Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has signed a partnership agreement with the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) to mainstream gender and development (GAD) programs and capacitate officials and employees to promote gender equality in all aspects of work within the DENR.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the agreement will bring great strides in the GAD implementation as it raises awareness about the role of women in the environment sector.

"We at the DENR are honored to have this partnership with PCW to promote the role of women in the environment sector and spread more awareness about their significant role," Cimatu said.

According to the DENR chief, the recent addition of the GAD courses in the agency’s Environment and Natural Resources Academy (ENRA) also serves as "another avenue for DENR personnel to be more equipped in the changing society and times."

"With the recent launch and conclusion of the special course on enforcement at ENRA, another specialized course—this time on GAD—will make men and women more sensitive and more prepared to interact with their colleagues while keeping in mind the lessons in gender and development," Cimatu added.

Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, who serves as the chairperson of the DENR's National Gender Focal Point System, said that the agreement serves as "an anticipatory and thorough planning for mainstreaming gender and development concerns in the department, rather than the as-the-need-arises basis."

"Partnership is bound to change the way we in the DENR team can go about assessing the state and requirements of gender-based training in the Department, prioritizing carefully those that need attention on both sides," Rebuelta-Teh said.

Meanwhile, PCW Executive Director Kristine Rosary Yuson-Chaves said the Commission has "high hopes that this endeavor will bring clarity as well as new insights to DENR’s mainstreaming journey."

According to Yuson-Chaves, PCW "has identified the environment sector to be prioritized for the provision of the GAD-related technical assistance."

"PCW commits to support DENR in this gender mainstreaming journey so that implementation will go beyond near compliance but, more importantly, to achieve gender responsiveness of the agency’s programs, projects, activities and services, and realize positive impacts in the lives of its duty-bearers and clients, especially on women and girls," said Yuson-Chaves.

Under the agreement, the DENR will take the lead in organizing GAD-related activities, including preparation of GAD Plans and Budgets, and Enhanced Gender Mainstreaming Evaluation Framework.

Meanwhile, PCW will provide resource persons to guide and support the capacity development program of DENR in its ENRA’s supervisory and management courses and extend the necessary technical assistance in other related activities.

The PCW serves as the national machinery for gender equality and women’s empowerment and is mandated to capacitate national government agencies to effectively implement Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women.

Witnessing the signing of the partnership agreement were DENR Climate Change Service Director Elenida dR. Basug, also the concurrent Director for DENR GAD Office, and PCW Chief GAD Specialist for Sectoral Coordination Division Macario T. Jusayan. ###

Cimatu appeals for more private sector participation in peatlands cons Cimatu urged the private sector to follow the lead of telecommunications giant PLDT-Smart in contributing to the conservation of peatlands in the country.

Cimatu issued the statement after the DENR, through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), received additional equipment from PLDT-Smart for the protection and conservation of the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS).

"We are thankful to our partner in the private sector, PLDT-Smart for this initiative. May this example inspire other companies to pioneer initiatives for the protection of the country's peatlands," Cimatu said.

BMB Director Datu Tungko Saikol also expressed his gratitude to PLDT-Smart for helping the DENR in taking care of "one of the world’s important natural heritage."

"Our frontliners in peatland protection, particularly the Bantay Danao volunteers need to be properly equipped to be able to respond swiftly and efficiently to enforcement concerns. The lack of protective gears and equipment like drone, camera and GPS as well as communication device, are common constraints in these monitoring, surveillance and enforcement activities," Saikol said.

The DENR-BMB received additional 12 portable radios and 200 vests from PLDT-Smart, on behalf of DENR-Caraga, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Agusan del Sur, and the Protected Area Management Office of AMWS. These equipment will be used to strengthen the enforcement activities of Bantay Danao volunteers in Caimpugan peatland and other peatlands within the AMWS.

The Caimpugan Peat Swamp Forest in AMWS is the largest documented peatland reserve in the country. It is estimated to store 22.9 million tons of carbon within its 5,487 hectare peatland; thus its protection will prevent the release of millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

Peatlands cover only three percent of the Earth’s land surface but they can store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests combined if kept wet, making it a globally important ecosystem in terms of carbon sequestration.

It is also a rich ecosystem that supports biodiversity and plays an important role in climate change mitigation.

Currently, there are nine (9) confirmed peatlands in the Philippines, which are listed as part of the tropical peatlands in the ASEAN region.

The DENR pointed out that the crucial role of peatlands in mitigating climate change, as well as the huge costs that arise when these natural carbon sinks are damaged, remains largely overlooked.

The turnover of additional equipment is part of the three-year partnership between the DENR and PLDT-Smart aimed at strengthening conservation activities at the Caimpugan peatland and other peatlands within the AMWS.

The partnership that started in July 2020 also aims to guide PLDT-Smart to achieve its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2030. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has committed to focus its efforts toward the improvement of the Manila Bay's water quality before reopening the Dolomite Beach along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

"We will focus on cleaning the waters of Manila Bay so that the public not only can visit the Dolomite Beach but also bathe and swim in the near future," DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said in a recent press conference.

Leones said the DENR-led Manila Bay Task Force (MBTF) will work out a plan for the drainage system of Manila Baywalk’s outfalls in Padre Faura, Remedios, and Abad.

He noted that the wastewater originating from houses and industries will be diverted to the sewage treatment plant, while floodwater will be coursed through a huge HDPE (high-density polyethylene) pipe that is 400 meters long from the sea wall.

"We will also work out on the outfall near the Dolomite Beach Rock Garden where there’s a high fecal coliform level according to our Environmental Management Bureau-National Capital Region (EMB-NCR)," Leones said.

"All of these activities will be completed this year or in the first quarter of 2022 considering possible changes on the alert level status of the NCR," he added.

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan cited that as of October 25, the Dolomite Beach area has a coliform level of 22,000 mpn per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 mL).

Caancan pointed out that improving the water quality and maintaining it to a low fecal coliform has been a "challenging" task.

Leones added that the water quality in the dolomite area needs to be addressed immediately to achieve the standard level of 100 MPN/100 ml to make it "swimmable."

However, he cited significant improvements in the coliform level, which now only ranges from hundreds to thousands as compared to millions or billions prior to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

During the press conference, the DENR announced that the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach will remain closed to the public as the MBTF will commence the second phase of the project and continue the Manila Bay rehabilitation.

While closed, the MBTF will be coming up with guidelines to those who would like to take pictures outside the beach area to prevent possible overcrowding.

Moreover, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is undergoing minor repairs in the footbridge leading to the beach area to further maintain its structural integrity and ensure the safety of the public.

The Phase 2 of the Dolomite project will start soon and is targeted to be finished within the year.

It includes installing geo-engineering structures such as geotubes to cover 360 meters of beach area and the overlay of dolomite sand and pebbles to complete the 500 meters area of the beach.

Other plans include the construction of a beach and fishing area near the Manila Yacht Club to serve as swimming and playground for children.

The establishment of two solar-powered comfort rooms, mandamus office, souvenir hub, and lighting and landscaping works along the Manila Baywalk are also targeted to be completed this year.

"We’ll do our best to finish these within the year before the holiday season,” said DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda.

Antiporda added: “Let’s see how our situation will progress since we are in a fragile situation due to the pandemic. But with the decreasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country, we are optimistic that we can reopen within the year.”

Meanwhile, rehabilitation works are also being addressed in Baseco, Tondo as well as in the provinces of Cavite, Pampanga and Laguna areas of Manila Bay. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday, November 4, started dismantling illegal aquaculture structures in Cavite City as part of the government's efforts to rehabilitate the Manila Bay.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGU) Concerns Benny D. Antiporda led the joint operations with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the city government of Cavite for the clearing of abandoned fish traps, locally known as “sapra.”

Sapra is a sturdy fish trap made with bamboo and uses “superlight” to attract and catch fish.

PCG Vice Admiral Eduardo Fabricante, PCG Commodore Hostillo Cornelio, DENR-CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria, and Cavite Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENR) Officer Januel Peras joined and dispatched their personnel during the operation.

The dismantling activity was in line with the objective of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Manila Bay to clear its waters of marine litter, said Antiporda, who is also the head of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force.

Tall bamboo structures were demolished and fishing paraphernalia, including improvised superlight and wide fishing nets with smaller holes, were recovered during the operation.

“Just like what we’ve said a long time ago, our first objective is ‘to see is to believe.’ No more floating debris here in Manila Bay, that is our target,” he pointed out.

Antiporda emphasized that debris from the fishing structures in Cavite City are washed ashore the Manila Baywalk area along Roxas Boulevard.

“These (sapras) majorly contribute to the floating debris washed towards the baywalk area,” Antiporda said. “Come typhoons, they (operators) are just waiting for it to be destroyed and when destroyed they do not fix it, instead they bring in and install new set of bamboos.”

He added: “After they make money out of this — after they abuse our marine resources, you can see the fishing net they are using can catch even small and still growing fish--they will just abandon this until it becomes garbage.”

Antiporda said operators of the sapras, who are big business owners and can afford to finance the construction of massive fishing traps, immediately abandoned the structures, “aware that they have violated laws and cases shall be filed against them when caught.”

Meanwhile, the DENR official stressed that inter-agency coordination is being undertaken to address the concerns of smaller fishing communities in Cavite City that have been affected by the illegal fishing operations.

“We have notified even the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and the BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) to make sure that we address concerns from the fisherfolk working here,” Antiporda said.

“A lot of small-time fishermen are negatively affected because they need to go beyond 15 kilometers from the shoreline since the sapras already occupy part of the city waters,” he added. “These are the things that we are trying to solve for our fisherfolk.”

Tamoria, on the other hand, said the fishing structures are considered illegal due to violation of several environmental and maritime laws and regulations.

“First, these sapras do not have permit and second the method used in fishing is illegal based on the (Philippine) Fisheries Code of 1998 such as the use of superlight,” Tamoria said.

“Third, in the context of the Manila Bay rehabilitation, this structure is not allowed in the water quality based on SB level and fourth this interrupts the movement of marine vessels,” he explained.

Last October 25, the DENR-CALABARZON and Cavite PENR Office installed warning signs to dismantle around 32 illegally-operated sapras.

The waters of Cavite City are part of the priority areas for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay. ###

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has expressed his strong support for a bill seeking to conserve the critically endangered Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis).

Cimatu issued the statement following calls for the passage of House Bill (HB) 8299 or the proposed Tamaraw Conservation Management Act in response to the pressing need to conserve the remaining population of the Tamaraw, a dwarf buffalo that is endemic to Mindoro Island.

"We hope that the House of Representatives and the Senate will keep this bill in mind in choosing priorities to ensure that one of our country’s biodiversity treasures is conserved and protected," Cimatu said.

The DENR chief said he also "thoroughly supports the proposed crafting of a Department Administrative Order for the Tamaraw Conservation Program while the said bill is not yet a law."

Cimatu's statement came as the country observed the National Tamaraw Month in October under the theme: "Tamaraw atin ito, Ipagmalaki mo bilang Pilipino!"

The DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), together with the DENR-Region 4B (MIMAROPA), conducted the "Tamaraw Talks" webinar to highlight the conservation and protection efforts and activities implemented by the DENR through the Tamaraw Conservation Program.

The activities were conducted with the assistance of various non-government organizations in Mindoro that help in the conservation, protection, and preservation of the remaining population of the Tamaraw in their natural habitat.

In his message during the webinar, DENR-BMB Director Datu Tungko M. Saikol enjoined the public "to pursue and enhance our advocacy for Tamaraw conservation to allow future generations to appreciate and marvel at one of the country’s treasures and pride."

Authored by Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato, HB 8299 calls for the creation of the Tamaraw Conservation Coordinating Council and the Technical Advisory Group, Tamaraw Conservation Program Office, and the Tamaraw Conservation and Research Center that will be in charge of coordination, research, and pertinent activities to ensure that the program’s objectives are met.

The celebration of the National Tamaraw Month is under Presidential Proclamation No. 273, series of 2002, which declares the month of October of every year as a Special Month for the Conservation and Protection of the Tamaraw in Mindoro. ###