Press Releases

The Association of Career Executives (ACE) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) welcomed the appointment of Jim O. Sampulna as acting secretary of the DENR following the resignation of former Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

ACE President and DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said it is an honor to have a “homegrown” career executive as the new chief of the department.

“I have known Secretary Jim as a hardworking and committed public servant, making his way through the ranks in the DENR. I cannot think of anyone else who can do a better job of being our acting secretary than him,” Leones said.

Sampulna started as a tree marker in Cotabato City at the then Bureau of Forest Development in 1977. He was only 20 years old at that time.

Two years later, he was promoted to budget examiner.

Sampulna’s unyielding determination and commitment to the DENR’s mission to protect the environment was seen through the years – from DENR-Soccksargen’s Chief Regional Development Specialist in 1988 to Regional Director in 2013.

In 2019, Sampulna became the Undersecretary for Enforcement and Muslim Affairs.

A year later, he undertook the position of Undersecretary for Mining, Muslim Affairs, and Attached Agencies, where his role allowed him to supervise regions, from Regions 11 to 13 in Mindanao, to Region 1 in Luzon and Region 6 in the Visayas.

“As the new acting secretary, I want to promote professionalism and careerism in the DENR,” said Sampulna, who has been serving DENR for more than 40 years, and is a member of the career executive service for nearly two decades.

“I encourage DENR regional executive directors, assistant regional executives as well as all employees to strive to become homegrown CESOs (career executive service officers). I hope to motivate and inspire them to become better, yet well-grounded leaders of our country,” he said.

From having been conferred with CES Eligibility on February 7, 2000, and appointed to his first CESO rank on November 27, 2001, the new DENR chief has earned the highest CES rank on January 7, 2021. ###

 
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) OIC Secretary Jim O. Sampulna assured the residents of South Cotabato that the national government will respect the outcome of the public hearing called by the provincial board on the proposed amendments to the Environment Code, specifically on the provision lifting the ban on open-pit mining in the municipality of Tampakan.
 
Sampulna was invited by South Cotabato Vice Gov. Vicente De Jesus to the multi-sectoral consultation forum in Koronadal City on February 24 to provide technical information that will help the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) members decide on whether or not to lift the ban on open-pit mining.
 
"We are here to shed light upon the invitation of Vice Governor Vicente De Jesus," Sampulna said before the audience-packed auditorium representing all concerned sectors, including all the mayors in the province and former board members who framed the ordinance.
 
"We respect your rights," the DENR chief said, while he assured stakeholders that the general good of the people of South Cotabato is of utmost importance to the provincial government.
 
"On the legality of the provincial ordinance, it is well settled that ordinances enacted by virtue of the general welfare clause are valid," Sampulna explained.
 
He expressed optimism that the DENR could contribute to a better appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of the project, as well as help the SP members reach an informed decision when they cast their respective votes.
 
De Jesus, who also sits as the SP’s presiding officer, said the board unanimously agreed to conduct the public hearing before voting for amendments on the provisions of Ordinance 04, Series of 2010, entitled “An Ordinance Providing for the Environment Code of the Province of South Cotabato."
 
The ordinance was approved on June 9, 2010. It was affirmed by the SP on June 30, 2015, through the "South Cotabato Environment Code" or "A Resolution Affirming the Validity of Section 22(b) of Ordinance No. 04 Series of 2010."
 
Sampulna was joined by DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Wilfredo Moncano, DENR-Environmental Management Bureau Director William Cuñado, and DENR-Region 12 Executive Director Felix Alicer during the consultation forum on February 24.
 
A public hearing was also held on February 18 in Tampakan town, which hosts the multi-billion-peso gold-copper project touted as the largest undeveloped copper and gold mine in Southeast Asia.
 
The Tampakan project of the Sagittarius Mines Incorporated or SMI has the potential to yield an average of 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold in concentrate per annum over the proposed 17-year life of the mine. ###
 
The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has partnered with the Coalition of Solid Waste Management Providers (CSWMP) to work on strategic plans to improve the country’s solid waste management.
 
In an executive committee meeting held last February 14, the NSWMC and CSWMP mapped out plans to preserve the life and increase the number of sanitary landfills nationwide.
 
Former Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and NSWMC Alternate Chair Benny D. Antiporda expressed the support of the Commission to the initial plans and functions proposed by the CSWMP to strengthen the enforcement of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
 
“We are looking forward that you give more assistance and cooperation with the government wherein we achieve the next level or the peak for solid waste management,” Antiporda said.
 
CSWMP spokesperson Dwight Ramos said that lands available for sanitary landfills are “only a few to none” that is why the group wants to focus on minimizing wastes that end up in landfills for sustainability.
 
“To be sustainable, we are looking at how we can also preserve the landfills so that wastes that will be put there will only be residuals and all others will be diverted for composting, recycling, repurposing, upcycling--so our landfills won’t be overloaded. The entire approach system is to really all work together so that there will be sustainability and our resources won’t deplete,” Ramos said.
 
Under the proposal, the CSWMP will be involved in coming up with policies or systems to address the proper segregation of biodegradable wastes, management of COVID-19 wastes, strategies to support the implementation of the Total Solid Waste Management Solution concept, and a mechanism to rationalize tipping fees.
 
It will also serve as a network of sanitary operators on sharing of relevant information on proper operation and maintenance, raise awareness among local government units (LGUs) including barangays, relative to proper waste disposal and segregation.
 
In terms of operations of sanitary landfills, the CSWMP will strengthen the utilization of the 5R schemes—reduce, reuse, recycle, recovery and revenue—among the coalition members, apply technologies to maximize waste reduction, and assist LGUs in the creation of clustered or individual sanitary landfills.
 
“We, as landfill operators are really competitors and we have not really been helping out each other because of that, but when we were brought together by Usec. Benny, it was a breakthrough. We realized that probably even as competitors, there can be cooperation for the good of the environment and of RA 9003,” Ramos said.
 
He also said that the Coalition aims to strengthen the environmental compliance in the sanitary landfill operations, properly manage and monitor treated healthcare and hazardous wastes, and self-monitor its accomplishment as their own initiative.
 
The institution of CSWMP, presently composed of 11 organizations, was created in February 2021 with the aim of encouraging greater private sector participation in solid waste management.
 
With this, the NSWMC En Banc meeting held on February 22 also approved NSWMC No. 1505, Series of 2022, to empower the CSWMP in implementing the Total Solid Waste Management Solution to optimize waste recovery and utilization in the sanitary landfills prior to disposal.
 
The NSWMC has approved for CSWMP to give technical assistance to the Commission in line with existing rules and regulations, participate in NSWMC Executive Committee meetings and En Banc meetings, impart recommendations in the deliberation of 10-year solid waste management plans or to prescribe policies related to provision of solid waste management services, and recommend the establishment of one sanitary landfill to be established in a city or municipality or a cluster of cities or municipalities. ###

 

 
  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through its Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), will lead the Philippine celebration of the 2022 World Wildlife Day (WWD) with the theme, “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration.”
 
DENR OIC Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said this year’s WWD celebration “seeks to draw attention on the state of the most critically endangered species of wild flora and fauna, their role in the ecosystem, and the importance of conservation efforts to save them.”
 
He said the event also “aims to drive the discussion towards imagining and implementing new solutions to conserve and sustainably use wildlife.”
 
In keeping with this year’s theme, the DENR will be hosting a webinar to showcase the country’s conservation efforts on key species such as the rufous hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax), tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis), Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), and dugong (Dugong dugon), and other threatened species.
 
A webinar on conservation programs will also be conducted to drive discussions toward implementing better conservation programs with more resilient impacts.
 
The DENR-BMB will lead the “Make Your Own Storybook” contest in recognition of the role of youth in biodiversity conservation efforts.
 
The contest is open to all Filipino youth, 15 to 20 years old, who wish to contribute to the growing library of inspirational stories for the protection of wildlife and biodiversity.
 
BMB OIC Director Natividad Y. Bernardino said that currently, the Philippines has “more than 1,000 species of plants and animals listed as threatened species.”
 
“Wildlife law enforcement, protection and management of wildlife habitats and species conservation programs are being implemented to protect and recover these threatened species,” Bernardino said.
 
The population of key Philippine species, for example, the tamaraw and Philippine cockatoo have been showing a steady uptrend mainly due to the collective efforts of the DENR and its conservation partners, conservation organizations, local government units and the private sector.
 
Celebrated every 3rd of March, WWD is an annual event aimed at raising awareness about the world’s wild animals and plants, the threats to their survival, and their benefits to people and the planet. 
 
Since being adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, it has become the most important annual event dedicated to wildlife. 
 
March 3 also marks the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES in 1973. ###

The new chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has commended former Secretary Roy A. Cimatu's work and committed to continue his major environmental programs and projects until the end of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's term.

DENR OIC Secretary Jim O. Sampulna committed to build on the gains of the agency under Cimatu in the remaining months of the Duterte administration.

"The initiatives of our good Secretary, Secretary Cimatu, has made a huge impact on the Filipino people and I intend to continue what he has started," Sampulna said.

"What I can commit is, our initiatives in the next four months, we will do these for the benefit of the Filipino people," he added.

The Mindanao-native official underscored the progress in the ongoing restoration of Manila Bay and the success of the Boracay Island rehabilitation.

He said that he will continue the priority projects as a commitment to President Duterte.

"We can now see the beauty of Manila Bay. Maybe only around 500-600 meters of the Manila Bay is yet to be laid down with dolomite sand. I intend to continue that project because that is our commitment to our dear President," Sampulna pointed out.

"Meanwhile in Boracay, since it is also the commitment of the DENR to President Duterte, we intend to continue that," he said.

Moreover, Sampulna, who is the undersecretary for attached agencies, mining, and Muslim affairs before taking charge as the OIC of the DENR, also clarified the issue on open-pit mining in relation to the lifting of the ban through Executive Order 130.

"It is in the law that open-pit mining is allowed. However, we have policies and guidelines on conducting open-pit mining which should be clear and followed," Sampulna pointed out.

"There are misnomers that if it is open-pit, then it is destructive. But even prior to the start of the project, there is already a plan for rehabilitation where the degree of damage to the environment has already been measured… it will be restored after their operation," he added.

He also noted that constant monitoring of mining operations is being conducted by the national government, neighboring mining communities, and the "very strict" Mining Industry Coordinating Council.

Meanwhile, on the issue of banning single-use plastic, Sampulna pointed out that the DENR has already been advocating for this and he supports its banning despite the absence of a law.

"We need some legislation for that (ban on single-use plastic). Although there is no legislation on that yet, we are already advocating for it," Sampulna said.

"I am pushing to ban single-use plastic because it is harmful to the environment," he added.

Sampulna also echoed the call of the DENR and urged candidates for May 2022 elections to refrain from nailing campaign materials on trees.

He also asked the general public not to vote for candidates who "destroy the environment."

"I wish upon all our Filipino brothers and sisters who are vying for elective positions for 2022 to avoid nailing your campaign materials in any living tree," Sampulna said.

"So, I am asking, especially to our voters, do not vote for all candidates who are destroying our environment. They should be environment-friendly," he added.

Sampulna took over the post of DENR chief after Cimatu's resignation due to health reasons. ###