Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has further solidified its cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment Japan (MOEJ) towards a decarbonized and sustainable society at the Philippines-Japan Bilateral Environmental Policy Dialogue on March 2, 2022.
 
DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the Bilateral Environmental Policy Dialogue, which was part of the 1st Philippines-Japan Environmental Week, served as an avenue for further collaboration between the DENR and MOEJ to ensure the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and protection against the impact of climate change.
 
"The Philippines as an archipelagic country is one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Our country has faced several typhoons in the past. Partnering with Japan in terms of technology and know-how on measures to mitigate climate change is indeed vital at this time," Sampulna said.
 
During the said event, DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said the department is looking forward to more fruitful cooperation between the governments of the Philippines and Japan.
 
"This dialogue is such a fitting example of our strategy to reach out to development partners to work on improving environmental conservation and protection in the country," Leones said.
 
Meanwhile, MOEJ Vice Minister Tokutaro Nakai said the agency is deepening its cooperation with the DENR based on existing cooperation programs through strategies such as Initiative on Fluorocarbons Life Cycle Management, Joint Crediting Mechanism, transparency reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, city-to-city collaboration, and knowledge and tools sharing on climate adaptation projects, and waste management technology support.
 
"In the area of climate change, we were able to confirm that there are some [possible] areas of cooperation such as the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as well as the development of the long-term strategies and we will make efforts to work for that and we also hope to cooperate with you in the future attempts too," Nakai said.
 
Through a joint statement, the DENR and the MOEJ agreed to take actions to tackle climate change.
 
"On fluorocarbon, both sides confirm the ongoing and future cooperation between the DENR and the MOEJ in potential assessment of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) collection and destruction, capacity development of policymakers and technicians, and utilization of the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM), under the Initiative on Fluorocarbons Life Cycle Management (IFL)," read the joint statement.
Both governments will also work on advancing the lifecycle management of fluorocarbon in the Philippines and Japan in order to contribute to the Philippines' NDC through HFCs emissions reduction.
 
As part of the Partnership to Strengthen Transparency for co-Innovation (PaSTI) program, the DENR and MOEJ will continue to work together for capacity-building in the Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU) and waste sectors with active engagement of the private and local government stakeholders with a view to strengthening Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting and incentives for action.
 
"On adaptations, both sides confirm the importance of sharing the knowledge and tools for implementing adaptation projects in vulnerable communities through the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Information Platform (AP-PLAT) and the National Integrated Climate Change Database Information and Exchange System (NICCDIES)," it further stated.
 
With regards to waste management, both governments will further collaborate towards the viability of waste-to-energy projects for the Philippines.
 
Leones added that the Philippines commits to a "projected greenhouse gas emission reduction and avoidance of 75 percent of which 2.71 is unconditional and 72.29 percent is conditional, representing the country’s ambition over the next decade."
 
Nakai said that the MOEJ will accelerate its effort to decarbonize Asia for the establishment of the so-called "Asia zero-emissions community."
 
Aside from the Bilateral Environmental Dialogue, the Philippines-Environmental Week also hosted the technical level session on waste management, plenary sessions on climate change that tackled on necessary efforts of the government and the private sector towards a decarbonized and resilient society and best practices on city-to-city collaboration of Japan and the Philippines, seminars that discussed the Joint Crediting Mechanism Model, International Standard for Climate Change Adaptation, Participatory Land-Use Management approach, public-private sector dialogue on PaSTI Measurement, Reporting and Verification, including online exhibitions of Japan organizations for business matching. ###
 
 
As the May 2022 national and local elections draw closer, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is hoping that the next administration would continue the country's solid waste management programs, particularly by increasing funding for local government units (LGUs) and working on the amendment of Republic Act (RA) 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990.
 
"For those who will be elected into office, my main suggestion is to focus on assisting LGUs by giving appropriate funding to address the garbage problem in their localities," DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Atty. Jonas R. Leones said.
 
Citing the data from the DENR's Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Leones said that highly-urbanized cities and 5th class municipalities need around P300 million and P1 million to fund their solid waste management programs, respectively.
 
"Environmental compliance usually incurs high costs," he pointed out.
 
Leones also emphasized the vital role of private and public sectors in helping the national government address the country's garbage woes.
 
Meanwhile, DENR-EMB's Hazardous Waste Management Section Chief Geri Sañez said that not all LGUs have their own materials recovery facility and sanitary landfill, including treatment, storage and disposal facilities which are especially needed for hazardous wastes.
 
Sañez is hoping that the draft bill on the amendment of RA 6969 will be given priority to institutionalize circular economy and extended producer’s responsibility (EPR) for both municipal and domestic solid wastes and hazardous wastes.
 
"I hope that the next administration or whoever will be the next President will give priority to the draft bill amending RA 6969. This has already been approved in the House of Representatives but is still awaiting the Senate version of the bill. This has not been given priority for more than two decades already and is constantly being refiled and updated," Sañez said.
 
The proposed bill will serve as the legal basis to implement the concept of a circular economy and EPR.
 
Through the EPR, the manufacturer of the product will be given accountability for the treatment, disposal, or recycling of its post-consumer products.
 
Sañez added that the bill also incorporates provisions on contaminated sites management to address the massive redevelopment nationwide where former industrial sites are being developed into residential, commercial, or combination of both known as commercial business districts.###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are exploring ways to further enhance the partnership of the Philippines and the United States in environmental protection and climate change mitigation.

US Charge d’Affaires Heather Variava, USAID Mission Director to the Philippines Ryan Washburn, and USAID Philippines Environment Office Chief John Edgar on March 3, paid a courtesy visit on DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna in acknowledgement of the longtime partnership between USAID and DENR.

“It is our great pleasure to meet you today and have the opportunity to personally thank the US government for always being supporting in our efforts of meeting our agenda in the environment and natural resources,” Sampulna told the US officials.

The new DENR chief, who had been a regional director from 2009 to 2018, cited that several USAID projects were implemented during his time on the field and hoped to continue doing so under his leadership.

“I came from the field, from the region, and I have implemented many USAID projects. We have the Safe Water project and SIBOL (Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes), which we are implementing right now,” Sampulna said.

National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Executive Director Sevillo D. David Jr. said the Safe Water project is currently being implemented by NWRB as DENR’s focal agency, among three regional offices in Palawan, Negros Occidental, and Mindanao.

Meanwhile, DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) OIC Director Natividad Y. Bernardino shared that the SIBOL project team has recently worked on the Siargao seascape, which was badly hit by Typhoon Odette in December 2021.

“The work that USAID does to the country’s resources is so important to the whole world, and the Philippines is one of our priorities for safe and resilient water,” Variava said.

USAID provides technical assistance to the projects, with the Safe Water initiative aiming to improve the sustainable management of the country’s water resources, and SIBOL on reducing environmental crimes, and improving water security.

It was former DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu who signed the five-year partnership with USAID for SIBOL and Safe Water programs on May 27, 2021.

These projects are under the P7.25 billion USAID-Philippines agreement on enhanced and community resilience signed by the National Economic and Development Authority and USAID in February 2021.

Aside from these projects, DENR and USAID discussed looking into coming up with more activities for the other priority programs of the DENR, including the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, illegal wildlife trade, marine litter, and climate change.

“We want to make sure that we are aligned with your priorities so that we could support and know we’re going in the right direction,” Washburn said.

He also mentioned the Climate Resilient Cities project, which is the latest USAID project that aims to help the Philippines adapt to, mitigate, and endure the impacts of climate change.

Washburn expressed hope that the DENR will continue to support the dissemination of climate information to local communities to increase the resilience of communities to the impact of climate change. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is closely scrutinizing the details of a 2017 memorandum of agreement (MOA) it signed with the Masungi Georeserve Foundation Inc. (MGFI) to ensure its consistency with the country’s laws on protected areas.

DENR-Region 4A Executive Director Nilo Tamoria said the move was in line with the order of former Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to re-evaluate the MOA and ascertain its consistency with the provisions of Republic Act 11038, or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems (E-NIPAS), which adopts strong amendatory measures to the 24-year old NIPAS law.

"We are now evaluating the consistency of the provisions in the MOA with the E-NIPAS law," Tamoria said in a press conference with DENR OIC Secretary Jim O. Sampulna on February 28.

The MOA covers the operation of an ecotourism park in Baras, Rizal, popularly known as "Masungi Georeserve," which sits inside the 26,124-hectare Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL)—one of the 94 protected areas declared under the E-NIPAS law.

Tamoria said that the UPMRBPL Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), which he chairs, is holding special meetings to make a review of the MOA and "make recommendations on the way forward."

The MOA covers an area of 300 hectares which MGFI started operating in 2015 as an ecotourism park for public use.

In 2017, MGFI signed the MOA with former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez for conservation efforts within the UPMRBPL covering 2,700 hectares.

The area covered under the 2017 MOA includes a portion of land which is subject of an ancestral domain claim.

The Dumagat-Remontados of Antipolo have a pending application for Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title or CADT covering some 13,000 hectares, or half of the 26,126-hectare total land area of the UMRBPL.

The area covered under the MOA is an offshoot of an earlier joint venture agreement entered into by former DENR Secretary Victor Ramos and Blue Star Development Corporation (BSDC) in 1997 for a housing project for government workers.

This was followed by a supplemental MOA in 2001 between BSDC and then DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna vowed that solid waste management will remain a top priority of the agency to reach its goal of approving the 10-year solid waste management plans (SWMPs) of more local government units (LGUs) nationwide.

"Our battle against solid waste continues and we will not stop until all our LGUs have their approved [SWMPs] and have implemented these. We will continue to act fast on the problems of unsegregated wastes ending up in sanitary landfills, COVID-19 healthcare wastes and the unchanged behavior of the majority of the Filipinos towards solid waste disposal,” Sampulna said.

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), chaired by the DENR, will focus on having 185 LGUs with approved 10-year SWMPs by the end of 2022 as the commission continues to enforce Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

As of February 22, a total of 1,175 SWMPs out of the target 1,716 plans have been approved.

The NSWMC recently approved the SWMPs of Magallanes, Sorsogon; Balbalan, Kalinga; Pontevedra, Negros Occidental; and Abra in an en banc meeting on February 22.

The 10-year SWMP is a requirement under RA 9003 for the effective management of solid waste among cities and municipalities.

It contains strategies on proper waste collection, diversion, and disposal, as well as proper operation and maintenance of solid waste equipment and facility.

It also specifies actions such as information dissemination strategies to residents, the presence of materials recovery facility and sanitary landfill, biodegradable waste process, and partnership with organizations for their recycling.

An LGU with a drafted 10-year SWMP will undergo screening by the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional offices, while further validations will be conducted by the DENR-EMB central office.

Lastly, it will go through deliberations and approval from the NSWMC members.

NSWMC Vice-Chair Crispian Lao also emphasized that the COVID-19 waste management plan will be included this year as one of the strategies in the 10-year plan under the guidelines in the NSWMC Resolution No. 1364, Series of 2020.

"The Commission chaired by the DENR commits to assist LGUs towards the approval of their solid waste management plans. We will not stop until we reach 100 percent approved [SWMPs] to have an environmentally-sound management of solid waste," Sampulna said.###