The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), has recently launched a family-friendly web series to teach children about Philippine biodiversity and its conservation.
Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said that despite the pandemic, the DENR is taking steps to continue educating young people through the use of modern digital technology.
"We should not let COVID-19 hinder the education of the next generation. Our teaching methods need to evolve to adapt to the constantly changing situation brought about by this pandemic," Cimatu said.
He emphasized that caring for the environment and natural resources should remain part of the curriculum especially after some studies showed that there may be a link between negligence and exploitation of the environment and the pandemic.
"We cannot take any more chances and allow another pandemic to happen," the DENR chief said.
"Samot-Sari" is a five-part web series shown in DENR-BMB’s online platforms, featuring "engaging, relatable, and playful content, especially targeted toward children and youth."
It features its hero, Super Sari, who helps the children know more about Philippine biodiversity and teaches ways to conserve it.
"We also hope that parents and educators can pick up strategies or innovations that will help them engage the target audience about the environment in creative ways possible," said DENR Undersecretary for Special Concerns and concurrent BMB Director Edilberto Leonardo.
The concept of Samot-Sari was adapted from the framework of "Dalaw-Turo" which started as a stage play in 1989.
Since then, Dalaw-Turo took on many forms from rural theatres to creative workshops, exhibits, ecological tours, and environmental games. It also progressed into an open forum with a panel of experts.
The show runs for 20-40 minutes following a narrative and participatory format.
Each episode takes the audience into "an educational adventure with an engaging mix of catchy, sing-along tunes together with stories, arts and crafts, and animation, among others."
The BMB Youth Desk and Communication Education and Public Awareness Core Group are behind the production of the creative educational materials. ###
DENR 'environmental frontliners' rescue two wild birds during ECQ
The environmental frontliners of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were able to rescue two wildlife species in Metro Manila and Rizal province last week despite the limitations brought about by COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.
Led by the personnel of the DENR Hotline under the DENR Action Center and the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), a crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela) and peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) were rescued in separate operations last August 16.
The DENR Hotline received a report from a concerned citizen that an eagle has crashed through a house that was under construction in San Mateo, Rizal.
On the same day, a falcon was reported to have hit the windshield of a vehicle in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
Secretary Roy A. Cimatu lauded the DENR employees for their hard work despite the limitations brought about by the quarantine restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
"Even with the implementation of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), I am confident that our personnel, particularly those whom we call our environmental frontliners, can discharge their duties and show their commitment to their responsibilities," Cimatu said.
The DENR chief also gave the assurance that the department will continue to safeguard the country’s biodiversity amid the pandemic.
"We in the Department believe that our responsibility to take care and secure our wildlife does not end even with the implementation of the strictest lockdown," Cimatu pointed out.
"No lockdown can hamper our task to protect our wildlife resources," he added.
The rescued eagle and falcon were immediately brought to the BMB Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City for physical examination where they were found to be in good health.
After a few days of treatment for minor wounds, the eagle and falcon were released back to their natural habitat.
Cimatu encouraged the public to immediately report similar incidents and to support the DENR in caring for the country’s wildlife. ###
DENR receives recognition for its invaluable contribution to promote Filipino language
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been recognized by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) for its initiatives to use the Filipino language in official transactions, communication and correspondences.
"Ang Selyo ng Kahusayan sa Serbisyo Publiko Antas II ay itinuturing naming isang napakalaking karangalan at gagamitin naming inspirasyon upang lalo pang maiangat ang antas ng aming paglilingkod sa bayan," said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.
"Sa paggamit sa katutubong wika ay nagagawa namin sa Kagawaran nang mas mabilis at maayos ang aming mga takdang mandato at tungkulin,” Cimatu added.
The DENR is among 31 agencies that was conferred the Selyo ng Kahusayan sa Serbisyo Publiko during the KWF's virtual awarding ceremonies on August 31, 2021.
The Selyo ng Kahusayan sa Serbisyo Publiko is a yearly search that recognizes government agencies and local government units that comply with Executive Order 335 or Kautusang Tagapagpaganap Bilang 335 signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino in 1988.
According to KWF, “sinikap ng DENR ang pagpapalaganap ng kanilang mga programa gamit ang wikang Filipino sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalabas ng mga video tungkol sa pangangalaga ng kalikasan, at isinagawa ang iba pang mga gawaing pangwika.”
These include the translation of the agency’s mission and vision in Filipino, and its official correspondence including letters, memorandum, and other communication materials used in and outside the agency such as the DENR newsletter, brochures, posters, press releases, and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Form of its Legal Affairs Service.
It also cited the official DENR social media accounts for its use of Filipino in its posts.
In his message, KWF Chairperson Arthur P. Casanova said, “ang wikang Fiipino ay dapat na pagyabungin at pagyamanin salig sa umiiral na wika ng Pilipinas at iba pang mga wika sa ating bansa.”
“Sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng wikang Filipino, sa opisyal na mga transaksyon, komunikasyon at korespondensiya ay lalong mauunawaaan at mapahahalagahan ng sambayang Pilipino ang mga programa, proyekto at mga gawain ng pamahalaan na makikita sa buong bansa. Ito rin ay magsisilbing instrumento ng pagkakaisa at pagkakabigkis-bigkis, pagkaka buklod-buklod at magdudulot ng kapayapaan sa sambayanang Filipino,” Casanova said .
Cimatu added: “Nais ko ring anyayahan ang KWF na tulungan kami na mapalaganap ang edukasyon at impormasyon tungo sa pangangalaga ng ating kapaligiran at mga likas na yaman gamit ang mga katutubong wika sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa.”
According to DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and Supervising Undersecretary for the Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service Benny D. Antiporda, “ang parangal na ito ay magsisilbing lakas ng loob namin para lalo naming mailapit ang sarili nating wika sa ating mamamayan, mapausaping kalupaan, mapausaping kalangitan, o sa katubigan at isama na natin ang usaping buhay-ilang, basura, at pagmimina.”
“Ang lahat ng iyan ay maipapaliwanag natin sa kahit na pinakamaliit na Juan Dela Cruz ng ating bansa, kapag ang gamit natin ay sariling wika, at iyan ang wikang Filipino," said Antiporda.
The KWF is mandated to create plans, guidelines and research to ensure the propagation and preservation of the Filipino language and other languages in the Philippines.
It was established on August 14, 1991, by virtue of Republic Act 7104 or the Commission on the Filipino Language Act. The Commission is directly under the Office of President. ###
Cimatu calls on lawmakers to legislate wetland protection
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has urged lawmakers to acknowledge the importance of wetlands to combat climate change by having a legislation for the protection of one of the Earth’s most valuable ecosystems.
"There has been no single Philippine legislation that advances wetland conservation and its wise use. While there are already existing laws that contain provisions directly or indirectly promoting wetland conservation, not one deal specifically on wetlands," Cimatu said following the culmination of two DENR-led events on the conservation of peatlands.
"If legislated, the national law on wetland will serve as the mother law for all wetlands in the country including peatlands. This will address the gray areas on our existing policies relevant to wetlands conservation," Cimatu said.
Currently, there are two existing bills for wetland protection and conservation: a substitute bill titled, “An Act Institutionalizing the National Wetlands Conservation Policy”; and House Bill 7206 or the proposed National Peatland and Peatland Resources Act.
The substitute bill to HB Numbers 3460 and HB 8925 filed by Representatives Mujiv Hataman, Amihilda Sangcopan, Luis Raymond "LRay" Villafuerte Jr., Elpidio Barzaga Jr., and Eric Go Yap, was recently approved at the committee level in the House of Representatives. HB 7206, on the other hand, was authored by Cavite 2nd District Rep. Strike Revilla and 25 other legislators.
The substitute bill, to be known as the National Wetlands Conservation Act, will apply to the protection and conservation of all types of wetlands in the Philippines, including inland wetlands such as rivers, lakes, marshes and swamps, coastal and marine, and human-made wetlands.
In the case of human-made wetlands, the proposed legislation will apply to those with high biodiversity value, critical wildlife habitat, and are part of the migratory routes of birds and fishes.
In November 2020, the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) partnered with PLDT-Smart in raising awareness on the Caimpugan Peatland in the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Philippines also hosted the 6th Meeting of the ASEAN Task Force on Peatlands (ATFP) last June.
A peatland is a type of wetland whose peat soils consist of carbon-rich dead and decaying plant matter. If kept wet, a peatland can store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests combined.
DENR Undersecretary for Special Concerns and concurrent BMB Director Edilberto Leonardo said that the public’s role in raising awareness for the protection and conservation of wetlands including peatlands is crucial for the immediate legislation of the existing bills.
"Raising public awareness on both the importance and the threats related to the peatland and wetland ecosystems could be enhanced by gaining public support for the passage of the wetland and peatland bills and intensify the efforts for lobbying," Leonardo said.
The wetlands, he said, are one of the most productive habitats on earth which provide various direct and indirect benefits critical for human survival such as a source of drinking water, food, shelter, and livelihood activities.
It also plays an important role in disaster risk reduction such as flood control,” he added.
"If our legislators would see and know how strongly the public supports these bills, they will realize how important the passage of these bills are into national laws," Leonardo pointed out.
Leonardo said the public can show their support for the legislation of wetland-related bills by "using their social media platforms and joining public discussions so that they can attest on how these wetlands benefit us when maintained healthy and used wisely."
"They can even send petitions or letters of support to their district representatives and local government units to conserve these critical ecosystems," he said. ###
Cimatu gets praise from PRRD for his environmental protection efforts
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has received compliments for his commitment to protect the environment during President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's "Talk to the People" on August 26.
During the event, President Duterte also thanked Cimatu for his contribution to the country, particularly his efforts to rehabilitate Boracay Island and Manila Bay.
"In not so many words, talagang industrious ka. Typical of a military upbringing. Salamat sa contribution mo sa bayan natin," said the President.
"For so many years you had every chance to do it (clean up Manila Bay), was there anybody willing to take the problem by its horn? Si Cimatu lang, magpasalamat tayo," the President said as he addressed the critics of the "dolomite beach" in Manila Bay.
President Duterte also commended Cimatu for his eagerness to address the Manila Bay pollution.
In the meeting, Cimatu reported on the major programs of the DENR under the Duterte administration particularly the Boracay Island Rehabilitation, Manila Bay Rehabilitation, and the Task Force Build Back Better.
In 2018, President Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) No. 53 creating the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force and Proclamation No. 475 mandating the closure of Boracay for six months after the Chief Executive dubbed Boracay as a "cesspool."
Cimatu cited that after the Boracay rehabilitation, the water quality of Boracay was down to 50 most probable number/100 mL (mpn/100mL), making it fit for swimming and other contact recreation activities.
On October 26, 2018, Boracay was re-opened to the public, which according to Cimatu, strengthened tourism and generated employment.
The island also gained international recognition after its rehabilitation.
Conde Nast Traveller, recognized as one of the most distinguished and trusted authorities on lifestyle travel, named Boracay as "the best island in Asia" and one of the 30 best islands in the world for 2019.
After the Boracay rehabilitation, President Duterte issued Administrative Order No. 16 creating the Manila Bay Task Force in compliance with the Supreme Court mandamus to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and maintain its waters to SB level to make it fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.
Cimatu said the water quality in Manila Baywalk area has improved to 7,000 most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100 mL) in June 2021 from 5.75 million mpn/100 mL in 2019.
President Duterte emphasized that the task to clean up was "not an easy task," but Cimatu took charge.
"Gano’n karumi ang dagat when Secretary Cimatu embarked sa kanyang expedition to clean Manila Bay, it is not an easy task," the President pointed out.
Aside from the Manila Baywalk geo-engineering interventions and beach nourishment projects, Cimatu said the Manila Bay Task Force was able to partner with private entities to dredge rivers and esteros discharging into Manila Bay and construct a solar-powered sewage treatment plant.
The DENR also closed down non-compliant establishments and cleaned up the Baseco beach in Tondo, Manila. It also continues to address the relocation of informal settler families within the danger zones.
In the aftermath of the strong typhoons that hit the country in 2020, President Duterte issued EO 120 creating the Task Force Build Back Better (TF BBB) co-chaired by Cimatu and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar.
The task force was tasked to rehabilitate the hard-hit areas of Cagayan province, Marikina City, and Bicol Region.
Cimatu said that with the help of the DPWH, a total volume of 346,914 cubic meters was dredged from the major rivers of Cagayan.
So far, 32,836 bamboo seedlings were also planted covering 101 hectares for the stabilization of river banks.
Cimatu also cited the accomplishments in rehabilitating the Marikina River Basin where 67,425 cubic meters were dredged and a total of 8,652 fruit-bearing trees and bamboos were planted.
In Bicol River Basin, 33,872 cubic meters were dredged and 269,960 bamboo culms were planted.
The DENR chief also discussed the protection of forests to increase forest cover in the country and the planting of indigenous species in protected areas.
He added that TF BBB has provided biodiversity-friendly enterprises to communities and monitored threatened species.
Moreover, Cimatu highlighted that air quality in the country is within healthy and safe levels.
He added that DENR strengthened the Adopt-an-Estero/Water Body program to enforce the Clean Water Act, closed down all open dumpsites, and managed the healthcare waste.
On land management, Cimatu said that under the Duterte administration, patents are continuously granted to beneficiaries through the "Handog Titulo Program."
He also thanked President Duterte for the issuance of EO 130 as the mining industry is projected to help increase the fund source of the government.
On environmental law enforcement, Cimatu said the DENR is intensifying forest protection, anti-illegal logging operations, and enforcement against illegal wildlife trafficking despite the difficulty brought about by armed culprits.
Cimatu pointed out that the DENR's programs and projects are aligned with the President's priorities to build back better.
“Mr. President as you said… build back better, and for us build back better, build back greener, build back bluer for the water, and build back healthier," Cimatu said. ###