Press Releases

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna underscored the importance of continued partnerships with stakeholders to combat illegal wildlife trade vigorously and effectively.
"We need to establish a partnership with various stakeholders and continue to raise awareness among local communities to empower them towards more effective responses to environmental issues on the ground," Sampulna said in his keynote message during the virtual celebration of World Wildlife Day 2022 on March 3.
"We are assured knowing that we have allies working from the international to the local level in helping us protect key species in the ecosystem," he said.
With the theme "Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration," this year’s World Wildlife Day celebration aimed to draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora and to drive discussions towards imagining and implementing solutions to conserve them.
The acting DENR chief also pushed for the approval of the revised Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 which has remained pending in the Senate.
The bill seeks to expand the protection and coverage of RA 9147, strengthen and improve enforcement, and inter-agency cooperation to combat illegal wildlife trade including responses to transnational wildlife crimes.
DENR's Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) led the country's celebration of World Wildlife Day through webinars that highlighted wildlife conservation programs for key species such as Rufous hornbill, flying fox, Philippine cockatoo, Philippine pond turtle, Dugong, and threatened native flora.
Conservation partners such as the Katala Foundation Inc., Community-Centered Conservation, Energy Development Corporation, Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc., and the Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Society Inc. shared their expertise and conducted the webinars in partnership with the DENR-BMB.
To date, there are more than 40,000 species of flora and fauna worldwide that are threatened with extinction.
In the Philippines alone, the DENR had listed a total of 1,106 threatened fauna species and 984 threatened flora.
DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement Benito Antonio de Leon, who serves as BMB’s Supervising Undersecretary, said that the Department will continue to uphold its mandate to conserve and protect the country’s natural resources.
"Despite these efforts, we need stronger enforcement to address and meet the growing intricacies of illegal wildlife trade. We are one with our fellow partners in underscoring the importance of a strengthened enforcement system for wildlife protection," de Leon said.
World Wildlife Day is observed on March 3 annually, following the proclamation of the United Nations General Assembly.
It is also celebrated as the International Day on the Adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES. ###
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be implementing an Intensified Compliance Monitoring (IMC) measure to reinforce its water quality management, particularly on the tracking of sources of untreated wastewater and sewage discharging into Manila Bay.
DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna made the statement following the discovery of more illegal discharges of wastewater that contributed to the contamination of the waters of Manila Bay.
"I was informed that there are illegal drainage pipes leading to the Manila Bay and we want to find out where these are coming from so we can order the stoppage of the illegal discharges," Sampulna said during an early morning inspection of the Manila Baywalk on March 11.
"We will have a saturation drive. We will inspect all establishments so we can trace where the foul smell of Manila Bay is coming from. There are many secrets here in the Manila Bay waters," he said.
The IMC will be conducted to ensure that establishments are compliant with environmental laws such as Republic Act (RA) 9275 or Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, RA 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, and Presidential Decree 1586.
The erring establishments will be penalized once the sources of illegal pipes have been traced and verified.
DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations, Environment, and Supervising Undersecretary for Metropolitan Environmental Offices (MEOs) Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna will oversee the IMC operations. He will be joined by the DENR-MEOs, DENR-National Capital Region (NCR), Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Central Office, EMB-NCR, and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA).
“We will determine if these establishments have sufficient facilities to treat their wastewater and also guide them on how to comply with our environmental laws,” said Cuna.
Sampulna said the monitoring will focus on the improvement of the water quality as the DENR targets to make the Manila Bay swimmable by the end of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s administration.
"This is President Duterte’s legacy. He has instructed us to rehabilitate Manila Bay as we did in Boracay," Sampulna said.
Based on the data of the Manila Bay Coordinating Office, the fecal coliform level near the Manila Baywalk was down to 22,500 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/mL) as of February 28, 2022, from 5.75 million MPN/100 mL in 2019.
Meanwhile, the fecal coliform level near the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach has dropped to 1,700 MPN/100 mL as of March 2022, from an average of 62,700 MPN/100 mL in 2019.
From January to December 2021, the DENR regional offices and LLDA have inspected 6,206 establishments that have been discharging wastewater into Manila Bay.
The DENR has so far issued 1,400 notices of violation, five cease and desist orders, and five ex-parte orders.
The Manila Bay Task Force (MBTF) is also currently implementing the construction of a high-density polyethylene pipe in the Remedios and US Embassy outfalls to divert wastewater discharges to the sewerage treatment plant for water treatment before release into the bay.
Ongoing activities of the rehabilitation also include Phase 2 of the beach nourishment project involving the 100-meter laying of dolomite sand along the Manila Yacht Club, construction of the Mandamus Office, public restrooms, souvenir shop, and regular cleanup drives by “estero rangers."
The DENR, in partnership with the Department of National Defense, will also be installing a Fort Drum Island cannon replica that represents the "modern" Battle for Manila Bay.###
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary and Task Force Build Back Better (TF BBB) Chair Jim O. Sampulna on Wednesday, March 9, handed over to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) the remainder of TF BBB’s Marikina River rehabilitation to ensure its continuity even after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's administration.
Sampulna pointed out that the move will mainstream TF BBB’s gains in the Marikina Restoration Project (MRP) through the DPWH-Unified Project Management Office-Flood Control Management Cluster (DPWH-UPMO-FCMC).
"But the objective of the activity remains the same — to address the issue of perennial flooding in Marikina, Pasig, and Quezon City," Sampulna said, stressing that TF BBB’s gains in its objective for Marikina River are proven by improved conditions in the cities of Marikina and Pasig during intense rains last year.
The transfer allows for the second segment of Phase 2 of TF BBB-Marikina River Dredging Project (TMRDP) to be adopted under Phase 4 of DPWH’s Pasig-Marikina River Channel Improvement Project (DPWH-PMRCIP) in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
TF BBB’s MRP-Phase 1 was completed in July 2021, or five months after it was launched in February, resulting in the widening of the Marikina River by about 9,060 square meters after 41,625 cubic meters were dredged from three sites or "chokepoints" along the Olandez sewage treatment plant, BF City, and SM Marikina riverbanks.
"This broadened the river to 90 to 100 meters and additional depth of two meters," Sampulna said.
Meanwhile, Marikina City Mayor Marcelino "Marcy" Teodoro said TF BBB’s efforts have greatly lessened the anxiety of Marikina residents during heavy rainfall, noting a great improvement in the lessening of floodings have been observed last year, especially in outlying areas along the Marikina River.
He added that the TF BBB has provided local officials with effective models for addressing the flooding problems in Marikina City.
"Binigyan tayo ng magandang template ng TF BBB," Teodoro said, noting that the Marikina City Council has approved a resolution calling for the dredging of Marikina River by administration instead of hiring contractors.
He added that the city government had no dredging equipment before the initiatives of the TF BBB. 
Teodoro said that the city government already purchased new equipment and other dredging materials as a result of the lessons learned from TF BBB’s initiatives in the Marikina River.
TF BBB’s MRP-Phase 2 consisted of two segments covering three barangays in Pasig City, namely Barangay Santolan and Ugong (Segment 1) and Caniogan (Segment 2) .
Sampulna said Segment 1, which started in July 2021, is now almost complete with 30,420 cubic meters already dredged as of Nov. 2, 2021, and has resulted in the widening of the Marikina River on the side of Pasig City by 12,840 square meters. ###


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) urged cement makers to explore ways to utilize plastic waste as raw material to help reduce the country's solid waste generation by at least 40 percent.

“When all these cement plants will participate, we can dramatically reduce the volume of plastic waste which will be now regarded as raw materials of the cement plants in their current processing,” said DENR-EMB Director William Cuñado, citing that several cement firms have already adopted the conversion of plastic waste into energy in the country.

“This measure will reduce by 40 to 60 percent the volume of plastic waste,” he pointed out.

The DENR-EMB chief also said that the participation of the local government units through their solid waste management efforts will contribute to the decrease in plastic waste volume.

Cuñado noted that the conversion of plastic waste into raw material for cement plants will result in the reduction of plastic wastes generated in cities and municipalities.

DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Panning, and International Affairs and spokesperson Atty. Jonas R. Leones also cited that campaign materials made out of plastics that are used for the May 2022 elections can be recycled by cement plants.

“Plastic tarpaulins are also used in co-processing, in energy. These are mixed into cement as fillers; sometimes these are used to create pots,” Leones said.

“Plastic tarpaulins are melted to have some other products out of these plastics,” he added.

Leones also reiterated the continuing efforts of the DENR in addressing the problem of single-use plastics.

“The DENR has already approved the national plan of action to address the plastic litter and in addressing single-use plastics. We are supporting the principle of circular economy and extended producer responsibility or EPR,” Leones said.

“For us, we are just preparing the policy that would hopefully give incentives to the industries for them to avoid using single-use plastics," he added. ###



The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has turned over 100 yellow trash bins to the municipalities of Binangonan and Angono in Rizal province to ensure the proper segregation and disposal of household health care wastes such as used face masks.
DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement, Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns (LGUs) and Attached Agencies Benito Antonio T. de Leon handed over 50 trash bins to  Binangonan Mayor Cesar Martin Ynares and another 50 to Angono Mayor Jeri Mae Calderon  in simple turnover rites at their respective offices on March 7.
"As former Secretary Roy A. Cimatu manifested, and as pursued by our new Secretary Jim O. Sampulna, we need to proceed in the direction of behavioral change," de Leon said.
He also commended the efforts of the two local executives for implementing the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Resolution No. 1364 series of 2020 on the "Adopting the Interim Guidelines on the Management of COVID-19 Related Health Care Waste" issued in April 2020.
The guidelines cover the proper handling and management of all COVID-related health care wastes generated by households and other facilities.
De Leon, who is also the NSWMC alternate chair, said the donation "goes a long way in equipping LGUs to mainstream sound solid waste management practices in their governance as public servants however small the donation may be and in the face of the huge challenges in changing people’s attitude and behavior towards wastes, particularly at the household level."
Meanwhile, Ynares said the donation was timely as it will help sustain the downward trend in COVID-19 positive cases in Binangonan.
Calderon also welcomed DENR’s support to their efforts to implement Angono’s solid waste management activities which, she said, was fine-tuned to address the increase in the volume of healthcare wastes generated during the pandemic. ###