Press Releases

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is suspending all activities relating to land titling in areas proposed for declaration into protected areas.

The suspension is based on DENR Memorandum Order No. 2011-04, which provides the guidelines in regulating all activities, projects and land uses in all areas proposed for inclusion in the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the move is to “ease environmental pressure caused by human settlements on areas that naturally maintain ecological processes, provide life support systems, and preserve biodiversity.”

Under the order, the suspension shall cover survey and processing of all public land applications (PLAs) for titling purposes. Paje, however, clarified that the suspension shall only be effective on the actual date of submission of the draft proclamation by the DENR’s regional office, which has jurisdiction over the area, to the DENR Central Office in Quezon City.

Also suspended starting on the same date is the processing of applications for lease, license or permit of any project or activity within the identified area, as well as the acceptance of new applications “except for projects that are compatible with the objectives of the NIPAS.”

In cases, however, where the Office of the President decides to disapprove the proposed proclamation, the DENR shall lift the suspension on said activities.

In line with this, Paje ordered land management officers from the DENR’s field offices and the Land Management Bureau to ensure that survey and administrative titling activities comply with Memorandum Order 4. “Any responsible officer or personnel who fail to comply [with MO 4] shall be penalized accordingly,” the DENR chief warned.

Protected areas (PAs), as defined in Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS), are portions of land and water with unique physical and biological significance, managed to enhance biodiversity and protected against destructive human exploitation. PAs are categorized as nature or resource reserves; natural parks, monuments, or biotic areas; wildlife sanctuaries; protected land or seascapes; or as established by law, conventions or international agreements.

Data from the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of DENR indicate that there are currently 239 protected areas included in the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS), covering a total area of 5.4 million hectares. Of the total, 111 have already been officially as such, encompassing a total area of 3.5 million hectares.

Of these declared PAs, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau Director Mundita Lim said 82 are terrestrial PAs, with a total area of 2.1 million hectares, of which 374,908.5 hectares are within alienable and disposable (A & D) lands.

 

  

 

Field officers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are now required to first appear before a notary public attorney to swear on the correctness of their accomplishment reports before submitting them to the DENR’s head office in Quezon City.
This after DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has ordered the notarization of all reports submitted by his 16 DENR regional executive directors and other DENR field officers playing key roles in the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP) in an apparent move to remove doubts on the veracity of NGP reports submitted to his office.

“The intention is also to raise the agency’s competence in providing accurate reports to our people and the President,” explained Paje, adding that the reports will in turn be submitted to the Commission on Audit (COA) for validation.

It will be recalled that Paje has sought the help of COA for the audit of some 1.5 billion tree seedlings that would be produced and planted in 1.5 million hectares under the NGP between 2011 up to 2016.

Paje described the requirement as a “necessary measure” to heighten transparency and accountability, as he stressed that his order applies to all DENR's regional directors, heads of line bureaus, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers (PENROs), and Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers (CENROs).

“I expect concerned DENR officials to be more truthful and diligent in the preparation of their reports,” Paje stressed.

  

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday (Dec. 9) formally launched its Environmental Compliance Assistance Center (ECAC) to assist local government units (LGUs) on technical concerns and compliance to environmental laws.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the establishment of the assistance center is the DENR’s response “to continually educate our local officials and employees on environmental management, including environmental laws.”

“LGUs are instruments of the national government in enforcing compliance with environmental laws and regulations, especially since some of these laws are devolved to them. The ECAC will therefore strengthen the LGU’s capacity in efficiently performing their duties and obligations as environmentally-regulated institutions, and being operators of regulated public facilities such as hospitals, schools, and markets,” he stated.

The environment chief added that the ECAC is a one-stop center “to guide LGUs in understanding and complying with the many complex environmental laws and standards we have in the country.” He also expected the ECAC to contribute in fast-tracking the implementation of laws such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Water Act, to name a few.

The launch at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City with Paje visiting the website (www.emb.gov.ph/ecacenter) was witnessed by representatives from the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Metro Manila’s LGUs.

The LGU-dedicated ECAC website contains environmental laws, regulations and resolutions, as well as information on the different permits and clearances issued by the DENR. The website also features an “Ask the Expert” section monitored by dedicated technical personnel to respond to online queries.

The ECAC is located at the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) building within the D ENR compound in Quezon City , and manned by technical personnel to assist LGUs. It can also be reached at telephone number 920-2260 or through the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said today that President Aquino has expressed concern over air pollution that may be worsened with the traditional merry making that comes with the holiday celebration.

“The past few months saw the continuing decrease in the level of air pollution in the metropolis from a high of 166 micrograms per Normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm) in June 2010 to 116 ug/Ncm by the end of the third quarter this year. In fact, we attained a low of 112 ug/Ncm last September. We will lose the momentum of our efforts unless the public cooperates with the government in minimizing, if not totally avoid, the use of firecrackers in the coming holidays,” Paje said.

In a letter to the Department of Interior and Local Government, Paje sought the assistance of Secretary Jesse Robredo to designate common firecracker areas that will allow Filipinos to celebrate without the pollution that usually comes with it.

“Designated common fireworks areas (CFAs), whether within a municipality or even among a cluster of barangays would drastically reduce the amount of air pollution from pyrotechnics such as dust, sulfur and charcoal which can complicate respiratory problems,” said Paje.

CFAs could also avoid possible harm to the people, he added.

He, however, expressed optimism over the DILG’s resolve to show political will to designate CFAs in light of snowballing support for the scheme as all of the 17 city and town mayors in Metro Manila signed last October 18, 2011 Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Resolution No. 11-31.

MMDA Resolution 11-31 urges Metro Manila’s local executives to set up in every baranggay common fireworks zones in line with the call for the strict implementation of Republic Act 7183 (An act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices) to “provide safer environment” to celebrate the holidays.

Firecrackers contain sulfur, charcoal and other materials that form greenhouse gases when these react with oxidants in the air.

Further, dusts from fireworks and firecrackers can affect the lungs and pose a real danger to people who suffer from illnesses of the respiratory system like asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, pneumonia, rhinitis and sinusitis.

 

  

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has suspended the transporter permits of Chevalier Enviro Services, Inc. (CESI) and the AEC Hauling Services (AEC) for allegedly transporting and attempting to dump untreated medical wastes at a landfill in Capas, Tarlac in violation of Republic Act 6969, also known as the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.

At the same time, Paje also ordered a halt on the processing of CESI’s application for renewal of its Treatment, Storage and Disposal (TSD) registration pending resolution of the case filed against the company.

The suspension orders, signed by EMB Director Juan Miguel Cuna, directed Chevalier Enviro Services, Inc. and AEC Hauling Services in Parañaque and Pasig cities, respectively, to cease and desist from transporting and accepting healthcare wastes for treatment at their facilities.

Cuna cited in the suspension orders the investigation report submitted by its regional office in Pampanga which found that the hospital wastes loaded in the two trucks were “unsafe to transport due to unsanitary condition such as foul odor and drenching of blood residue,” and without any appropriate hazard warning labels or covering.

Further, the permit to transport (PTT) submitted by the truck drivers did not match with the manifest, which stated CESI as transporter but which the PTT was identified as AEC .

According to Cuna, both AEC and CESI would be subject to sanctions as defined under the prohibited administrative and criminal acts as well as the penalty provisions of RA 6969 and its implementing rules and regulations.

“This should serve as a warning to other waste treatment facilities and transporters to abide by the rules. Public health comes above business interest,” Paje said, as he lauded the police officers of Capas, Tarlac for apprehending the two trucks containing some eight tons of medical wastes intended for dumping to the Metro Clark Sanitary Landfill, also in Capas, but which were refused by the landfill management due to its “untreated condition”.

 

Paje is also enjoining hospitals and other medical facilities to ensure that their wastes are treated and disposed of properly. “The management of wastes, particularly hazardous wastes, requires not only collection and disposal at the designated facilities but more importantly, proper treatment and safe transport to shield the public from unnecessary exposure to microbes and other pollutants that may have adverse effect on public health,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, EMB-Region 3 Director Lormelyn Claudio said that a representative from AEC indicated during the technical conference called by her office on Tuesday that the wastes loaded in the trucks were “a mix of treated and untreated hospital wastes.” The wastes have been hauled back to Chevalier treatment facility on order of EMB.

Claudio also said that based on consultation with the local government unit, the EMB will be reactivating the Multi-partite Monitoring Team composed of representatives from various sectors to prevent a repeat of the incident