Press Releases

 

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

  

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has designated the Sinocalan-Dagupan River System (SDRS) in Pangasinan province as another Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) in line with the government efforts to speed up the rehabilitation of important rivers in the country facing threat from development activities.

In DENR Administrative Order 2011-14, dated November 23, 2011, Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje also called for the creation of a multi-sectoral governing board that will oversee the management of the water quality of SDRS where contamination from development activities was found to be beyond acceptable levels based on the results of a four-month long monitoring activity conducted in 19 sampling stations between January to April this year.

“The SDRS case amplifies our call to urgently act on the dying conditions of the country’s important water bodies,” Paje said, stressing that designating WQMAs will enable concerned officials both in the national and local levels to take focused interventions on specific water quality issues relevant to a particular locality.

The WQMA governing board is composed of mayors and governors of concerned LGUs, and representatives of relevant national government agencies, duly registered non-government organizations, water utility sector, and the business sector. The DENR representative chairs the governing board.

“We are working towards designating more river systems as water quality management areas. But more importantly, we are currently working closely with key stakeholders in these areas to mobilize their governing boards,” Paje said.

He also expressed gratitude to members of the Pangasinan Provincial Council headed by Pangasinan Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim, Jr., who called on the DENR through a provincial resolution issued last August, to designate the Sinocalan-Dagupan River System as a WQMA.

Republic Act No. 9275, also known as the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, mandates the DENR, in coordination with National Water Resources Board (NWRB), to designate certain areas as WQMAs using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed, river basins, or water resources regions to effectively enforce its provisions and improve the water quality of water bodies.

The law also seeks to provide a decentralized management system for water quality protection and improvement of rivers that have similar hydrological, hydro geological, meteorological, or geographic conditions which affect the physical, chemical, biological and bacteriological reactions and diffusion of pollutants in the water bodies, or otherwise share common interest or face similar development programs, prospects or problems.

Under the WQMA, the DENR and the stakeholders will address the water quality problems, sources of pollution, and the beneficial use of the receiving water body. They will also determine what control measures to institute to effectively achieve water quality objectives or improvements.

Each WQMA has a governing board which serves as its planning, monitoring, and coordinating body. The governing board likewise reviews the WQMA action plan prepared by the DENR through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

The SDRS designation brings to seven the number of WQMAs existing in the country, which includes the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system and areas within Laguna Lake Development Authority’s jurisdiction in Luzon; the Tigum-Aganan watershed and the Iloilo-Batiano river system in the Visayas; and the Silway River and the Sarangani Bay in Mindanao.

The SDRS, whose development activities are predominantly for aquaculture, agriculture and domestic purposes - snakes through the municipalities of Binalonan, Sta. Barbara, Calasiao, Mangaldan, Malasiqui and Binmaley and the cities of Urdaneta, San Carlos and Dagupan before eventually draining into the Lingayen Gulf.

  

 

A prime research center for the country’s coastal and marine resources will soon rise in idyllic Snake Island in Palawan.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. issued DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2011-12 establishing Snake Island as site of the D ENR National Coastal and Marine Center for Research (NCMCR).

“The establishment of a research center is a step towards a more effective and efficient conservation of our country’s vast biodiversity. We need to implement clear interventions in protecting and rehabilitating our coastal and marine ecosystems as they provide food and livelihood to millions of Filipinos,” Paje said.

Paje also said the Snake Island makes for an ideal and strategic site for the country’s coastal and marine research program because it represents the megadiversity of the Philippines. “Being located in Palawan, which as we all know, is the country’s last ecological frontier, Snake Island is definitely a good choice to put up our research center,” Paje added.

Under the DAO, the NCMCR in Snake Island would serve as a field station for applied research for marine and coastal ecosystems, ecotourism and biodiversity. It would also house a laboratory for researchers to study interventions for coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves.

The NCMCR would further serve as a model for sustainable coastal and marine management and showcase the proper implementation of ecotourism principles.

Based on Paje’s directive, no application for foreshore lease agreements inconsistent with the objectives and functions of the NCMCR will be entertained by the DENR.

Commercial and industrial businesses other than those related to agriculture will not also be allowed on the island, according to Paje.

Executive Director Jacob Meimban of the DENR’s Coastal and Marine Management Office said his office would coordinate with other marine experts, institutions and agencies such as the DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute, and Silliman University in designing the NCMCR, particularly its laboratory facilities.

Snake Island is a 7.5-hectare snake-shaped island within Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa City , Palawan . Its only structures are a DENR-manned monitoring station, as well as cottages run by the Honda Bay Boat Owners Association, which provide temporary shelter for tourists.