Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—through the Strategic Alliance and Environmental Partnership Division of the Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service (SCIS) and the DENR Association of Career Executives (ACE)—conducted a blood donation activity as part of its commitment to help save the lives of patients facing illnesses and injuries.

"The conduct of this annual bloodletting activity and the overwhelming response of employees show the compassion of the DENR family to the community, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic," OIC Secretary Jim Sampulna said during the blood donation program held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City on February 21.

In partnership with the Pediatric Blood Center of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), the DENR was able to register 140 employees from its various offices, bureaus, and attached agencies for the event.

Seventy-two percent or 101 individuals were able to successfully donate blood. This is the second highest record since 2016 when there were 128 donors out of 140 volunteers.

The bloodletting event has been an annual activity of the DENR and PCMC since 2011 when the project was initiated due to the need for medical assistance, particularly blood donations for DENR employees, their relatives and PCMC patients 15 years old and below.

The annual bloodletting activity is part of the Compassion Project of the DENR ACE for DENR employees and stakeholders to imbibe the core principles in valuing people, to give high regard for their work and the organization, as well as to help augment the supply of safe blood for the PCMC's blood bank.

It also increases awareness on the importance of blood donation to prevent diseases of the heart, liver and brain.

According to DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs and ACE president Atty. Jonas R. Leones, "blood donation is one of the most gratifying forms of service."

"DENR ACE is grateful to all who volunteered. Every drop of blood is priceless and their selfless act will go a long way to save lives," Leones said.

The participation of DENR ACE is one of the keys in maximizing the mobilization of volunteers who participated in the event considering the risk and hazard brought by the COVID-19. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) aims to make the Manila Bay dolomite beach swimmable by the end of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term in June.

To achieve this, DENR OIC Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the government continues to focus on the improvement of Manila Bay’s water quality as well as the rehabilitation of coastal and marine ecosystems.

“We are looking at completing the second phase of the beach nourishment project while further reducing fecal coliform levels to make the bay safe for swimming, boating, and other forms of contact recreation,” Sampulna said during a media briefing held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City on February 28.

DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones said the department is doubling its rehabilitation efforts to reach the standard fecal coliform level of 100 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 mL) to allow recreational activities.

“Tuloy-tuloy po ang ginagawa diyan. Gusto po namin kapag binuksan namin [ang dolomite beach,] hindi na lang viewing ng mga tao, but of course ‘yung dream nating maging swimmable na ‘yung Manila Bay,” Leones said.

Despite having “no new budget” to purchase dolomite, Leones noted that Congress has allocated a budget for the Baywalk area’s continuous rehabilitation, such as the installation of public restrooms and other infrastructure development equipment.

He added that they are continuously monitoring the quality of water coming from major drainage outfalls discharging into Manila Bay, which has improved by 50 percent.

“It’s just a matter of spreading the dolomite sand, and then sa may Remedios, [mapapansin] niyo na may naka-install ng kuryente diyan para malagay na ng MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) ‘yung water pump diyan [para] all wastewater mada-divert sa STP (sewage treatment plan) bago ma-discharge sa Manila Bay,” Leones explained.

Data from the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) shows that the Baywalk STP, which treats wastewater from Padre Faura, Remedios, and Estero de San Antonio de Abad outfalls, passed the fecal coliform standard for Class SB waters as of September 2021.

In line with this, MBCO Deputy Executive Director Jacob Meimban Jr. added that DENR and LLDA inspected more than 6,200 establishments discharging waters to Manila Bay, and issued 1,440 notices of violation, five cease and desist orders, and five ex-parte orders.

“As of December 2021, 6,246 establishments were inspected po by DENR and LLDA,” Meimban said.

“Ganon po kalawak ‘yung ginagawa natin base po sa pagbabantay ng water quality sa Manila Bay Region, kasi ‘yun po ang pangunahing utos ng mandamus order ng Supreme Court,” he said.

When asked if the dolomite beach will be reopened since the National Capital Region has been downgraded to Alert Level 1 on March 1, Meimban said the DENR will give an announcement on this in the coming days.

“We will abide by the recent developments [and construction] in the area. Of course, we are yet to complete the security measures to safeguard the safety of the public, so in due time, we will give updates on when we’ll open the beach,” he said. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) aims to make the Manila Bay dolomite beach swimmable by the end of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s term in June.

To achieve this, DENR OIC Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the government continues to focus on the improvement of Manila Bay’s water quality as well as the rehabilitation of coastal and marine ecosystems.

“We are looking at completing the second phase of the beach nourishment project while further reducing fecal coliform levels to make the bay safe for swimming, boating, and other forms of contact recreation,” Sampulna said during a media briefing held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City on February 28.

DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones said the department is doubling its rehabilitation efforts to reach the standard fecal coliform level of 100 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 mL) to allow recreational activities.

“Tuloy-tuloy po ang ginagawa diyan. Gusto po namin kapag binuksan namin [ang dolomite beach,] hindi na lang viewing ng mga tao, but of course ‘yung dream nating maging swimmable na ‘yung Manila Bay,” Leones said.

Despite having “no new budget” to purchase dolomite, Leones noted that Congress has allocated a budget for the Baywalk area’s continuous rehabilitation, such as the installation of public restrooms and other infrastructure development equipment.

He added that they are continuously monitoring the quality of water coming from major drainage outfalls discharging into Manila Bay, which has improved by 50 percent.

“It’s just a matter of spreading the dolomite sand, and then sa may Remedios, [mapapansin] niyo na may naka-install ng kuryente diyan para malagay na ng MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) ‘yung water pump diyan [para] all wastewater mada-divert sa STP (sewage treatment plan) bago ma-discharge sa Manila Bay,” Leones explained.

Data from the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) shows that the Baywalk STP, which treats wastewater from Padre Faura, Remedios, and Estero de San Antonio de Abad outfalls, passed the fecal coliform standard for Class SB waters as of September 2021.

In line with this, MBCO Deputy Executive Director Jacob Meimban Jr. added that DENR and LLDA inspected more than 6,200 establishments discharging waters to Manila Bay, and issued 1,440 notices of violation, five cease and desist orders, and five ex-parte orders.

“As of December 2021, 6,246 establishments were inspected po by DENR and LLDA,” Meimban said.

“Ganon po kalawak ‘yung ginagawa natin base po sa pagbabantay ng water quality sa Manila Bay Region, kasi ‘yun po ang pangunahing utos ng mandamus order ng Supreme Court,” he said.

When asked if the dolomite beach will be reopened since the National Capital Region has been downgraded to Alert Level 1 on March 1, Meimban said the DENR will give an announcement on this in the coming days.

“We will abide by the recent developments [and construction] in the area. Of course, we are yet to complete the security measures to safeguard the safety of the public, so in due time, we will give updates on when we’ll open the beach,” he said. ###

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna vowed to continue the rehabilitation of Manila Bay as part of the legacy of the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Sampulna expressed his commitment as he commended the gains made by former DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to the ongoing restoration of Manila Bay.

"In rehabilitating Manila Bay and its coastal and marine ecosystems, our focus is on improving the bay’s water quality. We are looking at completing the second phase of the beach nourishment project, while further reducing fecal coliform levels to make the bay safe for swimming, boating, and other forms of contact recreation," Sampulna said in a press conference held at the DENR Central Office on February 28.

The DENR is focused on attaining the 100 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100 mL) of fecal coliform level for Class SB waters to make Manila Bay fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.

Before the rehabilitation of Manila Bay started in January 2019, the fecal coliform level in the Baywalk area was 1.26 billion MPN/100 mL.

However, as of August 2021, fecal coliform in the same area has dropped to 7,000 MPN/100 mL.

"If you will recall, when we started rehabilitating Manila Bay, the result of the water quality in that area ranges from millions to billions," DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Atty. Jonas R. Leones said.

"Nasa thousands na tayo, medyo malayo-layo pa, but [we’re] confident na magtuloy-tuloy ‘yun so hopefully by the end of the Duterte administration, we can meet the standard in terms of water quality," he added.

Leones noted that part of the rehabilitation activities includes dredging and inspecting the drainage systems of establishments surrounding the area and installing a water pump to divert wastewater to a sewage treatment plant before being discharged to Manila Bay. ###

 

Amid the decreasing water level in Angat Dam, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna assured the public that the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) remains on top of the situation as it continues to undertake measures to ensure sufficient water supply during the dry season.

"The NWRB will be in the forefront of monitoring the water level of the Angat Dam and putting contingency measures in place. While we are experiencing low water levels in the Angat Dam, the NWRB has already made its move to solve the looming problem," Sampulna said.

The NWRB is an attached agency of the DENR that is responsible for the management and regulation of all water resources and services in the country.

NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said the agency—in coordination with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Power Corporation (NPC), and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)—has been implementing mitigation strategies to address the possible inadequacy of water supply from the Angat Dam, which supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila's water requirements.

Some of the measures include the reduction of allocation for domestic and irrigation requirements; reactivation of deep wells for the use of MWSS; cloud seeding operations; and maximizing the use of water treatment plants owned by water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water.

David said that the domestic water allocation of 48 cubic meters per second (cms) will be retained in March, noting that having a sufficient water supply helps control the spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, he pointed out that the case for the irrigation sector is different because "when the harvest is approaching, the lesser water will also be needed for the crops." The allocation is reduced from 20 cms to 15 cms.

The NWRB is also working in coordination with NIA for the implementation of various measures for effective water management including the use of shallow tube wells to reduce the consumption of water for irrigation.

"We are using what they call shallow tube wells to enable farmers to optimize water coming from creeks and canals," David said.

To prevent the further decrease of water level in Angat Dam, the MWSS is also planning to conduct cloud seeding operations in March and April.

"This endeavor is in coordination with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. We decided to conduct the cloud seeding operations this March due to the right weather conditions and after the amihan or northeast monsoon season," David said.

Cloud seeding operations will be conducted in different areas including the Angat Watershed and Bustos Dam in Bulacan and La Mesa Dam in Quezon City, which will be implemented from March 7 to April 10, 2022.

Meanwhile, the public is encouraged to partake in the efforts to secure the availability of water especially in the coming dry season by conserving water and using it with utmost care and efficiency. #