Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is focusing on building the capacity of local government units (LGUs) and strengthening the protection of indigenous species and their habitats.
 
This is part of the agency’s thrust of promoting environmental management and climate change mitigation at the local level according to DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones.
 
Speaking during the flag-raising ceremony at the DENR Central Office on August 15, Leones said the agency will guide and collaborate with LGUs in implementing their respective environmental conservation and protection programs.
 
Leones pointed out that the DENR, under the leadership of Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, aims to capacitate LGUs to enable them to implement their own environmental programs.
 
He also emphasized the need to enhance programs that “protect our very own indigenous practices and species by developing several livelihood programs, indigenous practices, systems and procedures.”
 
“If we can harness our native knowledge, these have the potential to also boost our economy,” Leones said, citing that some countries and foreign companies come to the Philippines to learn from indigenous peoples particularly in managing natural resources.
 
Just this year, the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau and the United Nations Development Programme held a national inception workshop for a Global Environment Facility-funded project—“Implementing the National Framework on Access and Benefit Sharing of Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge in the Philippines.”
 
The activity was conducted to increase economic opportunity and biodiversity conservation of local communities and indigenous peoples in the Philippines, stemming from fair and equitable sharing of biodiversity benefits.
 
It was also expected to address biopiracy which is defined as the unethical or illegal appropriation or commercial exploitation of biological resources that are native to a country or territory without providing fair financial compensation to its rightful owners.
 
Loyzaga had cited the need to protect continuously the Philippines’ indigenous species.
 
 
Leones said the DENR’s priorities also include establishing a nationwide geospatial system containing environmental information, accounting of natural resources, implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, and anchoring DENR programs on sustainable climate action. ###

 

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will be establishing two major information systems to strengthen the data sharing and accounting of the country’s natural resources.

On August 15, DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones said the agency needs a geospatial system to manage its readily available data, which can be useful in the implementation of government projects.

The DENR official said that the system will be helpful in the government’s reforestation program, application of geohazard maps, conduct of mining operations, monitoring of industry compliances with environmental regulations, land administration, and supervision of protected areas.

Leones further said that the DENR expects the database to bolster decision-making and collaboration with other government agencies.

“If we can establish this database where all the information is already there, decision-making will be easier and we will be able to discern overlaps in our programs,” he said.

“Once we’re done with this, we can already collaborate with the database of other agencies,” he added.

Leones cited examples in which the database can be productive for other government agencies as well. For example, the database will enable the identification of geohazard risks which can inform the planning of the Department of Education and the Department of Public Works and Highways (e.g. where schools and roads can be constructed).

Leones also stated that there is a need to account for and conduct a valuation of the country’s environmental and natural resources.

“The prime concern of our Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga is that we need to account and put value to our natural resources. If we can do that, we will be able to identify our priority initiatives with these resources,” Leones said.

The Convention on Biological Diversity noted that the Philippines is one of the 18 mega-biodiverse countries in the world.

The country ranks fifth in the number of plant species and maintains five percent of the world’s flora.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority said that the country is one of the world’s most richly endowed in terms of mineral resources. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has committed to climate proofing the agency’s programs (i.e. ensure that risks and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies are integrated).

“We need to strengthen our mitigation activities, and make our programs climate-proof to help solve problems caused by climate change in the country,” DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones said during the agency’s flag-raising ceremony on August 15.

Some of the DENR’s priority programs that need climate-proofing are the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP); Clean Air; Intensified Forest Protection and Anti-Illegal Logging; Geo-Hazard, Groundwater Assessment and Responsible Mining; and the Manila Bay Cleanup.

The ENGP is an extension of the National Greening Program that aims to rehabilitate denuded forestlands and maintain and protect the country’s existing forests.

Meanwhile, the Clean Air Program is in line with the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. It enables the DENR to assess the air quality in areas of jurisdiction to formulate a more comprehensive policy.

The DENR has so far established 101 air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) across the country for measuring pollutants, such as total suspended particulates, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

It also continued to neutralize illegal logging hotspots in the country, patrol forests, rehabilitate abandoned mines, and assess coastal geo-hazards and groundwater resources under its priority programs.

“All our activities need to be anchored in climate action. If we can improve the system in our department, our services to the public and all Filipinos will also improve,” Leones said.

He urged the DENR’s offices, bureaus, and attached agencies to strengthen their respective mitigation activities pursuant to DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga’s directive to implement practical climate change adaptation measures, which are evidence and science-based.

Leones said that with the leadership and expertise of Loyzaga in environment, climate change actions, and disaster risk management and resilience, “the DENR is on the right track in improving its climate measures.” ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—in coordination with the mandamus agencies of the Manila Bay rehabilitation—has committed to strengthen the implementation of immediate flood control strategies and long-term defenses following the flooding in Manila last week.

The DENR, through the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO), on August 9 held an interagency meeting with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Manila city government for the “reinforcement of collective actions to address the recent flooding experienced in the city of Manila.”

DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones pointed out that the holistic design of the Manila Bay rehabilitation already involves mitigating measures to accommodate heavy rains and prevent flooding.

“A part of the overall rehabilitation plan is to install mitigating strategies and infrastructures that address flooding. These measures, which are managed by the DPWH and MMDA, are necessary as these ultimately affect the Manila Bay waters,” Leones said.

Meanwhile, MBCO Director Jacob Meimban said Taft-United Nations, Padre Faura, and Ermita-Malate areas that have experienced heavy flooding last week will be prioritized as these are low-lying and flood-prone areas.

He added: “The DPWH and MMDA, with the support of the DENR and city of Manila, are now working on interventions for the declogging of drainage canals, especially in the identified areas.”

Meimban noted that the declogging operations last year have uncovered a significant amount of plastic bottles and grease and oil build-up along drainage canals in Manila. These were observed to come from business establishments and the wanton disposal of garbage in the streets.

During the interagency meeting, the DPWH also sought assistance from the Maynilad Water Services Inc. in the cleanup of drainage lines and disposal of wastes after declogging operations. The water concessionaire committed to help in the declogging operations in the target areas, especially along their sewer lines.

For the DENR’s part, Meimban said the agency is planning to provide funding for the declogging operations as well as install mobile pumping stations in the Baywalk area, reconstruct floodgates, and devise other flooding interventions in coordination with other government agencies.

During the meeting, the DPWH will work on the long-term plans to abate flooding around Manila, especially in the city’s low-lying areas by constructing more box culvert canals and pumping station along T.M. Kalaw and Taft Avenue, in order for the floodwaters to recede immediately.

The measures include the construction of additional drainage connection systems and box culverts, construction of pumping stations and interceptors, and equipment to remove wastes clogging the drainage pipes.

Meimban said that the pipes clogged with waste and the drainage canals with dead-end connections coupled with the extreme weather condition may have contributed to the flooding.

He emphasized that all concerned Mandamus agencies need to work together to address flooding through effective interventions. #

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has lauded the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 11898 or the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022, mandating companies to establish EPR programs for their plastic packaging.

DENR Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Director William P. Cuñado said the passage of RA 11898 was timely as it addresses the urgency and necessity for collaboration between the public and private sector to combat environmental damages caused by plastic pollution and climate change.

RA 11898, which lapsed into law on July 30, also amended RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

“As President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in his first State of the Nation Address, the Philippines is among the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change. As such, the collaboration of both the public and private sector is deemed urgent and necessary to combat environmental damages that amplify the vulnerability of our country to climate change,” Cuñado said.

Under the new law, companies will have to establish EPR programs for plastic waste reduction, recovery and diversion.

Cuñado said that RA 11898 is a “practical approach to efficient waste management, focusing on waste reduction, recovery, and recycling, and the development of environment-friendly products that advocate the internationally accepted principles on sustainable consumption and production, circular economy, and producers’ full responsibility throughout the life cycle of products.”

Through EPR, “obliged enterprises,” or through their Producer Responsibility Organizations, will have to recover or offset their generated plastic product footprint by 20 percent in 2023 to 80 percent by 2028.

Among the plastic packaging covered by the EPR Law include single or multi-layered plastics such as sachets, rigid plastic packaging products like food and drink containers, single-use plastic bags, and polystyrene.

Penalties for the non-compliance of EPR duties range from P5 million to P20 million, or “twice the cost of recovery and diversion of the footprint or its shortfall, whichever is higher.”

 

Likewise, under RA 11898, the DENR—together with other concerned government agencies, organizations, and stakeholders—will formulate the implementing rules and regulations within 90 days from its effectivity.

Cuñado added that once the EPR law is implemented, a significant amount of plastic wastes will no longer be dumped on creeks, rivers and oceans, or be burned.

Apart from the EPR scheme, the law also reconstituted the composition of the National Solid Waste Management Commission and enhanced the functions and duties and changing of guards of the National Ecology Center.

The law also provides for the expansion and simplification of fiscal incentive schemes to encourage stakeholder involvement both for solid waste management and EPR activities.

Meanwhile, the Pollution Adjudication Board is designated to resolve cases relating to EPR obligations under RA 11898. ###