Press Releases

Acting Environment Secretary Jim O. Sampulna called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) personnel across the country to give proper attention and care to fellow employees who are persons with disabilities (PWDs) and include them in all the events and programs of the agency.

“Those who are strong must support those who are weak. God gave us a complete body to accomplish this mission—to assure that the PWDs are comfortable and happy in working in the DENR,” Sampulna said.

According to Sampulna, PWDs are included in President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s list of priorities.

“PWDs often encounter discrimination. That’s something that I don’t want to happen in DENR that our PWDs are being discriminated. Whatever we give to those who are not disabled, we should also give to the PWDs,” he said.

Sampulna’s message is also in line with President Duterte’s call of “leaving no one behind” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and typhoon devastations.

The DENR chief gave his message following a hybrid webinar, “Invest in Our Planet: Adopt PWD Environmental Best Practices, Strengthening PWDs’ and Senior Citizens’ Social Environmental Networks,” conducted on April 27.

Eighty workers, 18 of them from the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAOs) in various local government units, and the DENR-PWD focal persons, took part in the activity where the effects of climate change and best practices on environment conservation and protection were discussed.

The webinar, which is a part of the Earth Day 2022 culminating activity, aimed to fulfill the DENR’s mission of “mobilizing the citizenry in protecting, conserving, and managing the environment and natural resources for the present and future generations.”

It is also in consonance with adopting a “whole-of-community approach” with PWDs in the spotlight and an integral part of activities in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Meanwhile, DENR Assistant Secretary for Human Resources, Strategic Communication and Sectoral Initiatives Hiro V. Masuda elaborated this year’s theme of Earth Day 2022, “Invest in our Planet.”

“Including all sectors of society, all people, wildlife, plants, will be a big part of sustaining the world we live in,” Masuda said.

“There will be more environmental learning activities and interventions for the PWDs to look out for, including a memorandum of agreement signing toSampulna bats for inclusion of PWD workers in all DENR activities

Acting Environment Secretary Jim O. Sampulna called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) personnel across the country to give proper attention and care to fellow employees who are persons with disabilities (PWDs) and include them in all the events and programs of the agency.

“Those who are strong must support those who are weak. God gave us a complete body to accomplish this mission—to assure that the PWDs are comfortable and happy in working in the DENR,” Sampulna said.

According to Sampulna, PWDs are included in President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s list of priorities.

“PWDs often encounter discrimination. That’s something that I don’t want to happen in DENR that our PWDs are being discriminated. Whatever we give to those who are not disabled, we should also give to the PWDs,” he said.

Sampulna’s message is also in line with President Duterte’s call of “leaving no one behind” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and typhoon devastations.

The DENR chief gave his message following a hybrid webinar, “Invest in Our Planet: Adopt PWD Environmental Best Practices, Strengthening PWDs’ and Senior Citizens’ Social Environmental Networks,” conducted on April 27.

Eighty workers, 18 of them from the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAOs) in various local government units, and the DENR-PWD focal persons, took part in the activity where the effects of climate change and best practices on environment conservation and protection were discussed.

The webinar, which is a part of the Earth Day 2022 culminating activity, aimed to fulfill the DENR’s mission of “mobilizing the citizenry in protecting, conserving, and managing the environment and natural resources for the present and future generations.”

It is also in consonance with adopting a “whole-of-community approach” with PWDs in the spotlight and an integral part of activities in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Meanwhile, DENR Assistant Secretary for Human Resources, Strategic Communication and Sectoral Initiatives Hiro V. Masuda elaborated this year’s theme of Earth Day 2022, “Invest in our Planet.”

“Including all sectors of society, all people, wildlife, plants, will be a big part of sustaining the world we live in,” Masuda said.

“There will be more environmental learning activities and interventions for the PWDs to look out for, including a memorandum of agreement signing to create counterparts of information, education, and communication materials in Braille,” he added. #

 

 

Four workers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were inducted into the prestigious Hall of Environmental Heroes by the Environmental Heroes Foundation, Inc. (EHFI) during the 2022 Earth Day celebration on April 22.

Those given recognition were Real, Quezon Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Miliarete Panaligan; El Nido-Taytay, Palawan forest ranger Bienvenido Veguilla Jr., and forest ranger Ronaldo Corpuz and forest protection officer Gaudencio Arana, both from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

“We have lost good men and women in defense of our planet’s health, but the losses will not deter us from holding the line. Rather, they will inspire us to do better, together,” DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said in a message read by DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs, Atty. Jonas Leones.

The families of the honorees were given posthumous awards through recognition plaques, and will receive a P1.2-million livelihood assistance with each family to receive P300,000 to be given in three tranches at P100,00 per year from 2022 to 2024.

DENR Assistant Secretary and EHFI executive director Daniel Darius Nicer said the amount came from the P4-million prize money donated by the DENR Warriors after bagging the championship at the 2019-2020 UNTV annual charity basketball league.

The event marked the third awarding of the prestigious recognition of EHFI—a non-profit and donor-sponsored organization.

Fifteen workers have been honored by the foundation since 2016, which includes Bukidnon-based Catholic priest Nerlito Dazo Satur, who was deputized by the DENR as a forest protection officer in Bukidnon.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, chair of the EHFI board of trustees, was the event’s keynote speaker.

Puno called for stricter enforcement of the country’s environmental laws by emulating the environmental heroes who have “given the best slice of their lives, including their own lives to implement our laws, protecting especially our forests from degradation brought by illegal loggers and other criminal syndicates.”

“Rest assured however, that the EHFI will tell and retell your heroic efforts, for these are the narratives that will provide the enduring values for a foundation of a future that will last,” Puno said.

The former top magistrate also pointed out the principle of “interbeing” that will govern people’s relationship with the environment to fight “ecocide,” referring to the deliberate wanton destruction of the environment, which he said is “worse than genocide happening in various parts of the world, including the country of Ukraine.”

On the principle of “interbeing,” Puno read a passage from the “Climate: A New Story,” written by Charles Eisenstein, saying: “Who I am depends on who you are. The world is part of me, just as I am part of it. What happens to the world is in some way happening to me.”

Like the other awardees recognized earlier, this year’s EHFI awardees were slain except for Panaligan, who died in 2018 after battling a lingering illness, met EHFI’s criteria particularly for her ”consistency of track record in protecting the environment and faithfully serving the government.”

Nicer cited Panaligan’s track record as DENR’s top CENRO in Luzon and the Visayas for earning the highest number of apprehension cases numbering 277 from 2010 to 2016, and even averaged 7 to 8 apprehensions per month in 2017 despite repeated death threats.

The EHFI recognition is likewise conferred for “exemplary bravery and commitment to the protection of the environment and natural resources” aside from loss of one’s life or permanent disability as a result of enforcing environment and natural resources laws, Nicer explained.

Meanwhile, Earth Day Network Philippines president and country coordinator Wigberto Tañada Jr. lamented the failure of the 18th Congress to pass the bill that would create the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau or EPEB.

“We hope it will be filed in the next Congress and our next leaders will see the urgency in strengthening the DENR to capacitate environmental defenders and law enforcers—too many of them have fallen,” Tañada said. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has successfully completed the inspection of 4,043 establishments in Metro Manila during the month-long Intensified Compliance Monitoring and Saturation Drive.
 
DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the activity aimed to help fast-track the Manila Bay rehabilitation before the end of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s administration.
 
He commended Undersecretary for Field Operations-Luzon, Visayas, and Environment Juan Miguel T. Cuna for leading the initiative that was conducted from March 14 to April 7.
 
“I would like to congratulate Usec. Cuna for a very successful operation in Manila Bay. This has really been an intensified drive that we even tapped our field personnel from the regions,” Sampulna said.
 
The DENR deployed around 160 personnel from the DENR-Metropolitan Environmental Offices, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional offices, EMB-National Capital Region, and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) for the implementation of the Intensified Compliance Monitoring and Saturation Drive.
 
Majority of those inspected were commercial businesses, restaurants, manufacturing establishments, gasoline stations, and warehouses.
 
The EMB-NCR bared that 1,857 establishments were found to be without environmental compliance certificates or certificates of non-coverage, while 1,894 establishments do not have wastewater discharge permits.
 
However, around 3,623 establishments have access to a wastewater treatment facility.
 
There were 2,306 with septic tanks, 255 with sewage treatment plants, and 104 with sequencing batch rectors. Also, 575 establishments are connected to water concessionaires.
 
Cuna said the DENR will issue necessary notices on establishments found to be neglectful of their obligations under Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
 
The establishments found to have violated pertinent laws will be issued notices of violation and will be called for a technical conference either by the EMB-NCR or LLDA to give them the opportunity to contest the basis of the issued NOV, or secure a commitment from them to comply with the requirements and implement remedial measures.
 
Meanwhile, plans to inspect more establishments in Metro Manila and in the Manila Bay regions are also being considered.
 
During the month-long activity, the team of inspectors focused on ensuring the compliance of establishments with environmental laws, such as RA 9275 and Presidential Decree 1586.
 
This was done through the review of documents and permits, probe of the source of wastewater generation, audit of the process flow of their wastewater facilities, as well as the conduct of water sampling.
 
The Manila Bay Rehabilitation aims to restore the Manila Bay waters into Class SB level or safe for recreational activities such as swimming under the Writ of Continuing Mandamus issued by the Supreme Court in 2008. ###

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna has urged the Land Management Bureau (LMB) and other DENR offices to fast-track the land titling procedures that will put an end to land conflicts and insurgency in the country.

Sampulna made the statement following the National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict meeting led by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Butuan City on April 12.

The event, which was also highlighted by the distribution of 7,000 land patents, enforces President Duterte’s order to fast-track land distribution as a counter-insurgency measure in the provinces.

“I would like to urge the Land Management Bureau and the Undersecretary for Legal, Administration, Human Resources and Legislative Affairs and supervising undersecretary of LMB to fast-track the titling of all areas because of the fact that 70 percent of the conflict around us is caused by land conflict,” he said during the DENR’s flag-raising ceremony last April 18.

Sampulna also prompted the DENR’s regional officials to fast-track the distribution of lands until the end of the year.

“I hope that all of our regional executive directors can fast-track this, to be monitored by LMB Director Emelyne Talabis, for us to be able to distribute lands until the end of the year,” he said.

Republic Act 10023 or the Residential Free Patent Act mandates the DENR to accept and process applications for free patent titles of residential lands.

As he acknowledged the low number of Filipinos with land titles, Sampulna underscored the importance of bringing the agency’s services to the public to ease the processing of free patents.

“I think by estimate, 30 to 35 percent of our people still do not have titles but they are in possession of tax declaration. This is mainly because they do not want to undergo the process of land titling, as they do not know who to approach. That is why we have to bring our service to them. Let us be closer to the people to speed up the transactions of the public with us,” Sampulna pointed out.

Moreover, the DENR chief noted that, while the agency handles other environmental sectors, it should also focus on addressing land conflicts.

“There are three reasons the DENR exists. First is to give lands to those without titles. Second is for the country’s natural resources—forestry, mines, and environment. And last, to address conflicts on lands which is a pressing issue at present. Let us concentrate on land conflicts and whoever is in charge should work more,” Sampulna stressed. ###

 

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna has assured Malacañang that illegal occupants within protected areas will face legal sanctions if they continue to violate environmental laws.

“We assure His Excellency President Rodrigo Duterte, that the DENR has been consistent in identifying culprits operating in protected areas, investigating on violations, and filing charges against the violators in Masungi and Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL),” Sampulna said.

The DENR chief said that in 2021, the DENR, in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation-Environmental Crimes Division (NBI-EnCD) and the UMRBPL-Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) personnel, has filed cases against the illegal occupants.

Through the Rizal Provincial ENR office, DENR-Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service, NBI-EnCD, and other enforcement agencies, Sampulna pointed out that joint operations and inquest proceedings and apprehension activities were also conducted within the protected area.

“From 2021 to February 2022, 16 cases were filed against violators through NBI operations conducted in Barangays San Jose, San Juan, and Pintong Bukawe in Antipolo City and Barangay Pinugay in Baras, Rizal, wherein four convictions were won on Monday, April 25,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DENR-CALABARZON reported that from August 2018 to March 2022, 96 show cause orders and 43 cease-and-desist orders were issued because of illegal construction, occupation, and/or conduct of business without clearance from the Protected Area Management Board.

Establishment of illegal structures within protected areas violates Section 20 (n) and (o) of Republic Act (RA) 7586, as amended by RA 11038 or the National Integrated Protected Area Systems (NIPAS) Act of 2018, and Section 81, formerly Section 71, of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines.

On the other hand, Sampulna clarified that the three companies issued with mineral production sharing agreements or MPSA in the area have not been operational since 2004.

One MPSA will expire in 2023 and the other two will expire in 2024, he said.

The DENR is also currently reviewing the legality of the perpetual land trust given by the agency to Masungi Georeserve Foundation through a memorandum of agreement with former Secretary Gina Lopez.

The review is being conducted in consideration of certain provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and NIPAS Act. #