Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has approved the reclassification of four caves in the provinces of Abra, Quezon, and Albay for proper management and conservation.

The DENR, through its Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), Regional and Provincial offices, reclassified from Class I to Class II the Ganway Cave in Brgy. Malamsit, Penarrubia town and the Quitinday Cave in Brgy. Quitinday, Jovellar town, both in the province of Albay.

Sung Wan Cave in Brgy. Lawigue, Tayabas City, Quezon province was also reclassified from Class I to Class II.

Meanwhile, Palale Cave in Brgy. Ibaba Palale in Tayabas City was moved from Class II to I.

DENR refers to Class I caves as those with delicate and fragile geological formations, threatened species, and archeological and paleontological values.

Caves under this category may only be used for “mapping, photography, educational, and scientific purposes” due to their natural values and hazardous conditions. These are closed for ecotourism activities.

Meanwhile, Class II caves contain areas or portions with hazardous conditions and sensitive geological, archeological, cultural, historical, and biological values or high-quality ecosystems.

Caves under Class II can be used for guided educational tours and visits led by experienced cavers.

DENR OIC Secretary Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr. said the classification of the caves is pursuant to the DENR Administrative Order No. 2003-29 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9072 or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act of 2001 to assess the value of the cave and ascertain its appropriate use.

Under the law, the DENR is tasked to plan, develop, and implement a national program for the management, protection, and conservation of caves and cave resources.

“Finding the middle ground where the critical importance of caves to the country’s biodiversity and the critical role they have to the nation’s socio-cultural heritage meet demonstrates the distinct mandate of the DENR to secure the sustainability of the country’s rich natural resources and their benefits to our people,” Adobo said.

With nature-based ecotourism as a critical sector to the country’s tourism industry, Adobo pointed out the pandemic “has highlighted the crucial role the DENR plays ” in setting the standards on the development of country’s natural resources, like water bodies and caves, according to their beneficial uses.

“These initiatives set a road to more resilient and regenerative nature-based tourism practices that illustrate their natural resilience and, as a result, enable the public to enjoy these natural assets in perpetuity,” Adobo added.

Before their reclassification, the caves have been assessed for safety and supply of oxygen, high endemism and presence of threats and hazards, safety of its areas as potential ecotourism sites, and absence of hazardous conditions.

DENR-BMB OIC-Director Natividad Y. Bernardino said that concerned DENR field offices have conducted a re-assessment prior to the reclassification through their cave assessment teams to evaluate changes in the cave and cave resources.

“Caves harbor unique fauna, some of which can be sources of raw materials for food, while others such as bats contribute to pollination that provide food for people and other animals,” Bernardino said.

She reminded the public to follow the protocols for safe caving.

“Visit tourism centers and ask for Department of Tourism-accredited cave guides who will help in navigating caves safely,” Bernardino said. “Wear proper caving attire and follow proper cave decorum to minimize the impact of ecotourism on caves, as well as ensure visitor safety.” ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – through the Environmental Management Bureau–National Capital Region (EMB-NCR) – has observed a significant improvement in the water quality of Manila Bay, which was attributed to the continuing rehabilitation efforts in all river systems and tributaries within the bay region.

Based on the data of the EMB-NCR, as of June 2022, fecal coliform level at the Manila Bay beach nourishment station near the United States Embassy in Manila has decreased to 2,400 most probable number per 100 milliliters (MPN/100mL) from 7,100 MPN/100mL in 2021.

Two water quality monitoring stations near the Dolomite Beach also registered lower fecal coliform levels – from 7,300 MPN/100mL to 1,700 MPN/100mL, and from 10,200 MPN/100mL to 2,100 MPN/100mL respectively.

The four Metropolitan Environment Offices also reported a significant decrease in fecal coliform levels within their respective areas.

Fecal coliform levels have dropped in the Malabon-Navotas-Tullahan-Tinajeros River System from 3.7 billion MPN/100mL to 4.8 million MPN/100mL, as well as in the waters near the Navotas Fishport from 920,000 MPN/100mL to 9,200 MPN/100mL.

“We have seen remarkable gains in Manila Bay based on the water quality monitoring results. Rest assured that we will not stop here and will continue our work as part of the Manila Bay rehabilitation project,” EMB-NCR Regional Director Michael Drake P. Matias said.

Although the readings show that the current levels are still far from the fecal coliform standard of 100 MPN/100mL to restore Manila Bay’s water quality to Class SB level, Matias said the goal is a big challenge, but attainable through the collaboration of both local and national governments and the public.

Class SB is a DENR classification for coastal areas and waters where the public may safely engage in bathing, swimming, skin diving, and similar recreational activities.

“Reaching the 100 MPN/100mL standard is not impossible through our solid waste management strategies, geoengineering interventions, and with the establishment of our real-time online water quality monitoring system,” Matias said.

EMB-NCR checks 412 monitoring sampling stations scattered in various water bodies of Metro Manila.

Twenty-three stations, which include stations near the Dolomite Beach, Rizal Park Hotel, and US Embassy, are being monitored three times a week.

Meanwhile, 18 stations – including the Manila Yacht Club sewerage treatment plant and Aristocrat Restaurant monitoring stations – are monitored weekly.

EMB-NCR also conducts monthly monitoring of 133 stations, which include the Manila Bay river outfalls and Marikina River.

Together with the EMB-Region III and EMB-Region IV-A, it also conducts quarterly monitoring of 206 stations, which include the Navotas River Shipyard and Manila Bay shoreline.

It added that 32 stations, which include Estero de Marala, Estero de Magdalena, Estero de Vitas, and Estero de Sunog Apog, are monitored semi-annually.

EMB-NCR has developed and established an online water quality monitoring system on their website to allow easy public access.

Matias explained that the data system will provide information and awareness to the public through the current status and trend of water quality in the creeks and water bodies in Metro Manila.

It will also serve as the basis for crafting policies, plans and regulations to abate water pollution within the respective areas of jurisdiction of the local government units.

The ongoing Manila Bay rehabilitation project is in accordance with the continuing Supreme Court mandamus, directing 13 government agencies, including the DENR, to clean up, rehabilitate, and restore Manila Bay’s waters to make it fit for swimming and other contact recreation activities. ###

 

DENR celebrates Boracay Island’s recognition as one of ‘World’s Greatest Places’ of 2022

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) celebrates the inclusion of Boracay Island in the Time Magazine’s 50 World’s Greatest Places of 2022.

DENR OIC Secretary Ernesto D. Adobo Jr. said the recognition from the award-winning publication is a testament to the success of the Boracay Island rehabilitation under the Duterte administration.

“We are very happy and honored that the authoritative Time Magazine included the Philippines’ island paradise, Boracay Island, in its prestigious list and dubbed it as a ‘paradise reborn.’ This shows that the work we have done has borne fruit. Thanks to the political will of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Adobo said.

Time Magazine’s July 25-August 1 issue compiled 50 “top spots to visit this year” from all over the world. The nominations came from the American news magazine’s network of correspondents and contributors.

“As of February 2022, international visitors can finally revel in this revamped, recuperated, natural playground after what was effectively a three-year convalescence,” read the Time feature article on the 50 extraordinary destinations to explore in 2022.

Former President Duterte on May 8, 2018 issued Executive Order (EO) No. 53, creating the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) to “formulate, implement, and oversee policies, as well as strictly enforce national laws and local ordinances, to ensure the rehabilitation and ecological sustainability of the Boracay Island.”

Duterte extended the term of the BIATF through EO 115 in 2020 and EO 147 in 2021 to continue the rehabilitation initiatives until June 30, 2022.

Adobo, who was the former BIATF secretariat head, also attributed the success of the Boracay rehabilitation to the leadership of former DENR Secretary and BIATF chair Roy A. Cimatu, and co-chairs former Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and former Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

Former DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna succeeded Cimatu after the latter’s resignation in February 2022.

Adobo also thanked the active participation of BIATF member-agencies: Department of Justice, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, and Department of Trade and Industry.
He also acknowledged the contribution of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Philippine National Police, and other partner-stakeholders.

Adobo said that the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group, the implementing arm of the BIATF; the provincial government of Aklan, municipal government of Malay; and the residents of Boracay Island also contributed to the tourist destination’s recent recognition.

On June 16, 2022, the BIATF successfully held a culminating activity for the turnover of the Boracay Rehabilitation Program to the local governments of Aklan and Malay. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, has inaugurated the Cold Chain Innovation Hub Building in Taguig City on June 29.

The CCI Hub, which is a project funded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization-Global Environment Facility (UNIDO-GEF), is the physical platform of the Global Partnership for Improving the Food Cold Chain in the Philippines (FCC).

DENR OIC Secretary Ernesto D. Adobo Jr. said the unveiling of the CCI Hub manifests the “strong partnerships for the environment that result in successful projects that can provide sustainable livelihood to more Filipinos.”

“The CCI Hub will feature technology showcases from contributors around the world that will be used to train local technicians to upgrade their skills, increase their competencies and competitiveness in the job market, thereby, generating more green jobs in the country,” said DENR-FASPS Director Al Orolfo.

Orolfo pointed out that while cold chains are vital for the economy, it must be developed in a sustainable and climate-friendly way that is aligned with the country’s commitment to the Montreal Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

The event also showcased other technologies from industry contributions, such as Epta’s Hydrocarbon Freezer and Chiller Display Cases for Commercial Food Retail, Vestfrost Solutions’ R600a Solar Driven Refrigerator, and Magic-Aire Industries Inc.’s Selection of Tools and Machines.

These models are part of the initial batch of equipment, which shows energy-efficient and climate-friendly refrigeration with low to zero global warming potential, that will be showcased in the CCI Hub.

More equipment and refrigeration systems are expected to arrive in batches in the CCI Hub by September, all of which exemplify “next-generation” cold chain solutions. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Land Management Bureau (LMB), has partnered with the Land Registration Authority (LRA) to ensure a more accurate and accessible land information system.
 
The partnership aims to relieve the transacting public of the hassles of land registration through the use of an online data linkage system.
 
LMB Director Emelyne V. Talabis and LRA OIC Administrator Robert Nomar V. Leyretana on June 28 led the signing of a joint memorandum order (JMO) on the Procedural Guidelines for the Registration of Patents and Plans Approved by the DENR in the Registry of Deeds, and Other Related Matters.
 
This is in consonance with the DENR-LRA Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2021, which prescribed the full systems linkage and land data exchange between the two agencies in relation to DENR-approved plans and DENR-issued patents submitted for registration in the Registers of Deeds.
 
Talabis highlighted that the new JMO will provide a more coordinated, accurate, and accessible land information system between the DENR-LMB and LRA.
 
It provides the protocols for land-related transactions of the DENR and LRA, such as the processing and approval of survey plans, verification of lot status, and patent issuance and registration through the integration of the data linkage systems.
 
Former DENR OIC Secretary Joselin Marcus E. Fragada said the signing of the JMO is a land industry milestone as the DENR-LRA data linkage is a “progressive step in addressing the fragmented system of land administration and management in the country for a more secure, credible, and streamlined titling processes.”
 
“We have several land title-issuing authorities in the country, and these agencies have their own separate land information databases. With this fragmented setup of titling and registration, double-titling is prone to happen. This innovation will solve such problem and improve public service delivery,” Fragada said.
 
Through a software intermediary called Application Programming Interface (API), LMB’s Land Administration and Management System (LAMS) will communicate and exchange land information databases such as maps, survey plans, patents, and lot status with those from LRA’s Philippine Land Registration and Information System (PHILARIS) and seamlessly process land-related transactions securely.
 
Thus, the API will enable land processors to view land records and status in both systems, eliminating discrepancies and the current requirement for applicants to personally acquire clearances and certifications from the DENR and LRA offices.
Talabis said the implementation of the project is just a start, as the DENR-LMB and LRA are still looking at the other features of the LAMS and PHILARIS that can be linked.
 
“This JMO is a continuation of our journey towards a better land information system. I believe that this will lead to more reforms in the land administration management system, especially with digitization,” Talabis said.
 
She also shared that plans for full digitization of land processes are in the works and plans for implementing electronic patents or e-patents to replace the manual judicial form.
 
To test the efficiency of the system linkage, implementation will be piloted in the DENR-Region 4-A, Region 7, Region 10, and National Capital Region, followed by other regions in the succeeding years.
 
“A real honest-to-goodness whole-of-government approach with an interagency task force that will dovetail our undertaking would be very ideal. This is only one milestone. We will not stop with a partnership with one agency. Someday, all land title-issuing agencies will be our partners,” Leyretana said. ###