Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will carry out “search and rescue” operations for trees needing immediate treatment for injuries as a result of nailing into them election campaign materials.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said “the move is especially important as injured trees, if left unattended, are susceptible to infection and may not be able to grow properly with structural defects that make them prone to fail and fall over during typhoons.”

Sampulna’s directive was given through a memorandum issued by DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations-Luzon, Visayas and Environment Juan Miguel Cuna last May 17, 2022 whose office oversees DENR’s implementation of its “Oplan Baklas” (OB) in all its 16 regional offices.

In ordering to complete their OB accomplishment reports, Cuna likewise ordered DENR regional offices through their respective Regional Executive Directors to “conduct an inventory of trees damaged due to the election campaign and conduct possible treatments appropriate to the conditions” of the injured trees.

As of April, some 114,664 pieces of campaign materials and other paraphernalia had been taken down in DENR’s OB which has been implemented nationwide under a DENR-COMELEC- DILG Joint Memorandum for a joint implementation and tear down or confiscation of campaign materials posted outside of common poster areas designated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

Sampulna cited trees in urban areas need to be prioritized, noting that “trees in our urban areas have been decreasing through the years despite the countless benefits they give to improve the quality of life in cities, especially now that climate change is upon us.”

Of particular concern to the environment chief is the manner how many of the trees had been cleared of the nailed campaign posters and the likelihood that there are nails still left in trees which can cause long-term damage to trees, especially the young ones.

“Hammering a nail into a tree inevitably leaves a wound that exposes its insides to bacteria and fungi and causes decay of the wood, leading to a structurally weakened tree and can even shorten its life,” Sampulna explained.

Juvenile trees are less able to recover from these injuries and most vulnerable to these long-term damages from injuries compared to mature trees over ten years old.

“Our field officers may have to revisit the trees that have been cleared of these materials to remove unpulled nails and apply a wound dressing that contains fungicide and insecticide, especially in nail holes that show signs of surface rust,” according to Raul Briz, chief of Forest Protection office of the Forest Management Bureau. ###

 

The Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has recognized the significant progress made towards a more climate resilient Philippines under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

During the “Duterte Legacy Summit: The Final Report to the People” on May 30, CCAM-DRR chair and DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the President has made great strides in institutionalizing the centrality of environment to the country’s development.

“The Duterte administration espoused that a healthy environment is the foundation for economic and social development,” said Sampulna, stressing the Duterte presidency has remained on track with its “Climate Action Pathway,” as a strategy to “enhance resilience and adaptive capacity of the ecosystems and vulnerable communities.”

The DENR chief also mentioned the “impossible” clean up of Manila Bay and the six-month rehabilitation of Boracay Island as two of the administration’s major achievements that define President Duterte’s legacy on environment and climate governance to “foster a sustainable future for every Filipino.”

“Our government has shown real resilience, great concern for the environment, for the people,” Sampulna said.

He said that this highlighted how President Duterte has positioned his administration to take significant progressive actions on climate change and disaster resiliency with the creation of the Task Force Build Back Better (TFBBB) by virtue of Executive Order No. 120 to strengthen the climate resilience capacities of communities vulnerable to disasters and climate hazards, especially in Cagayan Valley, Bicol Region, and Marikina River Basin.

“Phase 1 of dredging in the Magapit Narrows, Cagayan, and Marikina River had been completed, while the removal of critical sandbars restricting the water flows of the Cagayan, Marikina, and Bicol Rivers is ongoing,” Sampulna pointed out.

His report was capped with a testimonial from Beverly Calud, a Marikina resident.

Calud attested to the marked absence of devastating floods along the Marikina River, which she attributed to the TFBBB’s dredging and widening of the river and watershed rehabilitation along the riverbanks and the Upper Marikina River Basin.

The TFBBB’s initiatives were done using a whole-of-government approach supported by the operation of a strengthened quick response mechanism to give immediate relief assistance to indigents living in hazard-prone areas and victims of typhoons and earthquakes nationwide.

“Emergency Operations Centers in 17 regional offices and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center were established as command-and-control points for emergency operations and activities,” Sampulna said.

 

The aspect deemed most salient in the report was the Duterte administration’s commitment to clean energy which has resulted in the ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, impose a moratorium on coal power projects, and advocate for the phase-down of unabated coal power and end of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies during the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Renewable energy and a low carbon public transport system were actively promoted, especially with the recent passage of Republic Act 11697 or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act. Proper solid waste management and alternative climate-resilient livelihoods were bolstered to relieve pressure on the environment and biodiversity,” Sampulna said.

He also emphasized the administration’s efforts to push for responsible mining for sustainable development with the completion of the first and second phases of the mining audit, covering 43 large-scale surface metallic mining companies.

“An estimated P2.7 billion were also committed to environmental programs, on top of the 8.1 million seedlings and reforestation of 6,600 hectares of mined-out and other areas for the Mining Forest Program,” Sampulna said.

He added that P407.6 million of the Social Development Management Program of mining companies were realigned to support the affected impact and non-impact communities during the pandemic. ###

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach will be reopened to the public on June 12 coinciding with the country’s celebration of Independence Day. 
 
Initially scheduled to reopen in May, the DENR has moved the date as some infrastructures have yet to be finished in the area.
 
“We are excited to open the dolomite beach to the public again on June 12. This is the good legacy of the Duterte administration, that’s why we really aim to open it before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term ends,” said Sampulna.
 
According to DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones, the 500-meter beach nourishment project, which started in 2020, has withstood rains, typhoons and floods yet remains intact. 
 
“This proves that the dolomite beach, thanks to the assistance of the Department of Public Works and Highways and the other agencies, is stable and will prevail,” he added.
 
Leones bared that the opening of the dolomite beach beside the US Embassy in Manila will be held with the unveiling of the World War II Heritage Cannon in the Remedios area “to encourage patriotism among the public and to signify that the battle to cleanup Manila Bay is not yet over.”
 
The Heritage Cannon is one of the original World War II cannons from Fort Drum Island situated at the mouth of Manila Bay.
 
Even after the current administration, Leones said the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach will remain part of the rehabilitation approach in cleaning Manila Bay in accordance with the writ of continuing mandamus issued by the Supreme Court in 2008.
 
Meanwhile, Manila Bay Coordinating Office Executive Director Jacob F. Meimban clarified that the beach reopening is only for visitation, walking, and sunset viewing, and not yet for swimming as water quality is still not within the 100 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 mL) standard fecal coliform level.
 
Meimban is positive that the water quality will further improve by the end of the year as one station in the dolomite beach is already at 920 MPN/100 mL coliform level, as of May 13.
 
Before the start of the rehabilitation efforts, waters near the Manila Baywalk have registered an average coliform level of 5.75 million MPN/100 mL, based on the MBCO’s data in 2019. 
 
Once it reopens, the DENR will allow 1,500 to 3,500 persons at a given time inside the 500-meter span of the dolomite beach to ensure that the minimum health protocols are strictly followed.
 
Meimban added that online pre-registration is not needed under Alert Level 1, but encouraged visitors to be fully vaccinated before their visit. ###
 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has committed to finish the construction of an engineered sanitary landfill in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur by the end of June.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the establishment of a sanitary landfill in barangays Malimuno and Kasanayan in Kapai town, Lanao del Sur province, will help “protect the health of the Maranao children and guard against groundwater contamination.”

“DENR is moving forward toward the completion of an engineered sanitary landfill under its solid waste management program as prescribed in Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001,” Sampulna said in a speech read by Assistant Secretary for Field Operations-Western Mindanao Arleigh Adorable during the culmination program for the Marawi Week of Peace at Rizal Park, Marawi City on May 20.

Meanwhile, the land used as an open dumpsite in Barangay Papandayan will be rehabilitated and eventually be converted into good use.

Through RA 116961 or the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Act of 2022, the DENR determined the most affected areas through social cartography or mapping as the lead agency in the Land Resource Management Sub-Committee of Task Force Bangon Marawi.

RA 116961 serves as “one of the information sources for updating post-conflict needs assessment,” according to DENR Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Michelle Angelica Go.

“These records also contributed to the mediation of claims and conflicts facilitated by the Land Dispute Resolution Committee and provided permanent shelter and allowed for the re-construction of land records of Marawi City,” said Go, who is also the head of the DENR Sub-Committee on Task Force Bangon Marawi.

The DENR also took part in facilitating the rebuilding of damaged properties while ensuring the authenticity of claims.

Under the program “Katagombalay,” the DENR has successfully validated 3,914 property claims so far, allowing owners to undertake reconstruction.

“The goal and strategy to achieve the outputs of the DENR’s role in Marawi rehabilitation is environmental peacebuilding, which is accompanied by achieving sustainable development goals,” Go said.

Peacebuilding is based on the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/262, which states that the “overarching goal is to reduce the risk of lapse or relapse into violent conflict by addressing the symptoms, but also the root causes of the conflict.” ###

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna has lamented that solid waste management remains a major problem for the Philippines mostly due to the mismanagement of waste segregation at the local level.
 
He said that despite the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management of 2000 that mandates segregation at the barangay level, some local government units (LGUs) have not yet strictly enforced the law.
 
“The national government can only do so much. While we provide the technical assistance, capability support, and information dissemination on environmental laws, the responsibility of solid waste management rests with the LGUs,” Sampulna said.
 
“The LGUs need to strictly enforce their solid waste management plan, allot a sufficient budget for the implementation, and impose proper segregation in their contracts between their waste collection service providers,” he also said.
 
As the DENR has already closed all 335 open dumpsites in the country, it has required LGUs to establish a sanitary landfill to replace the garbage dumps.
 
Meanwhile, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and Attached Agencies Benito Antonio T. De Leon pointed out that there remains a lack of understanding of the importance of waste segregation among households, thereby no lifestyle changes towards disposal.
 
“Although there is a significant observation on the compliance among households in some areas, there are others who still don’t segregate. We need to remind ourselves that our neglect of waste segregation leads to environmental impacts such as harm to our marine life,” de Leon said.
 
“Instead of specific trash ending up in materials recovery facilities, composting sites, and hazardous waste treatment plants, it ends up piling in our scarce sanitary landfills and water bodies, causing diseases, pollution, drainage obstructions, food contamination, among many others,” he added.
 
De Leon reminded the public to observe proper segregation in their homes, specifically on compostable, recyclable, residual, household hazardous, and household healthcare wastes.
 
Compostable and biodegradable wastes such as plants, wet paper, and food waste are placed in green trash bins, while recyclable wastes such as glass, plastic bottles, and scrap metal are placed in the blue trash bins.
 
Meanwhile, black trash bins represent residual wastes such as used plastic or paper cups, food wrappers and tetra packs, and red trash bins represent household hazardous wastes such as paint cans, spray canisters, and electrical or electronic equipment.
 
Used face masks, gloves, and other COVID-related wastes belong to the household healthcare wastes which are placed in yellow trash bins.
 
De Leon said that in the absence of color-coded bins or trash bags, households can alternatively label it according to its category.
 
Moreover, to teach waste management at an early age, he invited children aged five to eight to download DENR’s Basura Buster app in their mobile phones and learn about proper waste segregation in an enjoyable way. ###