Press Releases

The Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), will bring to center stage the milestones towards climate and disaster resiliency during the “Duterte Legacy Summit 2022” on May 30.

CCAM-DRR cluster chair and DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna will lead the presentation of the report, outlining how President Duterte’s strong political will has raised the bar for Philippine environmentalism.

“Over the past six years, government initiatives steered the country into the path of climate and disaster resiliency, through the whole of society approach,” Sampulna said, noting how this became more evident during the pandemic.

Anchored on the theme “Change has Come: We Have Matatag, Maginhawa, at Panatag Na Buhay, the “Duterte Legacy Summit 2022” that will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) will also serve as a culminating activity of the administration’s campaign on promoting its landmark programs and achievements.

The CCAM-DRR report highlights key areas where landmark progress in climate change resiliency were made due to the steps taken by the Duterte administration in building climate and disaster resilience for the affected communities by disasters and climate hazards; transformative actions to halt and reverse nature loss; supporting quality infrastructures to ensure resilience against extreme weather events and other hazards; innovation and technology to improve knowledge, forecasting and readiness for calamities; key management plans to guide the country towards climate resilience.

The environment chief said the Duterte government pursued a convergence strategy “defined by an institutional network of public and private support between government and stakeholders with strong multi-sector orientations and links to the academe and research institutions” as shown in the Boracay and Manila Bay rehabilitation programs, and the rehabilitation efforts in provinces wreaked by Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses in November 2020.

Likewise in particular is the coastal town of Del Carmen in Siargao whose residents did not experience as much devastation during the typhoon because of the massive mangrove reforestation and were able to quickly recover from Typhoon Odette, according to Del Carmen Fisherfolk Association (DCFA) secretary Judilyn Arreza,

DFCA is a peoples’ organization taking part of the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP) since 2016 and, according to Arreza, the town’s healthy environment was key in their economic sustainability especially in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette and the imposition of the lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic, noting catch yield of DFCA’s members has increased to as much as P1,000 per day on top of the economic benefits they get from Del Carmen’s ecotourism activities. ###

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Jim O. Sampulna praised the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) for launching a technical review process of the current response to wildlife and forest crimes in the Philippines.

Sampulna said the Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit will combat the unlawful and “lucrative” industry of illegal wildlife trade in the Philippines, which is often a source and transshipment point of wildlife and wildlife by-products.

He pointed out that illegal trading is valued at around US$50 billion per year, thus “allowing perpetrators to invest in measures that will enable them to escape detection, investigation, and prosecution.”

“We, as enforcers of environmental laws, need all the help that we can get. This is where the International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife and Forest Crime analytic toolkit can bridge the gap,” he added as he addressed the attendees from law enforcement agencies in the country during the high-level launch on May 23.

The DENR chief highlighted the role of international support to the Philippine government in enforcing laws and prosecuting culprits.

He added that with the help of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the toolkit will allow the DENR to better understand the preventive and criminal justice system's response to wildlife and forest crime.

Sampulna also said that concerned agencies can jointly identify systematic issues and agree on evidence-based recommendation in response to legislative, enforcement, prosecution, and judiciary facets of wildlife trade through the toolkit.

Moreover, he urged other government officials to battle the multimillion illegal business as environmental crimes severely damage critical ecosystems and exacerbate poverty.

“To protect people and the planet in line with the sustainable development goals, and to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis, we have to combat environmental crimes, including the illegal trafficking of wild flora and fauna,” said Sampulna.

The launch was attended by UNODC-Environment Team chief Jorge Rios, United States Embassy for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Director Kelia Cummins, and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday, May 25, ordered the suspension of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) granted to three large-scale mining companies that encroached into the Masungi Georeserve in Baras town, Rizal province.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna signed the separate orders suspending the MPSAs of Rapid City Realty and Development Corp., Quimson Limestone, Inc., and Quarry Rock Group, Inc., as they have been non-operational since 2004.

“I am suspending the operation of those three MPSAs, and remove the companies’ authority to operate in order to remove the public’s speculation and ease their worries,” Sampulna announced in a press conference.

“I am also calling all those support groups and environmentalists to be active in helping us by reporting such illegal activities for us to take action immediately,” he added.

DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Wilfredo G. Moncano said the MGB-CALABARZON will be asked to conduct investigations of other alleged illegal quarrying activities within the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL).

“We will be ordering an investigation if there are any ongoing illegal quarrying operations, despite the suspensions,” Moncano said.

In 2017, former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez and Masungi Georeserve Foundation Inc. (MGFI) signed a memorandum of agreement covering the 2,798 hectares of land situated inside the UMRBPL.

The UMRBPL, in accordance with the passage of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems Act or ENIPAS Act, was declared as a protected area in 2018. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has welcomed the enactment of laws establishing five more protected areas under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS), which brings to 112 the total number of legislated protected areas nationwide.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recently signed into law Republic Act (RA) 11684 or the Mt. Arayat Protected Landscape Act; RA 11685 or the Mt. Pulag Protected Landscape Act; RA 11686 or the Naga-Kabasalan Protected Landscape Act; RA 11687 or the Tirad Pass Protected Landscape Act; and RA 11688 or the Banao Protected Landscape Act.

With the legislation of new protected areas, DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna believes that “more people are realizing the importance of placing biologically important areas under the intensified protection of the Expanded NIPAS Act of 2018.”

“We welcome these recent developments in additional protected areas from our legislators. May this be the impetus of further environmental protection in more biologically important and related conservation areas,” Sampulna said.

It will be recalled that in 2018, RA 7586 or the NIPAS Act of 1992 was amended by RA 11038 or the E-NIPAS Act, which also legislated 94 protected areas under the System.

Meanwhile, DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Natividad Bernardino reminded the community and the local government units near the concerned sites to “cooperate with the DENR in the sustainable management and effective administration of these newly legislated protected areas.”

The potentially active stratovolcano, Mt. Arayat Protected Landscape is located in Pampanga, while Mt. Pulag Protected Landscape, a dormant volcano and the third highest mountain the Philippines, straddles the provinces of Benguet and Ifugao.

Located in Mindanao, the Naga-Kabasalan Protected Landscape is a karst area of about 3,132 hectares covering two watersheds, Tipan and Busyawan, with perennial springs draining towards Bacalan River and then to Sibuguey Bay.

The Tirad Pass Protected Landscape is a historically important landmark in Ilocos Sur as the site of the heroism of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar during the 1899 Philippine–American War.

The Banao Protected Landscape in Kalinga is a merger of the Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park and Banao watershed area, and is home to the Banao tribe.

“Our laws would be futile if people near these areas would violate them, so we urge those who live near these areas to help the DENR in its mission to conserve these sites for the benefit of their children and grandchildren,” Bernardino said. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) vowed to pursue future partnerships with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as it welcomed Sakamoto Takema as JICA’s new Chief Representative to the Philippines.

Sakamoto took over JICA Philippines from former Chief Representative Azukizawa Eigo, who steered JICA’s development cooperation projects in the Philippines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“DENR and JICA have a long history of partnership, and we have achieved many milestones together. Under Mr. Sakamoto’s leadership, we will continue to support them for the protection and conservation of our environment and natural resources,” said DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna.

Prior to his appointment, Sakamoto held wide-ranging leadership positions in JICA for over 30 years, including Director General for the South Asia Department at the JICA headquarters, and JICA Chief Representative in Iraq and India in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

Sakamoto laid out JICA’s two projects, the PH-P248: Forestland Management Project, and the Project for Capacity Development on Improving Solid Waste Management through Advanced/Innovative Technologies during a courtesy call to Sampulna on May 16.

He is also looking forward to further coordination with the DENR for the smooth implementation of these projects.

Through the years, DENR and JICA have been working closely for the protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources.

JICA has sponsored DENR’s training program on Sustainable Forestry Management with Community Participation in 2019, and also partnered with DENR-led Task Force Build Back Better for the rehabilitation of the Marikina River.

Since the 1960s, JICA has been assisting in the country’s development projects, including environment, agriculture, and peace and development in Mindanao. ###