Press Releases

 

In a landmark move, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday, Sept. 27, started using Filipino Sign Language (FSL) interpreters in online lectures for its environmental awareness campaign.

During the online lecture for Persons with Disability/Senior Citizens (PWD/SC) Desk titled "Perfect 10 in September," FSL interpreters from the Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters joined the lectures on the 10 priority programs of the DENR and its Tayo ang Kalikasan campaign.

Through the lectures, the DENR creates an inclusive atmosphere for special sectors toward the protection and conservation of the environment, said DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, who is a staunch supporter of PWD/SC rights.

"We in the Department are very serious in integrating activities to our priority programs that will provide platforms for our special sectors to be part of our initiatives in protecting, conserving, and managing our country’s environment and natural resources," Antiporda said.

He also acknowledged the contribution of the senior citizens and PWDs among DENR personnel.

"To our colleagues preparing for their retirement, allow me to thank you, from the bottom of my heart for the valued public service you have rendered," Antiporda said.

"To our colleagues with special needs, know that your contribution to our country is valuable and appreciated," he added.

DENR Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service Director Hiro V. Masuda said the activity is the pilot launch of incorporating Filipino sign language in the DENR’s environmental lectures in support of Republic Act 11106 or the Filipino Sign Language Act.

The law declares the Filipino Sign Language as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and the official sign language of government in all transactions involving the deaf, and mandating its use in schools, broadcast media, and workplaces.

Masuda initiated the inclusion of FSL in the Department’s information, education, and communication campaigns in accordance with RA 11106.

He also noted that the activity is in line with the celebration of the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service.

In support of the Linggo ng Pasasalamat for the Civil Service Commission’s month-long celebration, the DENR recognized employees "to express gratitude to the valuable support of the DENR civil servants who are about to retire."

The month of September is declared as the Civil Service Month pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1050, series of 1997.

The PWD/SC Desk is under the DENR Stakeholder Management and Conflict Resolution Division. ###

 

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu welcomed the approval of his agency’s P25.29 billion proposed budget for 2022 after two and a half hours of plenary deliberation at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

"I am very much grateful for all the support extended to us by our lawmakers for the approval of our budget. I am optimistic that the DENR would get the same extent of support from the senators just like their counterparts in the House when they meet at the bicameral conference committee," Cimatu said.

The DENR chief reiterated that the agency's proposed budget for 2022 will help sustain the country’s gains and achieve green growth recovery even in the coming years.

The DENR's 2022 budget, which is 7 percent higher than the agency’s 2021 approved budget of P23.59 billion, is sponsored by Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco.

In a virtual plenary session, Buhay Partylist Rep. Jose Atienza Jr. interpellated the budget measure along with four other Makabayan solons, namely, representatives Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna), France Castro (ACT-Teachers Partylist), and Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Partylist).

Cimatu noted that the DENR has been receiving an average amount of P21.11 billion or 0.79 percent of the national budget for the past 10 years.

"It’s way far from what the agency needs to fully realize its mandate but we will soldier on to give vital support to the government’s sustainable development programs," Cimatu pointed out.

The Enhanced National Greening Program takes the largest share of the P9.7-billion budget for DENR’s 10 priority programs with an allocation of P3.68 billion, followed by Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation (P1.01 billion), and Manila Bay Rehabilitation (P1.67 billion).

The Solid Waste Management Program will receive P1.07 billion, Intensified Forest Protection and Anti-Illegal logging will get P696.41 million, followed by Improved Land Administration and Management with P415.34 million, and GeoHazard, Groundwater Assessment and Responsible Mining with P407.65 million.

Likewise, the Scaling Up of Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Programs will get P271.8 million while Clean Water and Clean Air will be given P315.49 million and P143 million, respectively.

Cimatu said the proposed budget will help the department fulfill its water resilience and water security programs to adapt to climate change and recover from the setback caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We shall be focusing on the strategic thrust of water resilience and water security to heighten integrated watershed management, promote sustainable livelihood for the upland communities, address pollution, protect wildlife and biodiversity," he stressed.

Under the budget, priority support will be given to 24 climate-vulnerable provinces under the Risk Resiliency Program according to the Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR) Roadmap.

These are Masbate, Sorsogon, Negros Oriental, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Sarangani, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga del Norte , Bukidnon, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Catanduanes and Siquijor.

These provinces have been identified based on high poverty incidence, high risks to climate hazards, situated in critical watersheds, and with existing convergence sites.

Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Iloilo, and Metro Davao are also part of the "priority geographic focus" to address the carrying capacities of these major urban hubs.

By expense class, 38.43 percent or P9.72 billion of the 2022 proposed budget will be allocated for personnel services, P9.91 billion (39.21 percent) for maintenance and other operating expenses, and P5.65 billion (22.36 percent) for capital outlay. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has welcomed the term extension of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) until June 30, 2022, through Executive Order (EO) 147 signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sept. 14.

"We thank the President for his trust and confidence in the task force. We shall maximize this term extension to tie up all the loose ends of the island’s rehabilitation. This is our commitment to the Filipino people,” said DENR Secretary and BIATF Chair Roy A. Cimatu.

The task force, co-chaired by the Department of Tourism and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, was created on May 8, 2018, under Executive Order (EO) No. 53.

The BIATF term was supposed to end in 2020, two years after its creation.

President Duterte issued EO No. 115 on May 11, 2020, extending the term of the BIATF until May 8, 2021.

Last March 2021, the BIATF asked President Duterte to extend its term anew "to allow the task force to complete all its projects that have been stalled by the pandemic."

"The extension is an opportune time to monitor and assess the finished portions of the ongoing rehabilitation to ensure that these not only meet standards but are sustainable as well," Cimatu said.

"A Boracay Island brought back to its pristine state is the best legacy the task force can leave behind," he pointed out.

Cimatu presented several accomplishments of the BIATF during the President's Talk to the People on Aug. 26, 2021.

He reported that 273 out of 339 structures encroaching the 25+5 easement in the foreshore area were demolished as of July 2021.

Using ground-penetrating radar, the DENR's Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) also discovered buried illegal pipes that have been discharging wastewater into the beach.

Moreover, the BIATF has carried out the expansion of septage and sewerage facilities.

Cimatu said that individual sewage treatment plants (STPs) for establishments with 50 rooms and above have been constructed, and the outfall pipe system has also been upgraded.

In particular, the capacity of the STP located in Barangay Yapak was increased to 2,500 cubic meters per day.

Cimatu said a total of 428 establishments and households were also connected to sewer lines and 88 STPs were installed.

Meanwhile, establishments that were non-compliant with the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws were immediately closed.

Through the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, the regular collection and analysis of water samples from beaches, wetlands, and outfalls have been conducted.

Cimatu pointed out that except for the Tulubhan outfall, all the beaches in the island, including the White Beach and Bolabog Beach have been classified as Class SB water, making these waters suitable for swimming, diving, and other water recreational activities.

The Tulubhan area, which is located on the Sibuyan Sea side of the island and is populated by residential houses, is not yet connected to the sewer network.

However, the BIATF is expecting that the completion of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority’s (TIEZA) drainage improvement project in the area by end of 2022 will mitigate the problem.

For the Boracay Circumferential Road, Phases 1 and 2 of the projects were completed along with two circumferential road improvements equivalent to 8.75 kilometers of paved and widened road, Cimatu said.

Through the Handog Titulo Program of the Department of Agrarian Reform, certificates of land ownership award were distributed to the island's Ati tribe in 2018, following the pronouncement of the President during the island’s rehabilitation that the entire island will be declared as a land reform area.

In addition, 33 illegal settler families from Wetland 6 were relocated as agrarian reform beneficiaries.

To regain and rehabilitate lost wetlands in the island, the local government of Boracay and the private sector have partnered for the preservation, development, and management of the ecosystem, Cimatu said.

As such, Wetland No. 2 was adopted by the Energy Development Corp; Wetland No. 3 by San Miguel Corporation; Wetland No. 4 by Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. and Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., Wetland No. 6 by Boracay Tubi Systems, and Wetland No. 8 by JG Summit Petrochemical Corp.

Likewise, during the six-month closure of the island that started in April 2018, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Labor and Employment provided livelihood and financial support through more than 50 technical assistance and training to at least 4,000 participants.

A total of P500-million worth of financial assistance and grants were given to 22,740 affected workers, vulnerable sectors, and beneficiaries while P39-million worth of financing and loan assistance were provided to affected farmers and fisherfolk. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) has joined hands with the Universidad De Manila (UDM) to engage the students of the university in the protection and conservation of the environment through information, education and communication (IEC), social mobilization, and partnership-building.

“This partnership with Universidad De Manila is a vital component of environmental education which the DENR advocates. We fully believe that when the youth is equipped with knowledge on their environment and the issues that surround it, they can better take action and spur behavior change,” said Environment Chief Roy A. Cimatu.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and Supervising Undersecretary for the Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS) and Task Force Tayo ang Kalikasan Benny D. Antiporda vowed the “full support of the DENR in the environmental and natural resources activities of the students and the whole university.”

DENR-NCR Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan and UDM president Dr. Ma. Felma Carlos-Tria led the signing of a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Ambassador Project during a virtual event on Sept. 22.

Caancan said the MOA formalizes the agency's commitment to collectively empower the youth and harness their potential as environmental advocates and influencers.

"The DENR-NCR is very privileged and honored to have the UDM as its new partner for the ENR Ambassador program especially now that the reach of our educational environmental activities has been limited by the pandemic," Caancan said.

"It is a timely intervention addressing the need for continuous engagement of the youth, academe, and other stakeholders in our efforts to protect and preserve our environment and natural resources," she added.

After the MOA signing, the DENR-NCR turned over 50 units of pocket LTE-wi-fi and tablet computers to the UDM.

The agreement specifically aims to identify, capacitate and mobilize qualified students of the university as competent and credible champions of DENR-NCR programs on IEC and advocacy for the protection, conservation, preservation, restoration, rehabilitation and development of the environment within its jurisdiction, including the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, under its ENR Ambassador Project.

The DENR-NCR will train, guide, and develop the skills of the selected ENR Ambassadors. It shall provide the university and its ENR Ambassadors with appropriate resources to expedite communication and coordination between stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the UDM will screen, verify, and vouch for the good standing of its students applying as ENR Ambassadors under the project.

It will also assist the DENR-NCR in monitoring and evaluating the IEC and advocacy performance of ENR Ambassadors and recommend improvements on the project. It shall also be responsible for the management and distribution of resources that may be provided for the project.

According to SCIS Director Hiro V. Masuda, “supporting the youth through education and providing them with the right tools will motivate them to be environmental problem solvers and responders.”

Before the MOA signing, DENR-NCR Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Al O. Orolfo conducted a webinar on the 10 Priority Programs of the DENR, while SCIS Assistant Director Maria Matilda Gaddi discussed the agency’s Tayo ang Kalikasan advocacy.

The webinar was followed by the virtual signing of the ENR Partner’s Commitment where UDM expressed its commitment to the initiatives of the DENR in the protection, conservation, and proper management of the country’s environment and natural resources, and support environmental management as one of the immediate actions to help sustain Mother Earth.

The university will also practice environmental actions such as avoiding the use of unnecessary plastic materials such as PET bottles; and promote the use of alternative environment-friendly materials such as bamboo tumblers, reusable water containers, reusable straws and the like.

The UDM also pledged to use the bicycle as an alternative to public transportation/private vehicle; practice proper waste disposal; reduce, re-use or upcycle materials; conduct urban gardening; and participate in cleanup activities, urban gardening, and other environmental activities.

Last year, the DENR also turned over to the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila units of pocket LTE-wi-fi and tablet computers for its ENR Ambassador Project partnership. ###

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu expressed hope that the environmental laws will be "more adequately and effectively enforced" throughout the country with the recent launch of a special course for DENR frontliners and uniformed personnel.

"Environmental crimes are evolving, thus, also presenting a clear threat to our state security. Our enemies can now cross borders with ease. They are more sophisticated, syndicated, and organized," Cimatu said.

The DENR launched the special course on enforcement frontliners through its Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Academy at the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Amphitheater on Sept. 17.

During the program, a ceremonial signing of the enforcement manuals and curriculum modules was conducted together with the Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS) and the Human Resources Development Service (HRDS).

These enforcement manuals and curriculum modules were officially turned over to Cimatu by Undersecretary for Legal, Administration, Human Resources and Legislative Affairs Ernesto Adobo, Jr., Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito Antonio De Leon, ELEPS OIC Director Ret. BGen. Reuel Sorilla, and HRDS Director Ric Enriquez, Ph.D.

The entire course, which will run from Sept. 17 to Oct. 22, 2021, consists of five modules with two weeks of webinar, two weeks of practicum, and 12-hour community service on the field.

The participants consist of 44 personnel from the DENR Central Office and field offices, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police-Maritime Group, Armed Forces of the Philippines at Philippine Air Force.

Cimatu said the training course will provide the environmental frontliners the proper concepts, skills, and techniques in enforcement.

"With this course, our environmental defenders will be more competent, especially in utilizing appropriate modern technologies to their advantage," he added.

Cimatu also said that the DENR's interim office, the ELEPS together with the HRDS "will make us realize our vision to create a more systematic and professionalized environmental law enforcement within the DENR."

According to the DENR chief, "strengthening the existing mechanisms in environmental law enforcement, regulations, and policies is needed to address dangers posed not only to the environment but also to those who protect it."

"We are at war against environmental criminals to protect our environment and our people. However, the saddest part of our battle is losing people in the line of duty. These are our environmental heroes who were mercilessly murdered while on duty or on their job, some were gunned down, some hacked to death," Cimatu said.

Last June, five DENR workers were inducted into the roster of environmental heroes by the Environmental Heroes Foundation Inc. (EHFI) for the World Environment Day celebration. They were killed while performing their duties as environmental defenders.

Families of the honorees received the posthumous awards consisting of plaques of recognition and livelihood assistance amounting to P1.8 million through the EHFI.

"No amount of money, awards, or recognition, or even promotion can ever replace the lives of the people who died defending our environment and natural resources. A single life lost is one too many to move anyone to pursue steps and stop this trend," Cimatu said. ###