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Los Baños, Laguna - Over 400 DENR personnel from various bureaus, regional offices, and attached agencies attended the first-ever Sylvatalks: A Forum on Using Science-Based Research results in Policy and Decision-Making organized by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau on June 17, 2022, via Zoom and Facebook Live.

ERDB Director Maria Lourdes G. Ferrer, CESO III, officially welcomed the participants and acknowledged the discussants, organizing committee, participants, and presenters of the event. She highlighted the importance of Sylvatrop as DENR’s official technical journal and the main vehicle for disseminating science-based research information on ecosystems. In her message, she emphasized using “research breakthroughs published in Sylvatrop and recommendations in the study as possible inputs in DENR’s policy and decision-making process”.

The DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Atty. Jonas R. Leones, CESO I, also acknowledged the relevance of the event towards the fulfillment of the mandates of the Department. “Sylvatalks aims to enhance our technical knowledge which is useful to the work on the ground, influencing decision-making and policy formulation, amendment and enforcement for the protection and sustainable use of our environment.” Atty. Leones said in his inspirational message.

Mr. Jon Alfonso P. Horvidalla, Senior Science Research Specialist at the ERDB - Coastal Resources and Ecotourism Research, Development, and Extension Center (CRERDEC) presented the topic on the status of microplastics in Boracay Island. Horvidalla recommended conducting the same study on the seafloor, studying the effects of microplastics on marine organisms, and making an inventory of land-source outputs.

Mr. Reynaldo Lanuza, Supervising Science Research Specialist of CRERDEC, also shared his study on the integration of vulnerability assessment (VA) in carrying capacity (CarCap) computations in Bilar, Bohol. Lanuza suggested expediting the application of VA and CarCap for protected areas, the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan.

Lastly, Ms. Minda S. Odsey, Center Head of ERDB - Agroforestry Research, Development, and Extension Center (ARDEC), delivered her findings on estimating water user fees in Busol Forest Reserve in Baguio City. Results revealed that households were willing to pay PhP 20.00 to P 56.00 per month for improved management of watersheds. Odsey then recommended strengthening the use of valuation or the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) as the basis for local environmental user’s fees and to maintain or improve functions of ecosystem services and protected area management.

Three discussants - Engr. Arcely Viernes from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Former ERDB Assistant Director Dr. Antonio Daño, and Mr. Alejandrino R. Sibucao, Jr. from the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) - shared their insights about the presentations, respectively. As experts in their respective fields, they also shared possible uses of the studies presented in policy formulation and decision-making among the participants.

In her closing message, For. Mayumi Quintos-Natividad, Editor-in-Chief and Chair of the Sylvatrop Editorial Board (SEB), emphasized Sylvatrop as a product of DENR and its attached agencies and its importance in communicating results published in the journal to formulate and improve policies using a science-based approach. /Allysa Marie C. Federio, TTD

For further information, you may contact:

Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau
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Telephone Number: (049) 536-2269

Editor-in-Chief and Chair, Sylvatrop Editorial Board
Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau
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Chief, Technology Transfer Division
Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau
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Telephone Number: 049-536-2269 local 222

For media inquiries, you may contact:

Media Production Specialist II
Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau
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Telephone Number: 049-536-2269 local 224
Mobile Number: 0966-557-9901

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has turned over the operations, maintenance, and management of a newly built sanitary landfill facility (SLF) to the government of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province.

Former DENR OIC Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada said that the completion of the engineered SLF serves as a “landmark accomplishment that will finally put an end to Marawi City’s long-time garbage problem.”

“The turnover of the 31.7-hectare SLF in Marawi City starts the ball rolling for the proper implementation of solid waste management in the historic Islamic City. We hope that the residents of Lanao del Sur province will make good use of it for the benefit of their health and environment,” he said following the turnover ceremony and unveiling of markers in Brgy. Malimono, Marawi City and Brgy. Kasanayan, Kapai town, in Lanao del Sur province on June 28.

Fragada said the facility is also the DENR’s contribution to the Comprehensive Marawi Recovery, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation Program.

During the event, DENR officials led by Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Michelle Angelica Go, who serves as the head of the DENR Sub-Committee on Land Resource Management of Task Force Bangon Marawi, signed a deed of donation and turned over a manual guidebook for the proper operation of the SLF.

Under the deed of donation, the DENR will prepare and implement a five-year solid waste management project for Marawi City.

It will also procure several units of heavy equipment, machineries, and tools for information and communications technology development.

The DENR will likewise be responsible for the cost of the fuel, service and maintenance of the vehicles, trucks, and heavy equipment, and their regular maintenance until the end of the project on December 31, 2022.

After the said period, the vehicles and equipment will then become the property of the Marawi City local government, and the expenses relative to the operation of the SLF will be at their cost.

The properties, however, will only be used for the purpose of the donation.

Go pointed out that the construction of SLF in Marawi City is a “result of collaboration and shared action among the officials of the DENR, Marawi local government, Lanao del Sur provincial government, and the Task Force Bangon Marawi.”

“When you do not have a sanitary landfill, where do you put the garbage? If you dump it elsewhere, it affects the environment. This emphasizes the imperative need for shared action among government, non-government organizations, stakeholders, and communities,” Go said.

Following the ceremony, officials of the DENR officials and the Marawi city government also planted pine tree seedlings to preserve the ecosystem near the SLF. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has commended Occidental Mindoro’s Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) for bagging the prestigious Blue Park Award for exceptional marine wildlife conservation at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

The ARNP, along with Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Islands Marine Conservation Area and Colombia’s Old Providence McBean Lagoon National Park, was selected by an international council of marine conservation experts, which was assembled by the United States-based non-government organization Marine Conservation Institute.

“We are very happy for this recognition bestowed on the Apo Reef Natural Park which is a testament of the hard work of our people at the Protected Area Management Office and all the stakeholders who have been with us in protecting and conserving this marine protected area,” DENR OIC Secretary Ernesto D. Adobo Jr. said.

He pointed out that the award will serve as an inspiration for the national government to strengthen its initiatives to conserve and protect marine protected areas in the country.

“This award is an impetus not only for our hardworking men and women in the field but also to the national government to boost the conservation efforts in our marine protected areas through our policies, programs, and collaboration with various stakeholders,” Adobo said.

ARNP Protected Area Superintendent Krystal Villanada and Philippine Ambassador to Portugal Celia Anna Feria received the award on July 1.

“As ARNP is now being acknowledged globally, we are looking forward to expanding our networks and collaborations with different organizations to ensure a sustainable ocean for the future generation,” Villanada said.

The Blue Park Award recognizes outstanding efforts by national government, non-profit organizations, marine protected area managers, and local communities in the effective protection of marine ecosystems.

“ARNP is the second platinum-level, the highest possible recognition, Blue Park Award recipient in the Philippines next to Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which was recognized in 2017.”

It joins a growing network of 24 awarded Blue Parks around the globe that have met the highest science-based standards for conservation effectiveness. ###

In celebration of the Philippine Arbor Day on June 25, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) led around 400 volunteers from various government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) in the simultaneous tree-planting activity at the La Mesa Watershed Reservation (LMWR) in Quezon City.
DENR-NCR Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan said the annual event serves as a platform for “professionals from different sectors of society to meet and work closely together on environment-oriented undertakings.”
She said that the activity highlighted the importance of partnership and volunteerism among career professionals in the national government agencies, including those in NGOs and the private sector, in implementing Proclamation No. 643 signed in 2004, which institutionalized the observance of Philippine Arbor Day every June 25.
The proclamation also underscored the need to declare one day each year for the conduct of tree planting activities to promote a healthier ecosystem for people.
This year, about 2,700 native tree seedlings were planted in three sites within the La Mesa Watershed.
Volunteers who took part in the event were from the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), Society of Filipino Foresters Incorporated (SFFI), and the DENR-Association of Career Executives (DENR-ACE).
Of the 2,700 tree seedlings, 1,700 tree seedlings were planted by volunteers from the PNP-Quezon City Police District and the Philippine Air Force; 650 seedlings by DENR-ACE and DENR workers from the Central and NCR offices; 250 seedlings by PRC-SFFI; and 100 seedlings by BSP.
The seedlings included Narra (Pterocarpus indicus), Molave (Vitex parviflora), Bignay-kalabaw (Antidesma ciliatum C.Presl), and Malakalumpit (Terminalia calamansanai).
According to DENR-NCR Forester Roel V. Galibu, the annual tree planting activity and those done by other volunteers throughout the planting season in the past years have contributed to the watershed’s improving forest cover, which now stands at 1,400 hectares.
Galibu, who has been overseeing the DENR’s re-greening initiatives in LMWR since 2015, said there are still 600 hectares of open areas that need to be planted with trees.
He noted that the DENR-NCR and its partner organizations have already reforested about 500 hectares.
LMWR has a total area of 2,659 hectares, 75 percent or 2,000 hectares of which cover its watershed area, while the remaining 25 percent or 659 hectares cover the basin area.
Former DENR OIC Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada lauded the initiatives of DENR-ACE, saying its efforts bolstered the DENR’s thrust to usher in a pervasive culture among career executives in the entire bureaucracy that embraces and advances the principles of sustainability in performing their duties.
DENR-ACE is composed of officials and employees who are Career Executive Service Officers and Eligibles.
“The support the DENR enjoys from DENR-ACE and those of other participating professional organizations in the service are an indispensable force in steering careerism in the public sector to take a steady course towards a more environment-oriented direction,” Fragada said.
“DENR-ACE has also contributed to the DENR’s strong partnership with other national government organizations,” he said, citing the issuance of PRC Resolution No. 1251, Series of 2020, as a powerful manifestation of the partnership.
The PRC resolution declares every 25th of June as PRC Nationwide Tree Planting Day and making it a part of the PRC Week Celebration.
The resolution provides that each professional who actively took part in the event will be given three-unit points as stated in Republic Act No. 10912, otherwise known as the “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Act of 2016,” an act which requires CPD as the requirement for the renewal of Professional Identification Card of all registered and licensed professionals under the regulation of the PRC. ###

The Philippines, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has signed partnerships with the Republic of Korea and Germany to pursue development projects on marine litter management and peatlands conservation, respectively.

The Enhancement of Marine Litter Management in Manila Bay (EMLM) Project and the Ensuring Sustainable Benefits from Peatlands through Protection and Wise Use (ESBenePeat) Project were formally launched on June 22, following the presentation of EMLM’s pre-signed Record of Discussions (ROD) and Grant Agreement (GA) for ESBenePeat.

“Please be assured that the DENR will value and remain committed to the agreement that it has earlier entered into with your respective organizations during my incumbency,” former DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said.

“These joint initiatives will certainly help in the attainment of our country’s goals and international commitment on climate change,” he added.

The ROD and the GA serve as the legal implementation instrument of EMLM and ESBenePEat, respectively.

The Republic of Korea will be providing a US$7.7-million grant for the implementation of marine litter management within the Manila Bay area.

It will be implemented by the DENR and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), in partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard.

KOICA Assistant Country Director CHOI Misun said that the EMLM “marks the start of the Korean and Philippine governments’ partnership in the prevention, reduction and management of marine litter,” citing international studies that the Philippines accounts for about 800,000 metric tons of plastic marine pollution annually.

She said that the project will help prevent plastic waste from coastal areas near Manila Bay from escaping into the ocean.

EMLM is a multi-year assistance to be implemented until 2025 to establish a marine litter monitoring system and strengthen the government’s capacity to address marine litter management, augmented with the construction of a US$5.7-million marine clean up vessel to be sourced from the grant.

The event also green-lighted the ESBenePeat’s implementation with a €713,537.23-grant from the European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany through the German International Agency for Cooperation (GIZ).

ESBenePeat, which will be piloted in the 5,487-hectare Caimpugan Peat Swamp Forest (CPSF) in Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in the province of Agusan del Sur and Sab-a Basin in the province of Leyte, seeks to mitigate greenhouse gas emission by reforesting, re-wetting, and rehabilitating degraded areas; and identifying and enhancing biodiversity-friendly livelihood practices for the communities, while ensuring protection of peatlands within the two areas.

DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Natividad Y. Bernardino explained that the country’s peatlands, estimated to cover some 20,000 hectares, are “remarkably higher carbon sequestration potential than any other studied forest types in the country” as carbon sinks “when left undisturbed.”

She pointed out that CPSF alone stores about 22.9 million tons of carbon.

“However, the Philippine peatlands are among the least known and understood ecosystems found in the country,” Bernardino lamented.

Also marking the event was a partnership launch between the DENR and the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the “Integrated Approach in Management of Major Biodiversity Corridors in the Philippines” which is now on its first year of implementation until 2027.

The project covers the Mindoro Biodiversity Corridor in Region 4B and the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor in Regions 11 and 13, with a total area of 2.3 million hectares.

The DENR-DA partnership is in line with the project’s aim to solve the increased degradation of habitats from deforestation, conversion to agriculture and expanding infrastructure development, pollution, invasive alien species, and climate change in the two areas.

The project, with a financial grant of US$12.2-million from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), seeks to enhance local biodiversity-friendly livelihoods and make the impact of the project be felt by communities and resource managers living within and around the biodiversity corridors.

This will be implemented through an integrated and comprehensive planning framework designed to mainstream land and natural resources management and biodiversity conservation objectives in the two key biodiversity corridors. ###