Press Releases

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has expressed its commitment to promote the interests of the bicycle-riding community, as a bicycle advocacy group lauded the agency's pivotal role in the annual celebration of the National Bicycle Day.

“Such is the robust partnership we have nurtured through the years with the bicycle-riding communities particularly the National Bicycle Organization (NBO) who has come out strongly for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s issuance of Presidential Proclamation (PP) 1052,“ said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

During this year's celebration of the National Bicycle Day held on November 28, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Anitporda received from the NBO a bicycle sculpture made of bronze in recognition of his "remarkable contribution as a bicycle advocate."

NBO Director Benedict Camara noted that it was Antiporda’s efforts through the office of Senator Christopher "Bong" Go that the bicycle groups desired for a nationwide observance of Bicycle Day through the issuance of PP 1052.

On November 18, 2020, President Duterte issued PP 1052 declaring the fourth Sunday of November of every year as National Bicycle Day, to encourage Filipinos to promote bicycle as a sustainable and environment-friendly mode of transportation.

In receiving the award, Antiporda expressed his desire that the new set of leaders in 2022 would continue and build on the gains of the DENR under the Duterte administration through DENR Secretary Cimatu, particularly those that promote the interest of the bicycle-riding public.

"We need you to ask the candidates to stand up for cycling, walking, and a healthier future. Take advantage of this electoral exercise and choose the champions for greener travel and respect for bicycle riders especially in the use of bicycle lanes," Antiporda said.

This year's National Bicycle Day was celebrated by more than 300 bikers, representing 61 bikers' groups, through a 26-kilometer bike parade from the DENR grounds in Quezon City to the Centennial Park in Navotas City where the celebration rites were held.

"This activity also serves to inspire and empower other advocates from the private sector to create activities for the benefit, enjoyment, and support of cycling advocacy and the cycling community nationwide," Camara said.

He hailed PP 1052 as a "big stepping stone to having laws that will promote bicycling as a major form of transportation and to spur the potential of the bicycling sector as a contributor to the country’s economic recovery."

The NBO has been advocating for bicycle and pedestrian-friendly legislation and implementation through a partnership with public and private organizations at the local, regional and national levels.

Camara also credited PP 1052 and the designation of bike lanes and bike patrol as among the reasons that fueled NBO’s plan to push for the promotion of bike ecotourism in the country.

"With the help of the DENR, we can develop bike ecotourism in the country," Camara also said, noting that a dry-run has already been undertaken covering the Antipolo eco-bike tour route with the Metro Manila tour now on the drawing board.

He also thanked the DENR for their donation of bike racks to the local government of Navotas whose board council has passed a resolution calling for the designation of bike lanes within the city.

According to Ching Salinas, head of the Bike Lanes Program Office of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, around 313 kilometers of roads are now designated as bike lanes in major thoroughfares in Metro Manila. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) turns the spotlight on children and youth with the launch of the "Children Writing for Children" story writing workshop to highlight their role and capacity for advocacy, communication, and commitment to protect and conserve biodiversity.

In celebration of the first International Year of Caves and Karst, the DENR—through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) —launched the story writing workshop to provide a platform for children to raise their views and voices in environmental processes and decision-making through storytelling.

"The endeavor is one of the DENR’s programs to educate children about the environment, the issues that surround them, and their care and protection. All these will help bring about behavior change," DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.

"Someday, these children will inherit our world. They will inherit our natural resources and our environment. It is important that we impart the value of conservation at a young age to make them responsible stewards of creation," he also said.

A total of 12 students, aged 8 to 11, were chosen to take part in the creative writing workshop held via Zoom platform on November 15-19, 2021.

Under the guidance of Mark Norman Boquiren, a children’s book author and staff of the DENR-BMB, the participants crafted their original stories about caves and karst ecosystems.

On the last day of the workshop, they narrated and showcased their stories live on Zoom and Facebook.

Three students were recognized with the "Best Story," "Best Storyteller," and "Most Participative" awards. All participants were awarded certificates.

Kulaknit’s Monstrous Friend by Bettina Frances B. Fernandez of Catarman, Northern Samar won the Best Story; Ma. Anjenica Anne S. Navarro of Bulacan bagged the Best Storyteller Award and John Vincent C. Cinco of Albay was named Most Participative.

The activity aimed to provide a meaningful opportunity for children and youth to understand, participate, and act for caves and karst ecosystems.

A cave is a large, naturally occurring cavity formed underground or in cliffs or hillsides, while karst is a type of land formation, usually with many caves formed through the dissolving of limestone by underground drainage and created by the dissolution of bedrock.

DENR-BMB Director Datu Tungko Saikol said that the workshop "emphasized the role of children as writers and storytellers in disseminating awareness about the importance of caves, karst, and other related ecosystems."

"Children storytellers can help amplify our voices and efforts in saving these precious ecosystems from peril. Their stories can make a difference for other children to be familiar with them," Saikol said.

According to Saikol, the event is "timely for the celebration of the International Year of Caves and Karst, which aims to raise the level of understanding and respect for these ecosystems as globally important physical, ecological, and cultural systems."

With the theme, "Explore, Understand, and Protect," the International Year of Caves and Karst was organized by the International Union of Speleology, a global organization of caves and karst explorers, scientists, managers, and educators. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has underscored the importance of enforcing policies on the proper use and disposal of antimicrobials to maintain the country's ecological sustainability.

To stop the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations and Environment Juan Miguel T. Cuna has echoed the campaign of the Department of Health against antimicrobial resistance during the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week High-Level Media Forum on November 18.

"Important policy measures that target specific high-risk environments with elevated concentrations of antibiotics, such as wastewater treatment plants in hospitals, health care facilities, and pharmaceutical industries are of utmost importance," Cuna said.

"The proper use and disposal policies of these antibiotics are vital in maintaining ecological sustainability," he added.

Meanwhile, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu stressed the parallel importance of behavior change in addressing antimicrobial resistance and in caring for the environment.

"Just like addressing environmental issues, the Filipino people need behavior change to combat antibiotic misuse and abuse and prevent antimicrobial resistance in the country," said Cimatu.

During the media forum, Cuna noted that the rise in antibiotic consumption can bring permanent damage to the environment. It can also endanger the health of humans and animals.

"Increased antibiotic consumption can cause irreversible environmental contamination and threaten human and animal health," Cuna pointed out.

Furthermore, Cuna explained the need to strengthen the awareness campaign on the relation of antibiotic presence on the ecosystem.

"To improve knowledge and awareness on the impacts of antibiotic residues on the environment, there is a need to explain the causal relationship between their presence and effects on the ecosystem to avoid irreversible consequences," he said.

Cuna also reiterated the importance of multisectoral collaboration in addressing the pressing issue of antimicrobial resistance.

"The emergent issue of antibiotic residues and antimicrobial resistance is a complex phenomenon that requires collaborative approaches and efforts from government, relevant organizations, and stakeholders," he said.

According to the World Health Organization, the environment plays a major role in antibiotic resistance where bacteria in soil, rivers, and seawater can develop resistance through contact with resistant bacteria, antibiotics, and disinfectant agents released by human activity.###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is eyeing a P181.6-million allocation for the establishment of preliminary treatment and storage facility for coronavirus-related healthcare waste from its P774-million solid waste management program budget for 2022.

Through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the DENR is planning to provide funds for 227 local government units (LGUs) nationwide representing 81 provinces and 146 cities for the proper collection, treatment, storage and disposal of protective personal equipment, syringes, vials and other COVID-related healthcare wastes from households, vaccination sites, and testing and quarantine facilities.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the plan will help address the increase in COVID-19-related healthcare wastes in the country during the pandemic.

"While COVID-19 cases in the country have started to decline, healthcare wastes generated by the situation have continuously become a challenge among cities and provinces. Through this program, we hope to support LGUs in improving the collection of COVID-19 related healthcare wastes especially in remote areas and among small generators that are not serviced by treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities," said Cimatu.

"The proposed treatment and storage facility will serve as a temporary and transit point for COVID-19 related healthcare wastes such as personal protective equipment, syringes, needles, and vials for chemical disinfection and storage before these are transported to a TSD facility," added Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGUs Concerns Benny D. Antiporda.

The proposed waste management program was announced by Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change chair Senator Cynthia Villar, who sponsored the DENR budget during the upper chamber’s plenary session on November 15.

"I hope in behalf of the Senate that this program towards giving to 81 provinces and 146 cities of treatment and storage facility of COVID-19 (related healthcare wastes) will be the first priority of the DENR. We have allocated a big part of the budget for solid waste management program of the DENR and they will use this budget for this," Villar said during the plenary session.

The proposal was developed by the DENR based on the recommendation of Villar and Senator Francis Tolentino during the Senate budget hearing last month to extend more assistance to LGUs for the management of COVID-related healthcare wastes.

The proposed P181.6 million budget will be coursed through the DENR regional offices. Each LGU that will receive P800,000 for the establishment of special waste facilities.

The DENR, however, pointed out that the COVID-19 healthcare waste program for LGUs does not cover medical wastes coming from hospitals.

Aside from the preliminary treatment and storage facility, the solid waste management program budget for 2022 will include support for the establishment of trash traps, collection and disposal services for garbage patches, provision of solid waste management equipment such shredders, composters, and plastic recycling equipment for LGUs nationwide, and hauling services for solid waste collected in Boracay.

In April 2020, the DENR-led National Solid Waste Management Commission issued Resolution 1364 entitled “Adopting the Interim Guidelines on the Management of COVID-19 Related Health Care Waste” directing LGUs to develop a COVID-19 waste management plan that will adopt the guidelines on segregation and storage at source, collection and transport, and treatment and disposal.

The COVID-19 waste management plan is one of the requirements for the 10-year mandated solid waste management plan of local governments. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—together with the National Bicycle Organization (NBO)—will lead this year's celebration of the National Bicycle Day (NBD) on November 28 with the theme "Cleaner air through bicycle-friendly Philippines."

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said that while the celebration is already in its seventh year, this year's event is the first after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared in 2020 the fourth Sunday of November of every year as National Bicycle Day.

In issuing Presidential Proclamation 1052 on November 18, 2020, President Duterte encourages Filipinos to promote bicycle as a "sustainable and environment-friendly" mode of transportation.

"With climate change, everything we do counts in large amounts and that the remarkable increase in Filipinos discovering the bicycle as a mode of transport and cycling as a way of life is a big boost to our climate change resiliency and adaptation under the mantle of Proclamation 1052," Cimatu said, who is also the chairperson of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction.

As part of the 2021 NBD celebration, a 26-kilometer bike parade called "A Celebration for the Presidential Proclamation 1052 Declaration" will be held starting from the DENR grounds in Quezon City to Centennial Park, Barangay Bagumbayan North, Navotas City where a short program will be held.

DENR Undersecretary Benny D. Antiporda is expected to give a keynote address during the program.

Other activities that will highlight this year’s celebration include coastal cleanup, lectures on bike road safety, and turnover of three free bike racks to the city government of Navotas.

Unlike in the past years, Antiporda said only around 300 bikers from the DENR and NBO will take part in this year’s NBD celebration that will be held in Metro Manila.

"This is a far cry from the number of participants in the yearly DENR-NBO organized event before the pandemic which averaged around 10,000 in Metro Manila alone," Antiporda said, noting that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority allowed only up to 300 bike participants for the event in compliance with the health and safety protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF.

He noted that around 30,000 bikers took part in the nationwide NBD celebration in 2014. ###