Press Releases

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has called on local government officials within the Manila Bay region to ensure the proper implementation of the Philippine Water Code and local policies and ordinances to prevent polluting the country’s water resources while helping secure the livelihood of fisherfolk communities.

Cimatu issued the statement after he came upon fish cages and makeshift houses built on the municipal waters of Cavite, which is part of the Manila Bay, during a visit to the province on July 16.

"The municipal waters are being managed by the mayor. If there are fish cages, these should have permits. Without a permit from the mayor, these are unauthorized," Cimatu said.

"If these fish cages are regulated, it will avoid bamboo poles from being swept to the baywalk in Manila especially during the habagat or southwest monsoon, and during the typhoon season," he added.

Bamboo poles are among the trash that is swept and washed up to the shoreline of Manila Bay.

Cimatu said the high coliform level in the municipal waters can also be traced to the makeshift houses built next to the fish cages.

"The caretakers of the fish pens live there, thus it is possible that because of inadequate or non-availability of sanitation facilities, coliform level has exceeded the standard value," Cimatu said.

"While we would like to encourage their livelihood, it should not be at the expense of destroying the environment," he added.

Cimatu also emphasized that the local chief executives should abide by Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, or face suspension.

"At least now, many LGUs are complying. Still, the government can file cases if needed," he said.

The DENR chief remains hopeful that the Manila Bay rehabilitation will be finished in six or seven years but the cleanup in the portion of Metro Manila can be accomplished by the end of 2021 or in the remaining six months of 2022.

"We also have to deal with the informal settlers. They have to be resettled otherwise we cannot completely clean Manila Bay," he added.

The Manila Bay region consists of four coastal provinces, namely Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, and Pampanga.

"What we cannot finish will be there in the plan. That is what the next administration, regardless of affiliation, must continue because it is in the continuing mandamus ordered by the Supreme Court," Cimatu said.###

 

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Saturday, July 17, spearheaded the planting of some 1,000 mangrove trees in Macabebe, Pampanga to mark this year's observance of the National Disaster Resilience Month.

Through the Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS), the DENR led a total of 130 participants from Lions Clubs International District 301-D2, National Bicycle Organization, Easy Swim Philippine Life Savings, Inc., Manila Standard, and Barangay Consuelo, in the planting of two variants of Philippine Rhizophora—a genus of tropical mangrove trees.

The Philippine Rhizophora species used in the planting activity consisted of bakauan-lalaki (Rhizophora apiculata Blume) and bakauan-babae (Rhizophora mucronata Lamarck).

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, also the Supervising Undersecretary for SCIS, encouraged the participants "to avoid the word compliance" as he reminded them "to serve without expecting anything in return."

"The word ‘compliance’ is only for people who are expecting something in return after what they have done," Antiporda said.

He emphasized that Filipinos "need not wait for the government to solve the problem, but to act on the problem and save the next generation."

"If we don’t act on it, five years later might be too late for the next generation," he said.

According to Antiporda, planting mangrove trees in Macabebe town is "relevant to the observance of the National Disaster Resilience Month because mangrove trees help towns and provinces to be resilient from natural disasters."

Pampanga Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Laudemir Salac said the mangrove planting site that was chosen is "the epicenter of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program in Region 3."

"With the daily cleanup activities that we conducted in this area, we were able to bring down the coliform level from 14,000 to 14 most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters," Salac said.

The standard coliform level for coastal waters to be classified as Class SB is 100 MPN/100 ml, which means it is suitable for swimming, skin diving, and other recreational activities.

The National Disaster Resilience Month is being observed every July of each year by virtue of Executive Order 29 signed in 2017 to emphasize the importance of disaster risk reduction management and the need to understand disaster risk, enhancing community disaster preparedness, strengthening risk governance, and investing in disaster risk reduction.

With the theme, "Tamang Pamamahala't Kahandaan, Kaalaman at Pagtutulungan sa Sakuna at Pandemya'y Kalasag ng Bayan," this year’s celebration aims to emphasize the important role of disaster risk governance and the collaboration of all Filipinos to overcome the challenges of this pandemic and to build a green and resilient normal. ###

 

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 be reporting on the government’s accomplishments in building resilient and sustainable communities at the time of the coronavirus crisis during the pre-SONA forum slated for July 22.

With the theme, "Pamanang Katatagan," the forum is one of the five Pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) forums leading up to the anticipated sixth and final SONA of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on July 26.

CCAM-DRR Cluster chairperson and DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu will present the updates on the government’s programs on climate risk management, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable development programs for the past five years, while co-chair Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will present the cluster’s priority thrusts for 2021 and 2022.

The report will likewise cite the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s pursuit of the Risk Resiliency Program, which prioritizes climate-vulnerable provinces such as Sarangani, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Bukidnon, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

For its part, the Department of Agriculture (DA) will report on the progress of its "OneDA" reform agenda, which aims to modernize the Philippine agricultural and fishery sectors.

Hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the "Pamanang Katatagan" forum will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

It will also be streamed live in compliance with the health and safety protocols by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"Concrete, measurable and sustainable accomplishments that have been nurtured, build on for the last five years and will steer us even into the post-COVID-19 era will be certainly the hallmarks of this forum," Cimatu said.

The DENR chief added that under the Duterte administration, "the character of governance in addressing environment and sustainable development has changed dramatically."

"Pamanang Katatagan" is the final installment of the five Pre-SONA forums staged under the umbrella theme "Pamanang Pagbabago: The 2021 Pre-SONA Forums."

The Economic Development and Infrastructure Clusters, chaired by the Department of Finance, held its Pre-SONA forum last April 26 titled "Sulong Pilipinas 2021: Partners for Progress."

The Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster held its "Pamanang Malasakit" forum at the PICC on July 14; Participatory Governance Cluster (Pamanang Pagkakaisa) on July 16 at the Bai Hotel in Mandaue City, Cebu; and the Security, Justice and Peace Cluster (Pamanang Kaligtasan at Kapayapaan) on July 21 at the Armed Force of the Philippines Commissioned Officers’ Club in Quezon City. ###

 

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the massive clean-up of rivers and management of solid waste will remain at the top of his agenda for the remainder of his term.

"We will continue our programs such as the Battle for Manila Bay and Boracay rehabilitation. Now it’s also the battle against garbage and dirty rivers in your respective CENROs (Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices) and PENROs (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices)," Cimatu told the DENR provincial and regional officers during the mid-year assessment of its priority programs last July 5.

To ensure the success of the activities under these priority programs, Cimatu instructed DENR's regional officials and field officers to take the lead in the cleanup of rivers and management of solid wastes.

"I want an inventory of all rivers with corresponding fecal coliform count within your jurisdiction by next month. Henceforth, all regional offices should rehabilitate and clean degraded rivers and other water bodies starting with those in highly urbanized cities," Cimatu said.

At the same time, the DENR chief directed the participation of PENROs and CENROs in the management meetings held at the DENR Central Office "to further boost their morale and sharpen the professionalism of frontline workers."

"The PENROs and CENROs are to be included in the management conferences because they are the DENR's frontline managers and should therefore be present in our command conferences," Cimatu said.

The DENR has a total of 76 Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers and 140 Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers nationwide.

The management conference is the highest level meeting called by the DENR Secretary, which is usually attended by its officials in the central office, bureau and service directors, and regional executive directors.

"I still have a little than a year to go. In the next several months, I would like to see the mark of professionalism from the central office down to the PENROs and CENROs," Cimatu said. ###

 

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) has approved the 10-year solid waste management (SWM) plans of 21 local government units (LGUs) on July 8.

Of the 21 approved plans, four are in Ilocos Norte, four in Misamis Occidental, two in Zambales, two in Bohol, two in Lanao del Norte, and one each in Nueva Ecija, Quezon province, Negros Oriental, Misamis Oriental, Surigao del Sur, Benguet, and Mountain Province.

To date, the NSWMC reported a total of 1,103 approved SWM plans, which is already 64 percent of its target nationwide.

"These SWM plans shall be the foundation for the effective solid waste management of cities and municipalities through the leadership of their local executives," said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary and NSWMC Chair Roy A. Cimatu.

"These newly-approved plans are commitments of the NSWMC to capacitate LGUs.  The commission shall continue to support them by approving fully compliant and sound SWM plans and overseeing the implementation of these plans," he added.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGUs Concerns and NSWMC Alternate Chair Benny D. Antiporda said the commission is optimistic that it will be able to reach its total target of 1,716 SWM plans soon.

"Upcoming deliberations and reviews of other SWM plans of LGUs that are not yet approved will continue in the coming months," Antiporda assured.  “We will not waver until all LGUs in the country effectively practice the proper reuse, collection, processing, and disposal of wastes in their respective jurisdictions.”

The DENR is investigating LGUs who have not yet submitted their 10-year SWM plan and legal actions will be taken against them by the end of third quarter 2021.

Under Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, LGUs, through their local solid waste management boards, are tasked to formulate their respective 10-year SWM plans consistent with the National Solid Waste Management Framework of the NSWMC.

The SWM plans include strategies on waste diversion, waste collection efficiency or coverage, collection and disposal of residual waste, operation and maintenance of SWM equipment and facility.

To complement the SWM strategies, specific actions incorporated in the recently approved plans include the creation of ordinances and policies, the establishment of materials recovery facility, sanitary landfill (SLF), COVID-19 waste management plan, designation of a municipal environment and natural resources offices, and the implementation of information, education, and communication campaign.

The NSWMC is also currently working on the implementation of the total solid waste management solution for SLFs, which will integrate the appropriate technology and strategy in the sorting, recovery, processing, and disposal of different kinds of solid wastes to ensure its optimum use, and eventually reduce the quantity of wastes and extend the lifespan of the landfill. ###