Press Releases

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), is ready for the updating of essential mining information on the government’s idle mining assets.

“This is in preparation for the bidding and sale of mining assets to gain revenues and help the country recover from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano said the bureau will be updating the mineral resources and mineral reserves data of identified state-owned mining assets to determine the viability of future mining operations.

"Some of these mining assets stopped operating in the 1980s, which means these hold mining information that is around 40 years old,” Moncano pointed out. “Data are necessary to be collated and evaluated to see if the reports of former geologists and mining engineers are compliant with the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code that is in place sometime in 2010 only.”

He cited idle mining assets such as the Basay Mining Corp. in Negros Oriental, which stopped operations in 1983, and the Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corp. (MMIC Bagacay Mine) in Samar, which was foreclosed by the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine National Bank in 1984.

Data to be evaluated include the volume of mineral resources and reserves, technical basis of estimates, and methodology of estimation, among others, Moncano explained.

A mineral resource refers to the concentration of materials of economic interest found in the Earth’s crust, while a mineral reserve is the economically mineable portion of a mineral resource.

According to Moncano, the updating of the baseline information will also improve the "packaging" of the mining assets to help boost sales.

"The MGB will allot some funds from its budget for the updating of data. The updating of the mining information will most likely advance first on those assets without pending legal cases like the Basay Mining Corp. and MMIC Bagacay Mine," he said.

However, Moncano said that some assets under the Privatization and Management Office (PMO) of the Department of Finance (DOF) have already sufficient and updated data, which can be up for bidding soon.

"Once investors will bid on these mining assets, operations will resume. However, documentary requirements to allow for the development and commercial operations to resume will have to be submitted by the winning bidder to MGB," he said.

The PMO of the DOF and the Philippine Mining Development Corporation are the ones responsible for the sale and disposal of such state mining assets through public bidding.

The DOF has been working with the MGB in the preparations for the sale since its announcement last year to privatize state-owned mining assets.

PMO-identified mining assets for disposal also include Pacific Nickel Philippines Inc. in Surigao del Norte, North Davao Mining Property in Davao del Norte, Maricalum Mining Corp. in Negros Occidental, and Marcopper Mining Corp. in Marinduque. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has challenged the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, teachers, as well as the DENR utility personnel, to promote care for the environment in their own ways, during the learning session for the Month of the Ocean (MOO) celebration.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu explained that presenting a challenge to these stakeholders will "awaken their passion and awareness about the current situation of our oceans and the biodiversity that thrives in it."

"It is important that we educate all the sectors, including the teachers, who will mold the minds of the next generations, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, who is tasked as one of the stewards of our environment, and even the maintenance personnel of the DENR, as they are the custodians of our institution," Cimatu said.

The learning event for the MOO, hosted by the DENR's Strategic Alliance and Environmental Partnership Division of the Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS), is in line with this year's MOO theme, “The Science We Need for The Ocean We Want."

A total of 569 participants attended the four-day learning event: 155 rover and 113 senior members of the Boy Scout of the Philippines on May 26-27; 196 elementary and high school teachers on May 28; and 105 men and women from D’Triumph, the janitorial manpower agency of the DENR, on May 29.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, who is concurrently the Supervising Undersecretary for SCIS and Task Force Tayo ang Kalikasan, pointed out the need to act now. “Humankind is racing against time in saving the oceans because we might lose it one day," he said.

"We at the DENR are challenging you to contribute in your own way and work to protect the ocean and the environment," Antiporda told the participants.

He said the stakeholders' contribution is significant to achieve the department's goal "to care for and enrich our oceans, and the creatures and plants that live beneath them."

During the learning event, the participants were taught about the importance of the oceans, heard success stories through the DENR regional offices, and discovered how they can save the natural aquatic resources.

The Month of the Ocean is celebrated annually in the Philippines in May by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 57 issued in 1998. ###

 

In celebration of the World Environment Day on June 5, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are calling for bold actions to help restore the world's ecosystems.

In a joint statement, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and UNDP Resident Representative to the Philippines Selva Ramachandran said healthy ecosystems are vital to the welfare and survival of humanity, as they provide essential products and benefits.

"Nature purifies the air we breathe, regulates our climate, cleans our water, and provides us with food and medicine," Cimatu and Ramachandran said.

However, the two officials lamented decades of unrelenting economic growth at the expense of natural resources that have taken a toll on oceans, forests, wetlands and rivers, threatening the survival of mankind.

"Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, landmark reports from 2018-2019 have presented us with a bleak outlook for 2020 and beyond," Cimatu and Ramachandran said.

Among the major environmental threats currently faced by the world's ecosystems are global warming, plastic waste pollution and biodiversity loss.

Global warming is expected to persist between 2030 and 2052 with temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius driving further changes to the climate.

"If that isn’t worrying enough, around one million species are on the brink of extinction unless action is taken to reduce the drivers of biodiversity loss," they said.

Moreover, the rising temperatures have led to frequent disasters that disproportionately affect vulnerable households, and the ability of natural ecosystems to protect at-risk communities is rapidly diminishing.

The Philippines has also lost 10.9 million of forest cover or an average loss of 194,000 hectares each year.

Fish stocks are drastically overfished in almost all areas except Eastern Luzon, Palawan and the Southern Sulu Sea.

Reef conditions, an indicator of fish productivity, have similarly declined.

In 1997, just four percent were in excellent condition, down to less than one percent in 2012.

Cimatu and Ramachandran also highlighted the pressing environmental threat from plastic waste pollution.

Scientists expect that by 2050, the country’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish.

"Microplastics have entered our food chain, with many fish and marine mammals ingesting microplastics on an unprecedented scale," they said.

The country’s rivers, coastal and marine areas have suffered from marine litter, especially uncollected plastic waste.

The Philippines ranks as the third-largest contributor of marine plastics globally, which compromises fish productivity, tourism, and human health.

In addition, mangrove cover is down from around 500,000 hectares to almost half this amount.

Land degradation in the form of soil erosion and fertility decline has affected agricultural activities in the Philippines affecting 33 million Filipinos.

However, both officials remain hopeful despite the current situation.

As the Philippines joins the celebration of this year’s World Environment Day, Cimatu and Ramachandran encouraged the public to support the global campaign for the healing of nature through the restoration of our ecosystems.

"All is not lost, however, and change is taking place," they said, as various sectors have joined hands to help repair the country’s ecosystems.

Cimatu cited the National Greening Program or NGP--the DENR's banner program aiming to plant 1.5 billion trees on 1.5 million hectares--that has been receiving massive support from the private sector and non-government organizations.

He also pointed out other achievements in pushing for ecological restoration, which include the significant increase of protected areas in the country; strengthened wildlife protection through coordinated efforts among law enforcement agencies; and reduced footprints of plastic users, and minimized plastic use.

"Treating well-managed ecosystems as assets would go a long way in advancing the protection and improved management and the proper valuation of natural resources and their integration into national accounting systems will provide a full picture of their value to the economy," the DENR and UNDP officials said.

Moreover, they said that technology application, science-based approaches to restoration and environmental management, investment in research, and appropriate monitoring will rehabilitate the country’s ecosystems.

"We must do our part as responsible stewards of our planet before it’s too late. It is, after all, the only planet we’ve got," Cimatu and Ramachandran said. ###

 

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) has approved the solid waste management plans (SWMPs) of 22 more local government units (LGUs) last month, bringing the total number of approved plans to 1,082 or 63 percent of its target nationwide.

Of the 22 approved plans, four are in Misamis Oriental; three in Camarines Sur; two each in Misamis Occidental, Ilocos Norte, Benguet, and Lanao del Norte; and one each in Cagayan, Albay, Sorsogon, Leyte, Northern Samar, and Zamboanga del Sur.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary and NSWMC Chair Roy A. Cimatu lauded the "continued upward trend" in the performance of the LGUs to have their plans approved by the Commission.

"Enabling our local executives to strengthen their capacities for effective solid waste management is a priority of the DENR and the NSWMC, especially LGUs facing difficulties with their solid waste management programs," Cimatu said.

"To the provinces whose towns and municipalities are now all with their approved SWMPs, we commend the leadership of your local executives," he added.

Data from the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau showed that 558 SWMPs are currently under evaluation, 332 of which are almost finished pending the submission of additional data mostly involving budgetary requirements and specifics on proper final disposal facilities.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and NSWMC Alternate Chair Benny D. Antiporda stressed that the plans are crucial to the efforts of the DENR and the NSWMC in capacitating LGUs to implement their solid waste management programs, particularly those with limited resources.

"As a solution for LGUs that cannot put up their own disposal facilities, the DENR and the NSWMC are looking at the clustering of these LGUs sharing a single sanitary landfill, and the approved plans will serve as a blueprint on how these sanitary landfills will be optimized by these clustered LGUs," Antiporda said.

Antiporda bared the DENR's plan to bring in the private sector through the public-private partnership (PPP) for the establishment of additional 300 sanitary landfills nationwide within the next two years.

"There are only 237 sanitary landfills in operation across the country servicing some 449 LGUs which all have SLF requirements for their cities and municipalities. This number is still regrettably small," he pointed out.

Antiporda reiterated that sanitary landfills remain the primary long-term method of solid waste disposal allowed under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

"Moving forward with the additional 300 sanitary landfills within the next two years through the PPP scheme is the best option possible to effectively address the country’s management of solid waste," he said. ###

 

As the country continues to grapple with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is focusing this year's Environment Month celebration on raising environmental consciousness among Filipinos to protect lives and secure the future generation.

"We may not be able to turn back time, but we can restore nature by moving forward," DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in highlighting the celebration's local theme, "Sama-samang pagkilos, sama-samang paghilom (Ikaw, Ako, Tayo ang Kalikasan)."

Cimatu underscored the importance of different sectors working together to do sustainable actions for the environment as he noted how conservation of nature plays a key role in combatting climate change, biodiversity loss, and even health risks.

"As the Department sets the pace towards environmental restoration, we hope all of us from the communities and the different sectors of society support this direction through our own sustainable actions for our planet," he added.

Just this month, the DENR set the example of progress after finally completing the closure of all 335 open dumpsites in the country in adherence to Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

"Beyond this celebration, let us be sustainable and progressive in taking care of the environment. Let us take steps in greening our spaces and cities, cleaning our oceans, reducing our plastic consumption, and all other ways we can help," Cimatu said.

The Environment Month is celebrated every June by virtue of Proclamation No. 237 signed by then President Corazon Aquino on April 4, 1988. It coincides with World Environment Day on June 5.

World Oceans Day on June 8 and Coral Triangle Day on June 9 are also celebrated globally.

In support of these environment-focused celebrations, the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) has lined up several activities to celebrate and at the same time raise awareness among Filipinos to be responsible for the environment.

Throughout June, the DENR-EMB will be publishing infographics about marine plastic pollution through its social media pages to foster responsible solid waste behavior.

From June 5-10, Facebook followers of DENR-EMB can join "Greenvirogames," which is a series of games that include Graphics Interchange Format or GIF and scavenger hunt activities.

Cash prizes and other freebies await the winners.

The Community Livelihood Training on Upcycling, which is expected to be attended by communities within Manila Bay, will be held on June 8, 15, and 22.

As one of the highlights of Environment Month, the DENR-EMB is also set to recognize the Regional Champions on Environmental Management through its Game Changer Awards on June 30.

The event aims to acknowledge individuals, civil society groups, women’s groups, youth groups, or local government units that led innovative environmental management projects, such as waste reduction, climate change mitigation, air quality management for their communities, as well as water quality conservation and protection, and information, education and communication initiatives for the environment.

It will also serve as an avenue to gather good practices on environmental management and inspire innovation. ###