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), Manila Observatory and the University of the Philippines.

Air pollution is a major global issue that poses significant risks to human health, leading to chronic heart and lung diseases, lung cancer, stroke, and respiratory infections. Secretary Loyzaga said that working together will contribute to a better understanding and management of air pollution, which ultimately protects the health and well-being of the populations of the participating countries.

“Furthermore, it contributes to the climate crisis and hastens global warming. With the world in need of cleaner air, governments are now working to prioritize preventing air pollution as an essential solution to one of the most pressing environmental problems in the world,” Loyzaga said. “By utilizing the data and knowledge provided by this mission, we can enhance our air quality monitoring systems, develop evidence-based policies, and implement effective measures to improve public health and combat climate change,” she said.

According to Loyzaga, the project will benefit Filipinos in several ways. It will enhance air quality monitoring through access to advanced air quality monitoring techniques including satellite data, ground-based observations, and atmospheric modeling tools. Improved monitoring capabilities will result to accurate and comprehensive assessment of air pollution that will help the local government executives implement interventions to address air pollution hotspots.

By participating in the collaboration, the Philippines can also learn from the experiences of the other countries in the region and contribute its expertise, leading to more efficient and comprehensive air quality management approaches.

Loyzaga added the project can help policymakers and government agencies gain access to advanced research findings and analysis, enabling evidence-based policy-making and targeted interventions. This can lead to the strengthening of air quality regulations, the implementation of effective emission control measures, and the development of sustainable strategies for improving air quality in the country.

Five engineers and air quality specialists from the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) will join top NASA scientists on board the scientific research flights from February 11 to 15. “The EMB team of young and dedicated engineers and air quality specialists will join the flights to learn and observe so we can build technical capacity and expertise,” Secretary Loyzaga disclosed earlier.

ASIA-AQ project in the Philippines is under the Joint Understanding of the DENR and NASA, represented by Loyzaga and Gilbert R. Kirkham, respectively.
“To complement the project, DENR will also be enhancing its air quality instrumentation network this year, made possible by the 2024 national budget and by partnerships with development partners,” Secretary Loyzaga said. ###

Metro Manila, Philippines - Five engineers and air quality specialists from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) will join top NASA scientists on board the scientific research flights from February 11 to 15 to study the atmosphere in Metro Manila and its surrounding regions from space to the surface of the earth.

“The EMB team of young and dedicated engineers and air quality specialists will join the flights to learn and observe so we can build technical capacity and expertise,” DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Loyzaga disclosed.

The Philippine leg of the airborne field campaign is part of the Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality (ASIA-AQ), a partnership that brings together experts from NASA of the United States, the DENR, and in collaboration with the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), Manila Observatory, Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of the Philippines.

Leading the team is Engr. Chadbert Nikko Aquino, a 29-year-old Electronics Engineering graduate who specializes as an Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Specialist. He is joined by Engr. Paul Vallar, also 29 years old, who has a background in Chemical Engineering and expertise in stationary source and ambient air quality monitoring. Engr. Brix Faustino, aged 30, holds a degree in Applied Physics with a specialization in instrumentation and serves as another proficient ambient air quality monitoring specialist within the team. Adding to their expertise is Engr. Billy William Franco, aged 39, an Electronics and Communications Engineering graduate working as an Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Specialist at the DENR-EMB Region 3 office. Rounding out the team is Engr. Zeus Aragones, aged 34, also an Electronics and Communications Engineering graduate, who serves as another Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Specialist at the DENR-EMB National Capital Region office.

They will be joining the lead scientists from the United States, which will be led by Dr. Barry Lefer, NASA’s Tropospheric Composition Program Scientist; Dr. James Crawford, ASIA-AQ Lead Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center; and Dr. Louisa Emmons, ASIA-AQ Forecasting Team Lead at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They will be collaborating with Atmospheric Scientists from the Manila Observatory’s Air Quality Dynamics Laboratory composed of Dr. James Bernard B. Simpas, Dr. Maria Obiminda L. Cambaliza, and Dr. Melliza T. Cruz.

Within the week, the team will go on four research flights aboard two aircraft employed by ASIA-AQ, the NASA G-III and NASA DC-8, which are both based in Clark, Pampanga.

Secretary Loyzaga earlier stated that the collaboration with NASA, a first for the Philippines, “will help improve air quality models, provide accurate forecasts, and develop effective policies to ensure better air quality in the future.” The campaign will also serve as a platform for the Philippines to understand its local air quality issues, improve its interpretation of satellite observations, and develop better air quality models.

Loyzaga, whose major thrust is environmental protection and natural resource conservation, underscores the critical role of strengthening partnerships with space agencies such as NASA and PhilSA to use satellite imagery and other space science and technology applications to support the country’s development of strategies for science-based, risk-informed, ethical, and equitable stewardship of the environment. ###

Metro Manila, [02 February 2024] - Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga today said that the Philippines will be part of an international collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to study and address air quality issues in the Asian region.

Secretary Loyzaga disclosed that NASA will be conducting scientific research flights that are specifically designed to study the atmosphere of Metro Manila and its surrounding regions, with engineers and air quality specialists of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) boarding the flights and learning from the NASA scientists on board.

“This collaboration with NASA and other respected partners will lead to significant advances in our understanding of air pollution and our ability to tackle this pressing issue,” Secretary Loyzaga said. “The data gathered from the research flights will be used in our programs to mitigate air quality issues that affect public health and address climate change,” she added.

The partnership, called Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality (ASIA – AQ), brings together experts from NASA in the United States, the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), South Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), and Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

Secretary Loyzaga said that the NASA mission will be using advanced satellite technology, ground-based observations, and airborne missions to gain a better understanding of the air quality problems specific to Metro Manila. “The collaboration will help to improve air quality models, provide accurate forecasts, and develop effective policies to ensure better air quality in the future,” she added.

In the Philippines, this collaboration also involves the Philippine Space Agency, Manila Observatory, Ateneo de Manila University, and University of the Philippines. These organizations are joining hands to understand and tackle air pollution challenges in the region.