Press Releases

 A leading semiconductor company in the Philippines is joining the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) "Adopt-an-Estero Program" in a bid to save the Palico Creek in Muntinlupa City.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is set to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Friday (March 4) with AMKOR Technology Philippines, Inc. represented by its president Jaesung Kwak, and Muntinlupa City Mayor Aldrin San Pedro.

“AMKOR now joins the ranks of Manila North Tollways Corporation, San Miguel Corporation and the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association for playing an active role in the rehabilitation and protection of rivers and creeks in the country,” Paje said.

The undertaking, Paje said, is part of the “Linis Estero/Ilog” Program which encourages the private sector to extend support in cleaning up waterways in urban centers.

“Most of the water bodies in Metro Manila can no longer be restored by government alone. We need the private sector, the local government units and other stakeholders to help address the huge volume of silt, wastes and other debris that have affected our waterways,” Paje stressed.

With Amkor's support and the communities ensuring that this creek remains clean, we can pass on to the next generation, a much cleaner and safer Palico Creek," he added.
Under the MoA, the parties will undertake expanded environmental improvement, including the dredging of Palico Creek as well as conduct information and education campaigns, community mobilization activities, and trainings for concerned stakeholders in support of the program.

AMKOR has been implementing its Community Right-To-Know Program to sustain the Palico Creek Rehabilitation Project. By signing the MoA, the company seeks to expand its efforts to further improve the state of Palico Creek.

For its part, the DENR, through the Laguna Lake Development Authority and the Environmental Management Bureau, will intensify monitoring of industrial/commercial establishments, and undertake, among others, regular water quality monitoring and provide the necessary technical assistance to concerned leaders and stakeholder groups in the area.

In addition to this, the concerned parties also agreed to determine the necessity of, and to the extent possible, plan for more dredging and desilting of the creek, introduction of interventions such as phyto-remediation thru constructed wetlands, planting of bamboo and other plant species along the river banks, rip-rapping or coco-matting, construction, and greening of linear parks.

AMKOR is the fourth company that signified their commitment to join the Linis Estero/Ilog Program. The first was Manila North Tollways Corporation for portions of the Tullahan River at Barangays Ugong in Valenzuela City and Talipapa in Quezon City; followed by the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association for Diliman Creek and its tributaries; and San Miguel Corporation for portions of Tullahan River from MacArthur Highway all the way to Manila Bay.

 Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje condemned the killing of Community Environment and Natural Resource Officer (CENRO) Pierre Gillo of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) last Friday (Feb. 25) by unidentified gunmen at his residence in Tacloban City.

“If this killing turns out to be related to the government’s effort against illegal logging, then it would be a validation of our fear that the brazen response of illegal loggers have become increasingly brutal and are spreading across regions,” Paje said.

In 2010, three forestry officers were killed in the province of Apayao and in the Caraga region involving a DENR tree marker, forest rangers and a DENR-deputized officer manning DENR checkpoints.

Last July, forest ranger Kennedy Eber Bayani was shot dead in Luna, Apayao. Then DENR tree marker and forest ranger, Rolando Sanchez and Rolando Sinaday, respectively, were gunned down in separate incidents in Surigao del Sur in December last year.

Earlier this year, DENR forest ranger Jacinto P. Dragas, 55, became the fourth casualty in six months after the DENR embarked on a sustained offensive against illegal logging in the Caraga Region in August last year, prompting Paje to describe the Caraga region as a potential “killing field for forest protection workers.”

“It compels this administration to lead the way in repelling this affront on our environmental law enforcers, which is why the creation of an anti-illegal logging task force is one of the salient aspects of Executive Order 23,” Paje said, baring that his agency has been closely working with other national agencies, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to speed up the activation of regional anti-illegal logging task forces.

EO 23, which was issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III early this month, declared a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests in the country.

It likewise provided for the creation of anti-illegal logging task force to be composed of the secretaries of the DENR, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, the chief of the Philippine National Police, and the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In a move to protect government lands from encroachment, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today directed the Land Management Bureau (LMB) to prioritize the titling of all untitled government lands.

At the same time, Paje ordered the regional offices of the DENR to immediately conduct an inventory of untitled lands owned by various government entities and instrumentalities, including those of local government units.

Paje issued the order in consonance with the thrust of the Aquino government to institute reforms in the country’s land administration and management.

“Securing formal titles for all government lands will prevent unscrupulous land syndicates encroaching government lands. Illegal titling has become an avenue of all sorts of corruption that’s why we are initiating this action to stave off such misdeeds from happening,” Paje said. Paje said the titling program of government lands will cover untitled lands owned by national agencies, state colleges and universities, public schools, and local government units.

Untitled areas intended for public purposes by virtue of special laws and proclamations shall likewise be covered by the titling program.

LMB Director Allan Barcena said that under Public Land Act or Commonwealth Act 141, it provides that a special patent can be issued in favor of government instrumentalities or institutions over alienable and disposable (A and D) lands devoted for public purposes.

 A mapping project to be undertaken by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is expected to result in government savings and effective and efficient governance for the Aquino government.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the unified mapping project of the NAMRIA can provide up-to-date geospatial information significant for the country’s social, economic and physical development.

“Around 80% of planning, decision-making and operations in the different government agencies are being influenced by locations. The government uses the geospatial data for legislation, policy development for the allocation and management of resources, conservation of natural resources, protection of the environment, land use management, agricultural production, urban planning, zoning and development, prevention of natural disasters, communications, transport, defense and public safety, among others,” Paje said.

Aside from NAMRIA, there are several government agencies that allocate funds to acquire aerial photography and satellite photography for their respective mapping projects. This practice, said Paje, results in the duplication of expenses and efforts, incompatibility of data and underutilization of map products.

“Under the unified mapping project, there will be pooling and sharing of the resources among different government agencies engaged in mapping activities. This will eliminate duplication of work, optimize the utilization of government funds and eliminate corruption, “ Paje said.

The DENR chief said that the project involves the updating of the 1:50,000 topographic map series for the entire country using high resolution satellite imagery. It also involves the implementation of a more detailed 1:10,000 mapping of 50% of the country’s entire land area.

“The more detailed and larger 1:10,000-scale map is useful for the production of a more detailed plan, and for projects that require more accurate data sets. It can also be used for cadastral applications,” Paje said.

Secretary Paje said the project is supported by the Cabinet and the purchase of images for the mapping will be made by the Department of Budget and Management.

 Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has directed all regional directors of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau to refrain from accepting and processing new mining applications nationwide.

Paje issued the directive in view of the on-going cleansing of pending and inactive mining projects nationwide by the mines bureau.

“As we take on the task of cleansing our regional offices of ageing mining applications and inactive mining projects, I have also directed our MGB officials to refrain from accepting and processing new applications for mining permits, such as exploration permit, mineral production sharing agreement, financial or technical assistance, including industrial sand and gravel permit,” Paje said.

Paje has earlier ordered the MGB’s regional officials until February 20 to cleanse their respective regions of 50% of all pending and inactive mining applications, and until December 2011 for the remaining 50%.

MGB records show that there are currently 2,180 pending mining applications filed in various MGB regional offices.

Aside from pending mining applications, exploration contracts that have already expired for five years or more, and mining contracts whose three-year work programs have not been implemented for two consecutive years are also subject of final action, Paje said.
According to the DENR chief, the suspension in the issuance of new mining permits is part of the reforms in the mining sector in a move to enhance the management of the country’s natural resources. “We are now in the process of implementing our ‘use it or lose it policy’, where we will be cancelling mining applications that were unable to comply with the all the requirements set by the government, including mining tenements that have remained inactive and unproductive through the years.”

In cleansing their respective offices of pending mining applications, however, Paje reminded his field officials to strictly observe the “three-letter-policy” in exacting compliance by applicants of all the requirements, with a minimum of 30 days between these letter- notices. Among these requirements include the acquisition of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from the rightful indigenous peoples concerned, proof of consultation from the LGU’s Sangguniang, and the completion of publication, posting and radio announcement within one year from the date of acceptance of the mining application.