Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has scored a legal victory for criminal charges filed against three individuals who were caught dumping liquid waste into a canal in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City.

The Regional Trial Court Branch 27 of Caloocan City found Allan Lumanog, Ariel Olaje and Arwin Reyes guilty of violating Republic Act (RA) 9275, also known as the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, and sentenced them to imprisonment of six years and a day up to 10 years.

Roberto Sheen, regional director of the Environmental Management Bureau - National Capital Region (EMB-NCR), called the conviction an “environmental victory” and said that the penal provisions of RA 9275 were enforced following the procedure on custody of evidence under the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases which the Supreme Court promulgated in April 2010.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje also hailed the court’s decision and its timeliness. “This comes at a time when the government is aggressively pushing for partnerships with the private sector and local governments in cleaning our waterways, and shows how serious we are in going after violators of pollution laws,” he said.

Lumanog, Olaje and Reyes were reportedly caught red-handed by officials of Barangay Bagong Silang in Caloocan City emptying the contents of 46 plastic carbouy containers, which found to be liquid waste containing high concentrations of copper and zinc by the technical staff of EMB-NCR. Such compounds are classified as hazardous wastes under DENR Administrative Order 2004-36, which strengthen the implementation of RA 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990.

The barangay officials had acted on residents’ complaints of a foul smell in their area, and traced the smell to containers on board a parked passenger jeepney. This further led them to a nearby house, inside which was an open canal that eventually drained to a nearby creek. It was in the house where the barangay officials saw the accused unloading the containers.

The officials then made a warrantless arrest and turned over Lumanog and his companions, together with confiscated evidence, to the Caloocan police, who in turn contacted the DENR. Technical experts from the EMB-NCR then wasted no time in conducting an ocular inspection of the site where the three were arrested, and subjected the confiscated liquid waste to a chemical analysis.

In establishing the guilt of the three, the court, under the sala of Judge Victoriano Cabanos, ruled that the liquids indeed contained hazardous substances in toxic amounts, and that the act of discharging them were deliberate and planned. Cabanos also noted the compliance to proper procedures by the authorities involved in the case.

The court then ordered the EMB-NCR to confiscate the liquid waste for immediate and proper disposal.


Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has described the year 2011 as “a watershed year” for DENR’s legislative agenda on forestry following a commitment made by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri to work for the passage of the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) bill.

“With Senator Zubiri’s track record, there is a high degree of optimism at the DENR and among its partners that we can finally look forward to having a new forestry regime after years of subjecting the proposed law into 15 long years of legislative mill,” Paje said, noting Zubiri’s promise couldn’t have come at a better time than during the launching of the National Year of Forests (NYF). Zubiri, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, was the keynote speaker at the NYF launch last week at the Makiling Botanic Gardens at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, Laguna (UPLB), where he committed “to do his best” to have the Sustainable Forest Management bill sponsored within the year, and work for its passage into law by 2012.

The launch of the National Year of Forests in the country is based on Proclamation No. 125 issued by President Benigno S Aquino III last March 15, and in support of the declaration by the United Nations of the year 2011 as the International Year of Forests, with the theme: Forests for People.

“The President’s proclamation of this year as our Year of Forests is in keeping with our responsibility as member of the United Nations. As envisioned by the UN’s declaration of the International Year of Forests, we are taking this opportunity to undertake a national greening program that would engage the whole citizenry in bringing back the vegetative cover of our uplands, while providing them economic relief,” Paje said.

President Aquino has earlier issued Executive Order No. 23 which declared the implementation of the National Greening Program, which seeks to plant some 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide until 2016. He also banned logging in natural forests through Executive Order No. 23. Aside from the SFM bill, Paje likewise commended Zubiri’s insistence on taking the proposed National Land Use Act (NLUA) to a higher level of engagement with his fellow lawmakers both in the House of Representatives and the Senate despite daunting task of taking a leadership position in a very sensitive piece of legislation which, according to Zubiri, is “a very far reaching and wide-encompassing measure.”

“I promise you today, I will try my very best to have it (NLUA bill) passed in the Senate. And I thank the President for making the NLUA bill a priority measure,” said Zubiri before a crowd of 3,000, who made a two-kilometer uphill trek from the main stadium ground of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños as a show of solidarity for the NYF year-long celebration.

Zubiri likewise unveiled his plan to push for the Senate approval of the proposed bill on Magna Carta for Environment Workers that will protect and promote the welfare of environment workers, including non-government workers, volunteers, cops, soldiers and even lawyers.

“I will guarantee you that I will do my best to have this bill approved in 2011 ‘para by 2012, meron na tayong batas na Magna Carta for Environment Workers,” Zubiri stressed.

Under Senate Bill 2550 or the “Magna Carta for Environment and Natural Resources Personnel,” protection and benefits shall be given to the personnel of DENR, its bureaus, regional officers, and attached agencies, environmental units in the other government agencies and the ecological waste management department of the local government units including forest rangers and park rangers.


Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is urging a review of the Building Code of the Philippines in light of growing public concerns on the impacts of geologic hazards on the structural integrity of various infrastructures, including residential houses and buildings, in the country.

“The series of strong earthquakes that jolted Japan, Haiti, Chile, and New Zealand should give us an impetus to go revisit our Building Code to determine if it already needs some updating,” Paje said.

At the same time, Paje directed the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to work for the full integration of Engineering Geological and Geohazard Assessment Report (EGGAR) into the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System required under Presidential Decree No. 1586.

“Following the Cherry Hills landslides in August 1999, the DENR responded by issuing DENR Administrative Order No. 2000-28, to address the possible effects or impacts of geologic hazards on people’s lives and properties,” Paje said.

DAO 2000-28 sets forth the implementing guidelines on engineering geological and geohazard assessment as additional requirement for ECC applications covering subdivision, housing, and other land development and infrastructure projects.

This time, Paje stressed, EGGAR shall be considered a basic requirement especially for development projects located in areas prone to landslides and flooding, and those near faultlines and volcanoes.

Relative to this, Paje urged national government agencies and local government units using the Building Code as basis in the approval of land development projects to ensure that recommendations in the EGGAR are properly implemented and complied with during the construction phase.

The Philippines is naturally prone to various geologic and natural hazards like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and major mass movements because of its geographic, geologic and tectonic setting. It straddles the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire where most of strong earthquakes occur.


With almost all kids now on summer vacation, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is urging parents to make an effort of teaching their children on proper waste segregation.

“Throughout the year, our children get educated by teachers. This summer vacation, I urge parents to take over and teach their children household chores, including the proper way of segregating household garbage,” Paje said.

“In fact, parents or the older children could come up with creative ways to make waste segregation fun and even income-generating by selling collected empty bottles and old newspapers and magazines to the neighborhood junk shop,” Paje added.

Paje made the appeal as the agency begins its heightened campaign against the mounting garbage problem in Metro Manila by intensifying its information and education campaign with the distribution of easy-to-understand campaign materials in barangays in Metro Manila. “As the family is the most basic unit of the society, it is but a must for proper ecological solid waste management to start at the households,” said Paje.

The DENR recently launched a number of information materials on solid waste management at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Mandaluyong City, where Metro Manila’s local environment officers pledged to farm out the materials to households, in coordination with barangay officials.

During the launch, some 5,000 copies of “Ecological Solid Waste Management for Households,” “Makakalikasang Pamamaraan ng Pamamahala sa Basura,” “Bawasan Ang Basurang Itatapon: Magsegregate,” “Solid Waste Management Made Easy," and “Proper Segregation of Solid Waste,” were distributed to the participants, including the 12-page “Basura Monster” coloring book written by TV news personality Christine Bersola-Babao.

“We hope that we could even more effectively manage our wastes at home as we have made the information materials easy to understand as our primary goal is to make solid waste management understandable to all, even by little children,” Paje stressed.

Paje also called upon local executives to reproduce the materials as a step to widen and speed up the circulation of the printed materials within their respective constituencies. The move came at the heels of studies made by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) showing that Metro Manila’s daily waste generation (DWG) has risen to 8,746 tons from 8,400 tons in 2010.

“With almost a 24-percent share in the national daily waste generation of 35,000 tons in 2010, getting 15.5 million residents of Metro Manila to segregate their waste ‘at source’ or at household level will definitely have a cascading impact on the overall effort in transforming our people into a nation of into environmentally-proactive, environmentally-concerned citizens of the land,” Paje stressed.

This point was supported by MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez who said that the DENR’s intensified campaign for mandatory segregation shores up MMDA’s efforts to bring down Metro Manila’s daily waste generation by 50 percent.


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), with partners in the academe and civil society, will be officially launched tomorrow (April 27) the “National Year of Forests” (NYF) at the Makiling Botanic Gardens in Los Baños, Laguna.

DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, who also sits as NYF chair, said the launching is an offshoot of Presidential Proclamation No. 125 signed by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III last March 15 as the country’s way of lending its support to the United Nations (UN) declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Forests (IYF).

With IYF’s theme, Forests for People, Paje said the declaration underscores the paramount importance that forests play in the survival of the human race. “It is a synergistic relationship, forests provide benefits to man. Man must care for forests to continue being recipient of its benefits,” he said.

In the proclamation order, President Aquino said the declaration of 2011 as NYF is in support of the government’s five-year reforestation program “National Greening Program.”

“With Executive Orders 23 and 26, the Aquino Administration has made good strides in improving its green agenda. Proclamation 125 is an opportunity for President Aquino to highlight its resolve to move ahead in writing a new, brighter chapter in Philippine environmentalism,” Paje said.

EO 23 bans logging in natural forests while EO 26 declares the implementation of the National Greening Program. The presidential proclamation of NYF also called for the creation of the NYF Steering Committee, Technical Working Group and Secretariat and called on all agencies of the executive branch, including the private and public sectors, to take part in NYF-related activities.

Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco of the University of The Philippines At Los Banos (UPLB) opened the rites, with remarks stressing the need for action at all levels to be given by Filipino wildlife conservation advocate Kim Atienza, Kazuyuki Tsurumi of the UN-Food and Agriculture Organization and representatives for the Community-based Management Federation.

The program proper was preceded by mountain trek-trail-running-bikathon event within the botanic garden, an early morning food gala dubbed “Pamahaw sa Gubat” alongside a free “Hagubahob” concert in the forest.
Poster making contest, photo exhibit/contest and drawing sessions with environment-advocate visual artists Robert Alejandro also highlighted the preceding events.