Press Releases

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna signed on April 8 a deed of conveyance on a parcel of land that will be turned over to the Department of Health’s main research arm - the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

“This deed of conveyance is the DENR’s simple gift and contribution for RITM to further advance their research work, and prepare to address the current pandemic and health concerns that may arise in the future,” said Sampulna.

The ceremonial signing of the deed of conveyance was under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Proclamation No. 1276 dated Jan. 6, 2022, which states that a parcel of patrimonial land within the Alabang Stock Farm, Muntinlupa City, will be for RITM building site purposes.

The 9,077-square meter land is adjacent to the current site of the health research facility in Alabang.

RITM Director Celia C. Carlos, MD expressed her gratitude to the DENR for facilitating the preparation of the deed of conveyance, and for allocating the land in their favor, noting that one of the facility’s problems was the lack of space.

“I wish to acknowledge the big help provided by Land Management Bureau Director Atty. Emelyne V. Talabis and her staff who guided and supported us in all stages of this journey towards RITM acquisition of additional lots,’ said Carlos.

RITM has been responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases for the last 20 years, including the first severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) outbreak in 2003.

It was also at the forefront controlling the AH1N1 pandemic in 2009, measles outbreak in 2013, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak in 2014 to 2015, polio outbreak in 2018, and SARS-CoV outbreak in 2019.

Carlos also pointed out that the additional parcel of land would help expand the facility’s healthcare services and technologies.

RITM currently houses 18 National Reference Laboratories in infectious diseases, which allow health care workers and professionals to perform confirmatory tests, and implement quality assurance. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna underscored the importance of building the resilience of community-based organizations (CBOs) in undertaking conservation and livelihood interventions as the country launched the Seventh Operational Phase of the United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP-7) on April 8, 2022.
 
The SGP 7, which is being implemented by the UNDP-Philippines, through the Foundation for Philippine Environment and with support from the GEF and DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), empowers CBOs including women, indigenous peoples, and youth through community-led projects that aim to achieve global environmental benefits while improving livelihood and reducing poverty.
 
Since 1992, SGP has implemented 26,429 projects in 136 countries.
 
In the Philippines, over US$11 million in grants have been distributed over the past 25 years.
 
With the launch of the SGP-7, Sampulna said that a more holistic landscape strategy will be implemented for the project sites in Aurora province, Catubig Watershed in Northern Samar, Calamianes Group of Islands in Palawan, and Siargao Protected Landscape and Seascape in Surigao del Norte.
 
“It is urgent that we strengthen the resilience of our CBOs as they are the frontliners in undertaking conservation and livelihood interventions. In this period of climate change and biodiversity degradation impacts on communities and ecosystems, a more integrated effort of weaving together interventions is essential,” Sampulna said.
 
SGP-7 targets to support community organizations in enhancing the socio-ecological resilience of the four target landscapes through community initiatives to produce global environmental and sustainable development benefits.
 
The initiatives will be identified and implemented to support landscape level strategies formulated by multi-stakeholder groups composed of representatives of landscape communities, local government authorities, non-government organizations (NGOs), and the private sector.
 
The 7th operational phase also targets to effect change towards strengthening governance systems even for disaster response, recovery and resilience building.
 
UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran said.
 
“These devastating events exacerbate the already limiting and unpredictable situation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The promising changes being offered by SGP-7 are expected to effect change towards strengthening governance systems even for disaster response, recovery, and building resilient communities,” Ramachandran pointed out.
 
The strategies that will be used for implementing the program will include expanding the coverage of protection mechanisms over actual Key Biodiversity Areas and critical habitats; maximizing the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems or E-NIPAS law; and increasing the support for indigenous peoples’ socio-cultural values about biodiversity through support for local community managed areas.
 
 Likewise, Building Civil Society Organizations-Peoples Organizations-Government partnerships; increasing stakeholder participation; biodiversity-friendly and climate-resilient livelihoods and enterprises; and capacity building of communities and local government units are also included as strategies for implementation.
 
The program is expected to benefit NGOs, the academe, indigenous peoples, community groups, local governments, other sector agencies, and private sectors. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continued to recognize the significant role of women as a vital source of information in developing effective early warning messages and systems to reduce disaster risks from climate change.

Speaking at the webinar titled “Gender and Climate Change in Addressing Impacts of Climate-related Risks on Women,” Director Elenida Basug of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Climate Change Service and concurrently Director of the DENR Gender and Development Office highlighted the need to mainstream women-led early warning messages and systems to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women in climate change.

“Because women are more dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods than men, this makes them a goldmine for valuable information for an early warning system that builds community resilience and their adaptation capacities to climate-related disasters,” Basug said during the DENR-hosted webinar on March 30, as part of the celebration of the 2022 National Women’s Month with the theme, “Women with Disabilities: Life is Enjoyed, Least of All Endured.”

However, Basug lamented that women’s voices are “often absent from the design and decision-making around early warning systems,” and as a result, do not have their needs adequately met.

“Women tend to have fewer resources to cope with climate change-induced disruptions,” Basug stressed, noting that the roles they play in communities as primary caregivers and providers of food and fuel “make them more vulnerable when flooding and drought occur.”

The United Nations, through its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), estimates that 80 percent of people who have been displaced by climate change are female.

Basug explained that women, whose livelihoods are more dependent on natural resources than men, face a far greater risk of being pushed into poverty.

She added that women are often placed at greater risk due to lack of timely and relevant information about imminent hazards and a lack of equal access to economic, political, and community internal resources.

She said the DENR is making efforts to address this disparity and is gradually moving to include women’s voices in the policy and planning on the responses to climate change resiliency and adaptability.

The Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP) and Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Programs (CMEMP) are two of the DENR’s 10 priority programs where mainstreaming gender responsive initiatives are salient.

Both the ENGP and CMEMP put emphasis on improving environmental services that women rely on and capacitate their involvement on a par with those of men, with explicit focus on the socio-economic benefits of these programs in terms of gender equity between men and women.

Salient in ENGP’s and CMEMP’s thrust is to promote enhanced climate change mitigation and adaptation capabilities of women by giving them opportunities to engage in sustainable livelihood activities that support food security, environmental stability and biodiversity conservation.

According to Basug, the level of social enterprise to produce sustainable livelihood practices in ENGP sites like forest plantation and forest parks have increased because of higher water-holding capacities in the uplands and reduced downstream flooding and soil erosion.

Meanwhile, equitable management of protected areas where women are involved are ensured in CMEMP areas.

The celebration also showcased the rights and privileges of senior citizens and persons with disabilities in webinars discussed by Commissioner Franklin Quijano of the National Council of Senior Citizens and Rizalio Sanchez of the Philippine Association of Citizens with Developmental and Learning Disabilities

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued an administrative order (AO) that marks a wide-ranging step to make the production and trade of wood charcoal sustainable and environmentally friendly while continuing to support the livelihood of Filipinos.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the AO responds to the urgent need for improved governance on wood-based fuel.

“It is seen to bring the wood charcoal sector into the formal economy and arrest degradation of forest lands due to illegal cutting of trees to supply increasing demand for wood charcoal brought about by the rising prices of liquefied petroleum gas and electricity,” he stressed.

In issuing DENR Administrative Order 2022-05, Sampulna said this primarily ensures that raw materials used in producing wood charcoal are derived from legal sources.

Under the directive, a charcoal producer is required to secure a Wood Charcoal Production Permit (WCPP) which has a three-year effectivity, renewable for the same period. The renewal application should be filed 60 days prior to the WCPP expiration.

The AO also allows for individual charcoal producers to organize themselves into cooperatives and be issued with the WCPP in the cooperative's name.

WCPP applications are to be filed with and approved by the nearest Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) or implementing Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) which has jurisdiction over the area.

Applicants must submit a notarized Wood Charcoal Supply Contract (WCSC) to be approved by the concerned CENRO/Implementing PENRO, which details the volume and types of raw materials to be supplied to a WCPP.

However, the AO limits the sources of the raw materials, “except all mangrove species,” to forest lands covered with DENR-issued cutting permits; tree plantations covered with DENR-issued tenurial instruments; Socialized and Industrial Forest Management Agreements; ancestral lands covered by Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title with DENR-issued cutting permits; wood processing plants with DENR permits; private tree plantations covered by Certificate of Tree Plantation Ownership and Private Tree Plantation Registration; private/titled lands with valid DENR-issued cutting permits; and private yard wastes.

 

 

A key feature of the measure is to encourage interested wood charcoal production applicants and holders of tenure and/or wood raw materials and its derivatives to source their wood charcoal raw materials only from planted trees for fuelwood production; harvesting wastes (e.g. tops and branches); pruning and derivatives; processing wastes (e.g., wood wastes/trimmings from wood processing plants); and all other accumulated raw materials waste and residues generated.

The AO also requires traders or middlemen engaged in the selling of wood charcoal to secure a Wood Charcoal Transport Permit, which will only be effective per shipment from point to point and shall be accompanied by the original copies of the permit and Official Receipt/Sales Receipts/Acknowledgement Receipts.

However, the movement of wood charcoal within municipalities/cities “shall not be required of WCTP.”

It also calls for the use of improved and efficient charcoal kilns that minimizes the environmental impacts of charcoal production.

The Forest Management Bureau, in collaboration with the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, Environmental Management Bureau, and the Forest Products Research and Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology will provide technical assistance in the setting up and simulation of such structure, within one year after the approval of the order.###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has lauded San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for dredging almost 40 percent of silt from Pasig River in just nine months since the start of the dredging project in June 2021.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim Sampulna recognized the effort of the diversified conglomerate after dredging 321,670 cubic meters of silt and sand, out of the target 836,659 cubic meters, from Pasig River as of March 31.

“We acknowledge the firm commitment of SMC to finish nearly one third of its target to dredge silt and heavy materials out of Pasig River in just a matter of nine months since the project started in June last year,” Sampulna said.

DENR and SMC have signed a memorandum of agreement on June 9, 2021 for the implementation of the P2-billion Pasig River Dredging Project.

The project aims to reduce flooding in Metro Manila with increased hydraulic capacity of the river, deepen shallow waters to improve shipping vessel transport, and remove debris and garbage from the river to revive marine life.

In a report to the DENR last March 31, SMC bared that dredging operations are ongoing in three out of five priority sectors.

Around 134,500 metric tons of silt have been dredged from Sector 2 Paco to San Miguel in Manila including Malacañang area.

Meanwhile, around 147,500 metric tons have been dredged in Sector 3—Pandacan/Sta. Mesa also in Manila including San Juan River junction.

Around 39,670 metric tons have been dredged in Sector 4, covering C-5 to Marikina River junction in Pasig City.

The dredging activities in Sectors 1 and 5, covering Manila Bay to Ayala Bridge and C-5/Marikina to Laguna Lake areas, have yet to start as these sectors have the largest volume of target silt at 213,347 cubic meters and 253,969 cubic meters, respectively.

Sampulna also acknowledged the extent of the remaining volume to be dredged and expressed confidence in SMC’s capacity to complete the project.

“We still have a long way to go to clear the river of silt and to widen it. But with the sufficient resources and top-quality equipment of SMC, they will be able to finish this project in no time,” Sampulna said.

SMC is awaiting additional equipment for expansion of its dredging operations in April. ###