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We join the Filipino people in bidding farewell to Atty. Fulgencio “Jun” S. Factoran, Jr., the first Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), who oversaw its transition from the Department of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources in June 1987.

He was the Secretary of the DENR for five years, from March 10, 1987 to June 30, 1992. It was a crucial period of transformation, when our nation faced the challenge of recovering from extensive environmental degradation. Atty. Jun Factoran, a co-founder of the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, ably led the DENR in rising to the challenge.

His stewardship of the DENR was most productive. It was marked by international support from the United States of America, Canada, Japan, Germany, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and the Asian Development Bank, in the form of various foreign-assisted projects including reforestation, irrigation, watershed management, soil conservation, environmental rehabilitation and livelihood creation.

It was during his term that the DENR created the framework for the Philippine Strategy for Sustainable Development; adopted a policy of stopping logging in virgin forests; pioneered the processing of claims of indigenous peoples for ancestral lands and domains; reactivated the Free Patent Law that expired in 1987 through the Handog Titulo Program; and introduced initiatives in watershed management and resource-planning using geographic information systems.

The period also saw the passage of laws that expanded the mandate of the DENR: the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990; the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of 1991; and the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992.

For all these, and more, we are deeply indebted to Atty. Jun Factoran. The benchmark he had set for his successors at the DENR is certainly high, but the inspiration he left is correspondingly powerful.

The DENR shall remember Secretary Jun Factoran with gratitude and pride.

We convey our deepest condolences to his bereaved family, and join them in praying for the eternal repose of his soul. ###