Press Releases

 

President Aquino will grace the silver anniversary celebration of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Malacanang Palace tomorrow (June 19).

“We are very privileged to have this opportunity to celebrate this milestone in the DENR’s history with no less than the President himself,” DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said, adding that around 500 national and field officials of the agency are expected to attend the event.

The DENR contingent will be joined by retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as well as the DENR’s partners in its river cleanup program in segments that will highlight the government’s priorities for the environment.

Puno will join Paje in briefing the President on the endowment fund for the families of “environmental heroes”, or DENR employees who have died while performing their duty in protecting the environment. The fund will be administered by the Alay sa Anak ng Bayani (ALAB) ng Kalikasan Foundation, Inc., of which Puno will serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The seed money for the fund, amounting to P314,241, was donated by the Civil Service Commission in September 2011 derived from a proceeds of a fund-raising fun run it hosted last year.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman is expected to sign during the event two Memoranda of Agreements (MOA) with the DENR on the delineation of the ARMM’s forest boundaries and on the conduct of cadastral survey in the region.

Paje said that under the MOA, the DENR-National will assist DENR-ARMM in establishing a permanent boundary between its timberlands and alienable and disposable lands “in order to prevent activities that may be detrimental to its forests.” The cadastral survey, meanwhile, will hasten the processing and issuance of land titles to the rightful claimants of public lands within the region.

The MOA signing would come with the turnover of two checks by DENR, amounting to PhP44 million and PhP377 million, as financial assistance to ARMM for forestland delineation and cadastral survey, respectively.

In addition, Hataman will also receive an P11-million check from the DENR as financial assistance in the implementation of the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) in ARMM.

The NGP was launched by President Aquino last year as the government’s largest greening program, aiming to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide for the period 2011-2016. Paje is also set to present to President Aquino the 100 millionth seedling produced for the NGP, a tindalo (Afzelia rhomboidea), during the anniversary program.

Thirty-five corporate partners in the DENR’s “Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody” program will also join the celebration. Of these, 34 will adopt as many waterways across the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon and Rizal, also known as the CALABARZON Region. On the other hand, SM Prime Holdings will adopt the heavily polluted San Juan River, which flows through the cities of Quezon, San Juan, Manila and Mandaluyong and is one of the main tributaries of the Pasig River.

“With clean water as one of the priorities of the Aquino administration, we are pleased to share this moment with our partners in cleaning up the waterways in what are probably the most problematic regions when it comes to waterway pollution caused by urbanization, industrialization and increased population,” said the environment chief.

 

As part of the Adopt-an-Estero/Waterbody program, the DENR is also set to present to the President four newly-acquired trash boats that will be used to collect floating garbage along creeks and rivers. The trash boats will be docked along the Pasig River behind the palace for the viewing, before being deployed to identified sites in Central Luzon, CALABARZON Region and Metro Manila. The DENR is planning to purchase 20 more such trash boats within the year.

  

 

In a move to further strengthen the government’s campaign against illegal logging, all officials and personnel of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Marine Industry Authority (MARINA) have been deputized as environment and natural resources officers.

Their deputations were contained in separate resolutions signed by members of the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force (AILTF) created under Executive Order No. 23, comprising of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo, National Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, National Police General Director Nicanor A. Bartolome, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Jessie D. Delloza, with Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje as the chairman of the task force.

“The deputation of ENROs is consistent with EO 23 which provides that the task force may call on any office of the Executive Branch to assist in the discharge of its functions,” Paje said.

He also said the move will strengthen the manpower capability of the DENR in the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations on environment and natural resources and in the implementation of the anti-illegal logging campaign.

 

“We will clothe all our deputized ENROs not only with the authority to stop illegal logging, including the confiscation of forest products that may have been acquired illegally, but also to enforce all other environmental laws of the land,” Paje stressed.

 

He specifically cited the critical role of PAOCC to “counter, minimize and neutralize organized crime groups and syndicates and their protectors in the government,” saying their activities not only affect the country’s peace and order situation but also contribute to the worsening economic and environmental conditions.

 

In the case of PCG and MARINA, the environment secretary said both agencies are vital in the protection and conservation of the country’s environment and natural resources, particularly those found in seas, coastal, marine and other areas within the Philippine waters.

 

In keeping with DENR’s deputation procedure, all the officials and employees of the named agencies shall undergo the required orientation and training on the various environmental laws and procedures to be conducted by the DENR.

 

Paje stressed, however, that each of the agencies may come up with their respective regulations to ensure the effectiveness of the deputation program.

 

  

  

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today ordered a full investigation on the continued illegal logging in Agusan del Sur, even as he thanked the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr. for providing timely assistance in the confiscation of some 4,214 pieces of undocumented logs in the city.

“We fully appreciate the continued support of the DILG, including our local officials in Butuan City led by Mayor Amante. This is another testament to the effectiveness of engaging local government units in the national agenda of protecting and managing their natural resources within their respective political jurisdiction,” Paje said.

Paje’s commendation of DILG’s and Amante’s support stemmed from the successful apprehension of some 4,214 pieces of logs last June 4 in Butuan City. The seized logs reportedly came from the forest areas of San Luis and La Paz towns in Agusan del Sur.

Despite this, Paje ordered a full investigation on allegations that local DENR monitoring teams failed to apprehend the said logs while being rafted through the Agusan River.

At least two mobile DENR monitoring teams have been mobilized to monitor illegal logging along the 390-kilometer stretch of the river, specifically in Talacogon in Agusan del Sur and in Las Nieves in Agusan del Norte.

The apprehended logs, consisting mostly of red and white lauan and the four pumpboats, are now in the custody of the government.
The city government of Butuan is providing police protection and security to the confiscated logs.

 

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has purchased four trash boats to collect floating garbage along Manila Bay and its tributaries, and is planning to purchase 20 more, it was announced by DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje.

Paje said the trash boats will be deployed to target local government units (LGUs) in the Central Luzon, CALABARZON and National Capital Region (NCR) for use in the cleanup of coastal and inland waterways and river systems draining into Manila Bay.

“The trash boats are DENR’s way of assisting LGUs in two ways: cleaning up the waterways in their areas of jurisdiction, and ensuring the implementation of solid waste management, as they are mandated to do so,” he said.

The four boats that have been initially purchased are currently docked at the Manila Yacht Club compound along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. These will be turned over in separate ceremonies to the cities of Malabon and Manila; to Obando in Bulacan province; and to the province of Cavite.

Each costing some PhP1.733 million, the trash boats measure 30 feet in length and are semi-mechanized, with rake-like device that can scoop up to three tons of floating garbage and debris. The collected trash will be dumped onto the boat’s deck and manually segregated into marked sorting bins that can easily be disembarked onto waiting garbage collection trucks.

Director Noel Gaerlan of the DENR’s Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO), which is in charge of the acquisition of the boats, said the recipients of the 20 additional units is still to be determined.

He also said that since the trash boats will mainly be used in rivers and esteros, the DENR is also planning to purchase a “trash skimmer” that will be used to collect trash along Manila Bay.

The cleanup of Manila Bay was ordered by the Supreme Court (SC) through a decision dated December 18, 2008. In the “writ of continuing mandamus”, the SC tasked 13 government agencies, including the DENR, to clean up the bay and restore its waters to SB level, or fit for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact recreation.

  

 

Students and faculties of Iliranan Elementary School in Negros Occidental and of Camarines Sur National High School in Naga City have something to look forward to in the coming days -- and that is to represent the country in the 2012 ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Eco-Schools Awards to be held on July 17-18, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This was announced today by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, following a report by Malaysia in the 4th Meeting of ASEAN Working Group on

Environmental Education (AWGEE) held May 29-30, 2012 in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The 2012 ASEAN Eco-Schools Awards is organized by the Government of Malaysia in partnership with Hanns-Seidel Foundation, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Japan-ASEAN Integrated Fund (JAIF) and the ASEAN Secretariat.

“This early I would like to congratulate the students and faculty members of these two schools for championing environmental protection in their campuses. Teaching the kids to do simple things like tree planting and the 3Rs of solid waste management will go a long way in shaping up an environment-conscious nation,” Paje said.

He also said the international recognition would serve as an additional incentive for schools in the country to level up their respective environmental education program.

The 2012 ASEAN Eco-Schools Award seeks to recognize institutions of learning at the primary and secondary level in the 10 country members that demonstrates values of environmental sustainability practices and carries out environmentally-friendly school policies, teaching programs and practices for the benefit of the school and surrounding communities.

The criteria for the awards are divided into four categories: (1) School Policy and Administration; (2) Teaching Modules and Learning Activities; (3) Facilities and Environmental Practices and (4) Partnership and Community Outreach.

Further, the awarding ceremony is in line with the declaration of 2012 as the ASEAN Year for the Environment, with the theme “Environmental Awareness through Eco-Schools”.

A public school in San Carlos City, Iliranan Elementary School won the grand prize in last year’s National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools for being an active implementer of the Republic Act 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The school earned the judges’ votes for its efforts in training not only the pupils, but also their parents and the local community to reduce, reuse, recycle and segregate wastes, known in solid waste management as the 3Rs.

To generate extra funds for their school activities, they sell recyclable items they collect from the students themselves to the junkshops while the biodegradable wastes are utilized as organic fertilizers to plants and vegetable gardens within their campus.

The school likewise strictly imposes environmental policies such as the no-to-open burning and open dumping policy, no smoking, no nailing and illegal cutting of trees and to conserve water, just to name a few.

The Camarines Sur National High School (CSNHS), a public secondary school in Naga City, won the championship for its “Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O)”.

The student organization serves to facilitate environmental projects by mobilizing the school in tree planting like the CSNHS Forest Park Project), symposia on environment and health concerns, street and coastal clean-up, and environmental campaigns through signage, bulletin announcements, green film showing, essays and poster-making contests, solid waste recovery through Project SAVE (Service Awareness in Valuing Environment), and participation in international Earth-saving events like Green Wave, Earth Hour, etc.

In a related development, the DENR through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has announced the commencement process of the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools. The nationwide search is organized by the DENR-EMB, in cooperation with the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, Smart Communications, Inc., Nestle Philippines, Inc. and Unilever Philippines, Inc.

EMB Director Juan Miguel Cuna said the national search is a direct response to Republic Act No. 9512, also known as the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008.

For further details of the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools, please contact the National Program Secretariat at the EMB’s Environmental Education and Information Division at teleafx number 9284674; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Websites: http://emb.gov.ph and http://www.sustainableschools.ph