Press Releases


The country’s largest endemic mammal gets the spotlight this month as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) joins hands with the local governments of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro in celebrating October as Tamaraw Month.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said that the celebration of Tamaraw Month is provided under Presidential Proclamation No. 273 of 2002, which designates October of every year as “Special Month for the Conservation and Protection of the Tamaraw in Mindoro.”

“The tamaraw is one of the country’s important flagship species and sadly, it is on the verge of extinction. The proclamation thus enjoins all Filipinos, not only Mindoreños, to protect and conserve the tamaraw as our legacy to future generations,” he said.

This year’s theme, “Tamaraw ng Mindoro: Pagdami mo’y inaasam ko, gubat na tahanan mo’y pangangalagaan ko!” reflects the commitment to conserve the endangered dwarf water buffalo, which has been classified as critically endangered in the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Paje added that the theme also reflects the government’s National Greening Program’s objective on resource conservation and protection. “We can only protect the tamaraw if we also protect its habitat,” he said, stressing that the tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) can only be found in the forests and grasslands of Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park in Mindoro Oriental, and in Mts. Aruyan and Calavite in Mindoro Occidental.

Month-long activities slated in celebration of tamaraw month focus on a Mindoro island-wide intensive information campaign, including a video showing in government offices, local cable television, and shipping lines plying the Mindoro route. Students and science teachers will also undergo separate day camps at the Tamaraw Gene Pool (TGP) Farm in Rizal, Occidental Mindoro.

The non-government Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (MBCFI) will also sponsor a teachers’ training on biodiversity, and a seminar on basic ecology and natural resource governance.

The tamaraw is a much smaller version of the carabao, and is distinguished by its V-shaped, backward-pointing stout horns which it shakes to signal aggression. Tamaraw population, estimated at 10,000 in the 1960s, has dwindled to the current count of 274, with the decline largely attributed to diseases, illegal poaching, and habitat loss.

The government established the Tamaraw Conservation Program (TCP) to address the causes of decline in tamaraw population. Its component in captive breeding allowed for the establishment of the TGP farm in 1982. Since then, however, all 20 tamaraws originally captured for the gene pool have died. Only Kalibasib (short for Kalikasan Bagong Sibol), which is also the first and only tamaraw born in captivity, remains as the farm’s lone occupant.

But with confirmed reports of breeding in the wild, the TCP has focused on its other components on management of wild population and habitat, and conducting information and education campaigns.



Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje instructed today the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), an attached agency of the DENR, to come up with a new protocol on dam management in the face of changing patterns of natural phenomena.

“I strongly agree with the position that we review our protocol on dam management. Climate change has caused every imaginable changes in our environment, from sea level rise to change in the weather pattern, frequency and strength of typhoons, flood course and high precipitation, which now constitute the ‘new normal’,” Paje said.

Paje said that the recent massive flooding that the country has experienced all point to the need to address not only the issue of coordination among concerned government agencies but also the decision-making process.

“The new dam management protocol should fill up all loopholes in coordination as well as in implementing emergency measures to avoid situation such as what happened in Bulacan,” Paje stressed.

NWRB Deputy Executive Director Nathaniel C. Santos explained that the technical working group (TWG) on Angat Dam operations is currently implementing the 2010 version of the dam’s protocol, originally formulated in 1998.

The protocol calls for NWRB to take charge of allocating water supply to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for the irrigation of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga, and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for domestic supply of Metro Manila, that is, if the dam’s water level is 210 meters above sea level (masl) and below, Santos explained.

However, once the dam’s water level reaches above the 210-meter level, Santos stressed that the National Power Corp. (NPC), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) implement another protocol.




A total of 45 public and private schools have entered the finals of the 2011 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools, organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart).

Fourteen elementary schools, 16 high schools and 15 colleges made it through the regional eliminations and will now compete in their respective categories at the national level. Winners will be announced during the exhibition-cum-awarding ceremony that will be held on November 16, 2011 as part of the National Environmental Awareness Month pursuant further to the Environmental Awareness and Education Law also known as Republic Act No. 9512.

EMB Director Juan Miguel Cuna said the schools’ response to the call for entries was “overwhelming”. “We were amazed by their creativity and their commitment in implementing eco-friendly practices,” he said.

Now on its second run, the nationwide competition aims to recognize educational institutions from the elementary, high school and tertiary levels with the best sustainable and environment-friendly programs and activities.

“We need to start teaching our kids as early as we can to take responsibility in safeguarding our environment. Schools are dynamic focal points of learning and powerful vehicles of change. Parents and teachers can work together to spread the wonders of living an environmentally-smart lifestyle,” Cuna stressed.

Smart Communication has joined the activity for the second year as part of its corporate social responsibility and community service program, Kabalikat. “Smart has been taking measures to practice environmental sustainability in our day-to-day operations and promote ecological awareness and preservation to our publics. We encourage the youth to do the same and we know we can do this by working through their schools,” said Ramon Isberto, Smart Public Affairs Head.

Isberto also expressed hope that the search will inspire more schools to go green and will influence participants to adopt an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

For the elementary school level, the regional champions are: Commonwealth Elementary School, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City; Lawig Elementary School, Lamut, Ifugao Province; Cal-laguip Elementary School, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur; Peñablanca East Central School, Peñablanca, Cagayan; Matain Elementary School, Subic, Zambales; San Isidro Elementary School, San Isidro, Batangas City; and San Mariano Elementary School in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro.

From Visayas and Mindanao, the regional winners include Iliranan Elementary School, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental; Simeon Ayuda Elementary School, Liloan, Cebu; Lomonon Elementary School, Palompon, Leyte; Kibawe Central School, Kibawe, Bukidnon; Luna Elementary School, Kapalong, Davao Del Norte; Panay Elementary School, Sto. Niño, South Cotabato; and Duangan Elementary School, Esperanza, Agusan Del Sur.

For the high school level, the regional champions are: Jose P. Laurel Sr. High School, Project 4, Quezon City; Baguio City National High School, Governor Pack Road, Baguio City; Sinait National High School, Sinait, Ilocos Sur; San Mateo General Comprehensive High School, San Mateo, Isabela; Digdig High School, Carrangalan, Nueva Ecija; Pedro Guevara Memorial National High School, Sta. Cruz, Laguna; President Diosdado Macapagal Memorial National High School, Gloria, Oriental Mindoro; and Camarines Sur National High School, Naga City, Camarines Sur.

Also eligible for the national competition (HS level) are Julio Ledesma National High School, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental; University of San Jose-Recoletos High School, Pardo, Cebu City; Don Geronimo B. Zaldivar Memorial School of Fisheries, Albuera, Leyte; Siayan National High School, Siayan, Zamboanga Del Norte; Balo-i National High School, Balo-i, Lanao Del Norte; Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, Matina, Davao City; Tulunan National High School, Tulunan, North Cotabato and Esperanza National High School, Esperanza, Agusan Del Sur.

For the college level, the schools that made it to the national level are: Ateneo De Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City; University of the Cordilleras, Governor Pack Road, Baguio City; Mariano Marcos State University, Batac, Ilocos Norte; St. Paul University Philippines, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; De La Salle University, Dasmariñas, Cavite; Palawan State University, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; Catanduanes State Colleges, Virac, Catanduanes; Central Philippine University, Jaro, Iloilo City; St. Paul University Dumaguete, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental; University of Eastern Philippines, Catarman, Northern Samar; Universidad De Zamboanga, Tetuan, Zamboanga City; Capitol University, Cagayan De Oro City; Davao Doctors College, Davao City; Notre Dame of Marbel University, Koronadal City, South Cotabato and Caraga State University, Butuan City.


Prizes for the national level include: P50,000 - First Prize; P40,000 - Second Prize; P30,000 - Third Prize and plaques of recognition for elementary, secondary and tertiary education level winners.

The said nationwide search is the Philippine initiative in support to the ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan (2008-2012) and the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

For details, please contact the National Program Secretariat at the Environmental Education and Information Division of the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR, at telefax number 9284674, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and website:



The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the Rotary International., South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC) and other stakeholder groups to plant 6,000 seedlings comprising of narra, goldern shower and pili species at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

Some 700 volunteers from the DENR, SLTC, the local government units of Calamba in Laguna and Sto. Tomas in Batangas, and the Rotary Clubs of Makati Rockwell and San Francisco del Monte took part in greening the five kilometer-stretch of the expressway, from Calamba, Laguna to Sto. Tomas, Batangas, over the weekend.

With the theme, Greener and Litter-free Tollways, the tree planting started at 8 o’clock in the morning. On hand to lead their volunteers in the activity included Jerome Vinarao of the RC-Makati Rockwell; Isaac David, president of South Luzon Tollway Corp.; former DENR Undersecretary Rolando Metin; DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo; DENR-Region 4A officials led by Executive Director Nilo Tamoria.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje expressed appreciation for the continuing support being extended by the various sectors of the society to the National Greening Program NGP), saying the program is the government’s response to international calls to address global problems like climate change and biodiversity loss with local actions.

“The NGP is designed to address global as well as local problems. By planting more trees, we are enhancing the absorbing capacity of our forests for carbon dioxide, which is considered the major driver of global warming and climate change,” Paje explained.

Paje underscored the significance of greening the country’s major highways, particularly the SLEX, not only to reduce air and noise pollution caused by motor vehicles but also to address global warming.

“The SLEX as well as the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) are our gateway out of Metro Manila. Thousands of motor vehicles ply these expressways every day, emitting fumes that affect not only our health but also our environment. The trees serve not only to absorb the carbon dioxide emitted by the motor vehicles thereby reducing the volume of the greenhouse gas reaching the atmosphere, but they also beautify the roadsides,” Paje said.

Carbon dioxide is singled out as the major cause of global warming that result in climate change. Trees not only use carbon dioxide during their food-making process known as photosynthesis, but they are also known to sequester carbon dioxide in their trunks.



Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje today said that the government is set to freeze the importation of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), a group of ozone depleting substances (ODS), in 2013.

Paje said the import ban on HCFC is pursuant to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, to which the Philippines is a signatory.

“Starting 2013, we are putting a cap on the importation of HCFC to 2,644 metric tons (MT) - the country’s average import of HCFC from 2009 to 2010,” Paje said.

From the base level of 2,644 MT, the HCFC import will be gradually reduced by 10 percent, to 2, 3796 MT by 2015; 35 percent to 1,718.6 MT by 2020; then 67.5 percent, to 859.3 MT in 2025.

From 2030 to 2039, however, Paje said the DENR will allow the import of the substance to only 66.1 MT annually, representing 2.5 percent of the base level, for the continued use of the servicing sector.

HCFCs are a group of ODS controlled by the Montreal Protocol and is last of eight ODS groups to be phased out pursuant to the Protocol. The other ODS that have already been phased out in the country include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) 11, 12, 113, 114, halon 1301 and 1211, carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroforms.

HCFC consumption in the Philippines is attributed to HCFC-22, more commonly known as R-22, HCFC-141b, HCFC-123 and blends of HCFC-225. HCFCs are commonly used as substitutes for CFCs in the foam blowing, refrigeration, fire-extinguishing, solvent and servicing sectors.

Of these HCFCs, Paje said the DENR will prioritize the phase-out of HCFC-141b because it has the most ozone-depleting potential (ODP) of 0.11 as compared with HCFC-22 or R-22 with an ODP of .055 only, HCFC-123 with 0.02 and HCFC blends, from .025 to .033.

It will initially cover the foam sector, particularly the polyurethane rigid foam in appliances, panels and sprays. A total of 364.34 MT of HCFCs is projected to be phased out under the project, which is being implemented by the DENR through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Paje said a total of USD2.26 million was granted to fund the project from the Multilateral Fund (MLF) and Japan.