Press Releases

Despite hazy conditions over the past several weeks caused by the prolonged suspension of dust, dirt and other particles in the air due to thermal inversion, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), an agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), reported a general improvement in the country’s air quality, as measured by the amount of Particulate Matter (PM) in the atmosphere.

In its report covering January to June 2023, the EMB recorded an average of 40 ug/ncm (micrograms per normal cubic meter) for Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) in Metro Manila—slightly below the 43 ug/ncm posted in the same period 2022. Nationwide, the average amount of PM10 was at 34 ug/ncm for the first six months of 2023, marginally higher than the 29 ug/ncm posted in the comparable period last year.

PM10 are microscopic matter suspended in the air that are 10 micrometers or less such as dust from paved and unpaved roadways. While some of these particles can be filtered by the body, these can irritate your eyes, nose and throat. The 24-hour acceptable threshold standard level or guideline value for PM10 is 150 ug/ncm while the annual guideline value is 60 ug/ncm.

On the other hand, levels of PM2.5 in Metro Manila averaged of 20 ug/ncm in the 1st semester of 2023—still below the average 23 ug/ncm in the same period in 2022. Looking at the entire country, PM2.5 level averaged 18 ug/ncm, slightly above the 16 ug/ncm posted in the first half of 2022.

PM2.5 are particles that are 2.5 micrometers or less and can enter the lungs and the bloodstream. These originate from direct emissions into the atmosphere, such as forest fires, or the mixing of gases from factories, industries, and motor vehicles. The annual guideline value or threshold for PM2.5 is set at 25 ug/ncm while the 24-hour guideline value is 35 ug/ncm.

DENR Assistant Secretary and EMB Director Gilbert Gonzales noted that the volume of air pollutants in Metro Manila have significantly decreased over the past decade when PM10 was averaging as high as 70 ug/ncm in 2012, and PM2.5 at 36 ug/ncm in 2017.

“The improvement in air quality can be attributed to a number of factors such as changes in fuel emission standards for motor vehicles, increased use of bio-fuels and tighter monitoring of emissions from factories and other industrial facilities,” explained Gonzales.

As of October 2023, the DENR-EMB has a total of 134 air quality monitoring stations nationwide with capacity to monitor ambient air quality by measuring air pollutants PM10 and PM2.5, as well as levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide.

Optimize mobility to reduce air pollution

Gonzales pointed out that the biggest contributor of air pollutants were motor vehicles. In Metro Manila, he said concentrations for PM10 and PM2.5 peak and even exceed threshold limits for ground-level ambient air quality when traffic becomes heavy in major thoroughfares.

“But air quality varies depending on location, time, and weather conditions. It changes over time,” he added.

To improve air quality, Gonzales encourages people to avoid going out during the so-called rush hour, plan their trips during non-peak periods, practice car-pooling or ride-sharing and promote eco-friendly transportation methods such as biking or walking. Burning of solid and agricultural waste is also strongly discouraged. ###

A team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) visited Pag-Asa Island last October 23, led by DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga. The visit included a site inspection of the area surrounding Pag-Asa Island, including Sandy Cay 2 and coincided with the arrival of the M/V Panata research vessel of the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute for its bi-annual research expedition to the Kalayaan Island Group and the West Philippine Sea.

Loyzaga is the second Cabinet-level official to visit Pag-Asa Island in recent years, and the first DENR Secretary to do so. She was joined by other DENR officials, namely, Undersecretaries Augusto Dela Pena, Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, and Juan Miguel Cuna; Assistant Secretaries Gilbert Gonzales and Marcial Amaro, Jr., the respective Directors of the Environmental Management Bureau and the Biodiversity Management Bureau; and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Executive Director Teodoro Matta.

The DENR team was joined by Dr Fernando Siringan, Dr Jose Fernando Alcantara and Dr Rolando Tolentino from UP-MSI. They were met on Pag-Asa Island by Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command, and Kalayaan Municipal Mayor Roberto Del Mundo.

The DENR, UP-MSI, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, and Wescom teams discussed with the Mayor Del Mundo and the Kalayaan government officials plans to expand research and monitoring in Pag-Asa Island and peripheral areas. Scientific studies have established that the marine ecosystem in the Kalayaan Island Group is critical a critical biodiversity area, and is crucial for the sustainable supply of fish and coral larvae in the Philippines and the region.

“The discussion was on the environmental sustainability of the island and the research needed for understanding of marine environments and value of these ecosystems to livelihoods, food security in the Philippines and the region and the global need to ensure of the ocean’s climate regulatory functions. Given the implications, we need to actually determine an ecological boundary rather than administrative lines,” Loyzaga explained.

Loyzaga and the DENR team visited the research station of UP-MSI on Pag-Asa Island, where the team is the thick of field and oceanographic surveys as part of the period monitoring of the immediate environment around Pag-Asa Island. The research is partly funded by the “Philippine Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System” project of the national government. They boarded the research vessel for a site inspection and docked at Sandy Cay 2, an islet just two miles off Pag-Asa Island to check the crushed corals littered on the beach.

“This further facilitated our discussion on the partnership between the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau and UP-MSI in establishing a DENR marine research station on Pagasa island.”

The DENR Chief and Mayor Del Mundo also discussed possible interventions for the priority needs of the municipality’s residents and the sustainable development of the island. The discussion points included the carrying capacity and the need for water, sewerage, and solid waste management systems.

Pag-Asa Island serves as the hub of the municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan—the smallest in the Philippines with a population of 193, but the largest in terms of jurisdiction, with an area spanning almost 65,000 square miles. ###


Photo1a PR DENR Chief joins Pag Asa Island research expedition 10 27 2023.jpg web(L to R) DENR Undersecretary Augusto Dela Pena, AFP Western Command Chief Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, Dr Fernando Siringan of the UP Marine Science Institute, DENR Head Executive Assistant Joaquin Yulo Loyzaga, Kalayaan Mayor Roberto Del Mundo and DENR Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna
Photo1b PR DENR Chief joins Pag Asa Island research expedition 10 27 2023 web

DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga inspects Sandy Cay 2 with Dr Fernando Siringan of the UP Marine Science Institute

Photo1c PR DENR Chief joins Pag Asa Island research expedition 10 27 2023 webDENR officials led by Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga meets researchers at the UP Marine Science Institute on Pag-Asa Island
Photo1d PR DENR Chief joins Pag Asa Island research expedition 10 27 2023 webDENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga greets Philippine Navy soldiers with AFP Western Command Chief Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos and Kalayaan Mayor Roberto Del Mundo
Photo1e PR DENR Chief joins Pag Asa Island research expedition 10 27 2023 webDENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga and AFP Western Command Chief Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos meet with local stakeholders in Pag-Asa Island
 Photo2 PR DENR Chief joins Pag Asa Island research expedition 10 27 2023 web




As Filipinos flock memorial parks and public cemeteries in observance of Undas 2023, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau reminds the public to maintain cleanliness and use reusable or recyclable materials to generate less solid waste during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day this year. EMB also encourages cemetery administrators to set up enough strategically-located trash bins for different types of wastes, and to strictly implement waste-related local ordinances like regulating the use of plastic bags.

We should all be aware of the adverse impact of mismanaged wastes not only on our health but also on the environment and actively participate in the proper management of our wastes.

Here are some tips for all cemetery goers for Undas 2023:
• Use recyclable containers to pack your food--from sandwiches to meals and drinks.
•Use fresh flowers or potted plants without plastic wrapping.
• Reduce food waste by bringing only sufficient amount of food.
• Do not leave your trash behind. Clean as you go.
• Take time to throw trash in bins coded to segregate these accordingly.
• Do not burn your wastes in the cemetery.

The DENR-EMB wishes everyone a soulful and trash-free Undas.###

Reinforcing diplomatic ties that span over 70 years, the Philippines and Thailand agreed to strengthen cooperation in advancing maritime and ecological management and protection. Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga met with Tull Traisorat, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Philippines last August 7 where they agreed to explore areas of cooperation, capacity-building and knowledge-sharing with regards to sustainability, greening highly urbanized areas, and natural resources conservation.

The DENR Chief and the Thai envoy both agreed to push forward with the Strategic Action Programme for the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, a USD15-million project of the United Nations Environment Programme that aims to reduce coastal and marine environmental degradation in the region. Aside from Thailand and the Philippines, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam are also part of the on-going programme. It is the only agreed common vision among the participating countries on targets and actions for reversing environmental degradation trends in the South China Sea.

Other point discussed covered regional environmental projects in the pipeline that address management of marine protected areas, nature-based solutions to improve local community livelihoods and climate change adaptation, and the promotion of resource efficiency and circularity to reduce plastic pollution.
On top of closer bilateral cooperation on sustainability and environmental conservation, the two Southeast Asian have committed to bolstering trade and investment as well as military ties.

The Land Management Bureau (LMB), a staff bureau under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the DENR-National Capital Region (NCR) awarded land ownership to 88 Metro Manila residents through its Handog Titulo Program. DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga led the awarding of land ownership to the beneficiaries during the 122nd Founding Anniversary celebration of the LMB on September 29.

The Handog Titulo program is designed to expedite the processing of public land patent applications and their issuance to eligible applicants nationwide. The program aims to increase the distribution of land titles to combat poverty and stimulate growth and development. In compliance with DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2019-04, the DENR celebrates Handog Titulo Month every September, granting land titles to beneficiaries nationwide.

LMB issued 58 Deeds of Sale to beneficiaries from barangays Central Signal Village, North Signal Village, South Signal Village, Upper Bicutan, Central Bicutan, Lower Bicutan, New Lower Bicutan, and Western Bicutan in Taguig City. This was in accordance with Proclamation No. 172, series of 1987, which mandates the distribution of residential lots to qualified residents through sale in specific Taguig City barangays.

The DENR-NCR also recognized 25 recipients of Residential Free Patents covering lands in Ibayo-Tipas, Taguig City; Caniogan, Pasig City, Pembo, Makati; North Bay Boulevard North (NBBN), Navotas City; Sta. Ana in the municipality of Pateros; and five beneficiaries of Insular Government Property Sales (IGPS) in Escopa I, Quezon City.

Apart from the National Capital Region, the DENR—through the LMB and the Department’s regional offices awarded 1,578 beneficiaries of the Handog Titulo Program this September in other parts of the country. Recipients are from the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Mimaropa, Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, and the Caraga Regions.

The Residential Free Patent Act, or Republic Act 10023, empowers the administrative issuance of free patents for residential lands to eligible Filipinos without land titles. IGPS, on the other hand, involves the allocation of lands in the government's name for residential or agricultural purposes.

In her keynote address, Secretary Loyzaga emphasized the intrinsic value of land and its pivotal role in enhancing the lives of Filipinos, thereby reaffirming DENR's proactive commitment to safeguard, restore, and sustainably manage the country’s land resources for both current and future generations.

“It is my honor to hand out these titles to the awardees over lots disposed under Proclamation No. 172 located in several barangays in Taguig City as well as other cities in NCR. This significant endeavor is a vital part of our journey toward a more equitable and sustainable future,” Loyzaga said.

Loyzaga pledged that the DENR would persist in working to protect the welfare of Filipinos through effective land management, aiming to strike a delicate balance among competing interests in land use, ensuring economic viability, social equity, and environmental sustainability in decision-making.

"For us at the DENR, that means the management of our land actually impact the management of our air, the atmosphere, as well as our oceans. We cannot separate these three domains,” she pointed out.

LMB Director Emelyne Talabis, for her part, affirmed the DENR’s commitment to modernizing and digitalizing land services, completing the digital cadastral database, formulating policies to enhance efficiency, capturing data of all land records, updating the Manual on Land Survey Regulations, and studying amendments to Commonwealth Act No. 141, also known as the Public Land Act. ###