Press Releases

The removal of sandbars to clear the constricted section of Cagayan River, known as the Magapit Narrows, and the massive planting of bamboo along its bank will begin on February 2, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary and Task Force Build Back Better chair Roy A. Cimatu announced on Wednesday.

"This is the culmination of weeks of meticulous planning and detailed coordination to ensure that each of the dredging equipment is safely transported to the sandbar sites and that bamboos are grown at critical portions of the riverbank needing immediate measures to address stream bank erosion and instability.

Almost a kilometer length of the riverbank in Barangay Bangag in Lallo will be planted with 925 bamboo propagules during the launch.

Cimatu stressed that the sandbar clearing and growing of bamboos “are inseperable twins” that TFBBB has adopted as a strategy to protect nearby agricultural lands and crops from damage during typhoons.

On top of the six amphibious dredgers of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), a total of 40 dredging equipment are expected to be deployed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which consists of dump trucks, bulldozers, tractors, and scoop loaders.

The launch will formally open the first phase of the dredging operations, which entails the removal of three priority sandbars along the Magapit Narrows covering a total of 235 hectares with a volume of seven million cubic meters.

A total of 19 sandbars have been identified by the DPWH but immediate dredging was recommended for the three sandbars, which significantly hinder the flow of flood water to the Aparri Delta draining to the Babuyan Channel.

The three sandbars have a total estimated volume of seven million cubic meters, covering 235 hectares.

These are located at Barangay Bangag in Lal-lo town covering 11.4 hectares with 334,305 cubic meters of sand; Casicallan Norte, Gattaran that covers 89 hectares with 2.7 million cubic meters of sand; and Dummun, Gattaran covering 174.70 hectares with 4.04 million cubic meters of sand.

The planting operation will hire as laborers some 100 local residents who are beneficiaries of Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/ Displaced Workers program of the Department of Labor and Employment.

The dredging operation will include 48 laborers and operators trained by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

"This is whole-of-government at its best, with the support from almost all national agencies and the Cagayan provincial government," Cimatu said.

The DENR chief is expected to be joined by TFBBB co-chair DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay during the launch of the first phase of dredging activities on February 2.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba, Isabela Gov. Rodolfo Albano, Quirino Gov. Dakila Carlo Cua, Cagayan local chief executives Matthew Nolasco of Gattaran and Oliver Pascual of Lallo, DENR-Cagayan Valley Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan, and DPWH-Cagayan Valley Director Loreta Malaluan have also collectively worked on the programs. ###

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), recently held a nationwide public consultation with various stakeholders to identify single-use plastic items that will be included in the list of non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging materials or NEAP.

The NSWMC, chaired by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, organized the virtual consultation, last January 22 which was participated in by 169 representatives from local government units, private sector, and key stakeholders from civil society groups, including Ecowaste Coalition and Oceana Philippines.

DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns and NSWMC Alternate Chair Benny D. Antiporda said conducting the consultation is "a key moment on our work on NEAP," noting that coming up with the list of NEAP is anticipated.

"Rest assured that this NEAP will not be left behind," Antiporda said, acknowledging that the establishment of the NEAP list is "long overdue."

Antiporda expressed optimism over the formulation and adoption of the list of NEAP due to the renewed vigor to engage stakeholders in implementing Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's administration.

He also assured those in the public consultation that the NSWMC will remain transparent on the recommendations in the NEAP list.

RA 9003 provides that the NSWMC "shall, after public notice and hearing, prepare a list of non-environmentally acceptable products as defined in the Act that shall be prohibited according to a schedule to be prepared by the Commission."

It also states that the NEAP "shall not be prohibited until the Commission finds there are alternatives available to consumers at a cost that is no more than 10 percent greater than the disposable product."

During the public consultation, Reynaldo Esguerra of the Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) presented the results of a study conducted from October to December 2020.

The DOST is a member of the NSWMC.

The study titled "Findings on the Assessment Conducted on Certain Products for Inclusion in the Non-Environmentally Acceptable Products (NEAP) List" focused on the assessment of single-use plastic straws, commonly used for softdrinks, and coffee stirrers and its equivalent alternative materials.

Based on the rapid risk assessment conducted on four items, glass straws posed the highest score with 25 points, followed by metal straws, 23; plastic, 17; and paper straws, 10.

Esguerra said the higher the score, the greater the risk.

Meanwhile, a wood stirrer has a risk assessment score of 10, and 16 for plastic stirrers. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is looking forward to a greater collaboration with sanitary landfill (SLF) operators to improve the management of solid waste in the country.

“We always extend a welcoming hand to those sectors willing to work with us to solve our country’s problems particularly those that concern our environment and natural resources,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

“Solid waste management is a concern for all Filipinos and anyone willing to do a good turn is appreciated,” Cimatu said.

According to Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGUs) Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, the members of the Solid Waste Management Service Providers have expressed their agreement to work more closely with the agency during the 3rd consultation meeting at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City on January 22.

The pronouncement of the SLF operators to unite is a big step in doing their part to take care of the environment, he pointed out.

"This is business on your part. But we want to be assured of that when you operate sanitary landfill, you are compliant”, Antiporda said during the recent combined face-to-face and teleconference meeting with the SLF operators.

Antiporda instructed the SLF operators to submit regular reports to the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to monitor the trash disposed by LGUs in their sanitary landfills.

By doing this, he said, the DENR will easily determine if the LGUs are still disposing their solid waste in open dumpsites, which is strictly prohibited under Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

"In this way, we will not just solve the solid waste management problem of the country but we will protect the environment for the benefit of the Filipino people," Antiporda pointed out.

A total of 233 open dumpsites are still operating in the country. The most number of open dumpsites are in Western Visayas (48 dumpsites), MIMAROPA (35), Central Visayas (27), Bicol region (23), and Davao region (20).

Meanwhile, there are already 189 established sanitary landfills in the country. The top five regions with the highest number of sanitary landfills are in CALABARZON (36), followed by Cagayan Valley (35), Ilocos region (33), Northern Mindanao (18), and Central Visayas (15). ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is willing to extend its expertise to help in the rehabilitation of a mined-out site on Tumbagaan Island in Tawi-Tawi, a province situated in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

DENR Undersecretary for Enforcement, Mining, and Muslim Affairs Jim O. Sampulna said that while Tawi-Tawi is not under DENR's jurisdiction, the agency is ready to help BARMM's Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) for their environment-related initiatives.

Sampulna said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has specifically directed him to prepare in case the BARMM government asks for assistance.

"If they will seek technical assistance, we are willing to extend expertise, not just in mining but in all other aspects that BARMM needs such as in lands, forestry, biodiversity, and environment," he said.

Sampulna also clarified that the DENR does not have the authority to conduct mining-related operations in Tawi-Tawi, following public calls for the DENR to act on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's order to immediately stop the mining activities in Tumbagaan Island.

"However, the DENR fully supports the order of the President to suspend the mining operations in the said area for its rehabilitation," he stressed.

"BARMM is now conducting an investigation on the site to fast track the rehabilitation,” Sampulna said, noting that the nickel mining company has the primary responsibility to restore the area.

He further explained that the BARMM has its own environment office. "BARMM now has the MENRE, which is responsible for environmental initiatives in the Muslim autonomous region.”

Sampulna added that the MENRE was previously called DENR-ARMM which has its own Secretary. The office was under the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). ###

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has lauded concerned citizens who continue to rescue and turn over wildlife species to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) despite the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Let not this pandemic hinder us from helping and rescuing wildlife because this will help maintain the balance in our ecosystems," Cimatu said.

Cimatu explained that it is important to report sighting of abandoned or injured wildlife species in order to provide them the proper treatment and care.

"We continue to encourage the public to turn over wildlife species to us, should these animals be immobilized," he said.

The DENR chief issued the statement following the turnover of a rescued Oriental honey buzzard in Sorsogon last January 16.

According to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Sorsogon, the discovery of the wild bird in Barangay Caburacan in Castilla town was reported to them by a local, Romeo Ibañez, on January 15.

Ibañez said the bird appeared to be struggling to fly when it was found by his brother.

Due to the bird’s condition, Ibañez sought the assistance of Jeson Libdan, a member of the Makati Eagles Club, who referred him to DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda.

Antiporda immediately coordinated with PENR Officer Tito Migo to rescue the raptor. Personnel and wildlife handlers from the PENRO then personally went to the residence of Ibañez to retrieve the bird.

The rescued Oriental honey buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) has been transported to the Irosin Temporary Wildlife Rescue Center at Barangay Patag, Irosin, Sorsogon for proper treatment and care before it can be released back to the wild.

Also commonly known as crested honey buzzard, the raptor is currently listed as Other Wildlife Species under DENR Administrative Order No. 2019-09, which means the bird species is "not categorized as threatened."

DENR-Bicol Regional Executive Director Antonio A. Abawag echoed Cimatu’s appeal to the public to report wild animals that need to be rescued to proper authorities for proper handling and release to its natural habitat.

"Owing to the continuous information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns being conducted by the DENR, there has been a steady increase in the number of public turnover of wildlife species to our field offices," Abawag said. ###