Press Releases

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has transferred the authority to issue permits for the cutting and relocation of naturally-growing trees for areas and activities that are exempted from Executive Order (EO) 23 to its regional offices.

EO 23, signed in 2011, strictly prohibits the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests.

Under DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2021-11, issued on May 19, 2021, Cimatu transfers the authority to issue tree-cutting and earth-balling permits from the Undersecretary for Field Operations at the DENR Central Office to the 16 regional executive directors nationwide.

He said the DAO aims to streamline the procedures and approval process involving naturally-grown trees in private lands, including those in public or forest lands with approved tenure agreements like Forest Land Use Agreement, Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism purposes, Special Land Use Permit, and Mineral Production and Sharing Agreement with approved Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program.

"We have simplified the process of applying for cutting permits and made it more accessible to private landowners and holders of DENR-issued land tenurial instruments where there are naturally-growing trees that may not need to be cut but only needs to be trimmed," Cimatu explained.

He pointed out that the move will ensure that no natural-growing trees, or trees that are already grown in an area not planted by its owner or occupant, are unnecessarily cut down or neglected.

"This is especially important in urban areas where we are promoting green spaces," Cimatu said.

DENR Assistant Secretary and concurrent Forest Management Bureau (FMB) Director Marcial Amaro Jr. said the directive will enhance the agency's processing of forestry-related permits and other regulatory instruments in compliance with Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

"Other similar orders have already been issued by Cimatu such as the decentralization in the issuance of permits for wood processing plants and importation of wood through DAO No. 2021-05 and DAO 2021-06, respectively which seeks to augment local sources of wood and enable wood-based industries like the furniture-making and trading sectors to generate employment and income," Amaro said.

Under DAO 2011-11, the applicant must secure a Certification of No Objection or CNO to the cutting of trees from the barangay captain concerned.

The certification should be issued by the concerned municipal mayor or all barangay chiefs if the trees to be cut are within more than one barangay.

If the affected trees are within more than one municipality or city, the said certification should come either from the provincial governor or all city or municipal mayors concerned.

The CNO requirement is both for private and public land.

Furthermore, DAO 2021-11 states that CNOs are to be issued by a local agrarian reform officer if the trees to be cut are within areas covered by a Certificate of Land Ownership Award or CLOA.

Cimatu has ordered the DENR field offices to conduct an inventory of all naturally-growing trees within the area concerned both in private and public lands that will be covered by the Tree Cutting Permit applications.

Also, the inventory report "must be subscribed and sworn to by all members of the Inventory Team."

The directive likewise prescribes the rate of forest charges based on the volume and species of trees cited in the order.

It also states the schedule of the effectivity of the cutting permits based on the volume of trees to be cut ranging from 50 days but not to exceed one year. ###

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary and Task Force Build Back Better (TF BBB) chairperson Roy A. Cimatu is pushing for the early completion of the removal of sandbars in Bicol River from 2025 to 2023, and in the Cagayan River from 2028 to 2025.

To accomplish these, Cimatu requested the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for additional P1.45 billion and P3.2 billion funding assistance to purchase new equipment for the dredging operations in Bicol and Cagayan River Basins, respectively.

Part of the proposed funding for the Cagayan River dredging activity is for the restoration and replacement of 40 floodgates along the Naga-Calabanga embankment worth P64.1 million.

Cimatu said the TF BBB's achievements in the restoration of the river basins of Cagayan, Bicol, and Marikina are proof that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) can finish the project faster and more cost-effective than by hiring private contractors.

"This is really a big policy shift and I hope the next administration will continue this. They cannot afford not to continue this," Cimatu said.

"You can just imagine if we bid these out to contractors, baka wala pa sa kalahati nagagawa natin ngayon," he added.

Cimatu, who likewise heads the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction said that while priority funding should be made to address the pandemic crisis, "priority should likewise be given to equally important efforts on climate change and disaster mitigation programs meant to assure the country of its food security and prevent, or at least minimize loss of precious infrastructures due to flooding."

"If we invest now, the best option is to already have these pieces of equipment this year," Cimatu said noting the TF BBB’s initiatives "will go a long way in accelerating the recovery of the country from the social and economic disruptions from the global pandemic."

The Cagayan River Dredging Plan consists of eight phases with projected completion within the first quarter of 2025 with the additional equipment. The undertaking, however, will likely extend until 2028 if limited to DPWH’s existing fleet.

Meanwhile, the Bicol River Dredging Plan is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2025 using the present fleet of DPWH equipment but can be shortened by two years if request for additional equipment is granted. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has welcomed the signing of Republic Act (RA) 11573, which will significantly improve the land titling application processes for alienable and disposable (A&D) agricultural lands.

"The DENR gladly welcomes the passage of RA 11573 into law. We have been aiming for this in order to relieve farmers on some of the requirements from existing land laws and accelerate titling in the country," DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.

The DENR-Legislative Affairs Group and DENR-Land Management Bureau (LMB), together with the public advocacy organization Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), have been pushing for the streamlining of land processing requirements since 2020.

"Securing a land title goes beyond land ownership. It elevates the lives of our farmers through the increase in land productivity and promotes investments," Cimatu added.

For her part, DENR-LMB Director Emelyne V. Talabis said the new law gives importance to the completion of agricultural land titling in the country at a faster pace.

"With this, we foresee potential untitled agricultural lands to be titled in the next 10 years," she said.

Talabis said the DENR-LMB, together with the FEF, is set to submit the 10-year Completion of the National Land Titling Program to the House of Representatives this month.

The DENR is currently drafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for RA 11573 to ensure that it would be signed by Cimatu within 60 days from its official effectivity date.

"Farmers will soon be able to apply for an agricultural free patent without a specific acceptance period once RA 11573 takes effect," Talabis pointed out.

"We advise applicants to await the issuance of the IRR before applying," she added.

On July 16, 2021, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed RA 11573, or the Act improving the confirmation process for imperfect land titles.

It amended Commonwealth Act No. 141, also known as the Public Land Act, and Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree.

RA 11573 aims to "simplify, update and harmonize similar and related provisions of land laws in order to simplify and remove ambiguity in its interpretation and implementation."

The law gets rid of the due date for the filing of applications for free patent and judicial confirmation, and reduces the required period of possession to 20 years.

It also mandates the Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENRO) and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENRO) to process free patent applications for 120 days.

Furthermore, it mandates the PENRO, DENR Regional Director, and the DENR Secretary to approve the applications within five days, depending on the size of the land. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has held consultations with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the regulation of the buying and selling of chainsaws through online platforms.

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu emphasized that buying and selling of chainsaws online is not permitted by the DENR under Republic Act (RA) 9175 or the Chainsaw Act of 2002.

"The public is advised to buy chainsaws only from DENR-authorized dealers and have them registered with the nearest DENR office. Those purchased from unauthorized sources like online platforms are deemed illegal and subject to confiscation even without a warrant," Cimatu warned.

Cimatu said the restrictions enforced by the government on the possession and use of chainsaws are similar to those imposed on the selling and ownership of guns as possession of unregistered chainsaws is a criminal offense and carries a penalty of imprisonment and fines.

The Chainsaw Act of 2002 requires the registration of chainsaws with the DENR, violation of which carries a penalty of six years in prison or a fine of P30,000.

"Concerned citizens are urged to report suspected illegal possession, use or sale of unregistered chainsaws," Cimatu appealed.

DENR Assistant Secretary and Forest Management Bureau (FMB) Acting Director Marcial Amaro Jr. said the DENR-FMB is crafting "workable options to prohibit online selling of chainsaws through a Joint Administrative Order in view of the requirements of RA 9175 and DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2003-24 on sale, ownership, and use of chainsaws."

DAO 2003-24 contains the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Chainsaw Act, which prescribes who can sell, manufacture, and own chainsaws.

Under DAO 2003-24, only chainsaws bought from DENR-accredited distributors, importers, and sellers are allowed to be registered, and outright confiscation of illicit chainsaws and unregistered sawmills can be done "even without a warrant."

The DENR can issue permits to possess and/or use a chainsaw for the felling and/or cutting of trees, timber, and other forest or agro-forest products to any applicant who has a subsisting timber license agreement, production sharing agreement, or similar agreements, or a private land timber permit; is an orchard and fruit tree farmer; is an industrial tree farmer; is a licensed wood processor and the chainsaw shall be used for the cutting of timber that has been legally sold to the said applicant; or shall use the chainsaw for a legal purpose.

The DAO also prescribes the measures chainsaw owners and sellers should observe when renewing their two-year registration, including their reselling and even leasing or lending of their equipment.

As of 2020, DENR-FMB has confiscated 2,970 chainsaws and other implements, including 1,646 units of conveyances used to transport undocumented forest products.

In Metro Manila, the DENR-National Capital Region has so far confiscated 22 chainsaws—12 in Quezon City; seven in Caloocan; two in Malabon, and one in Parañaque. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has reiterated its call for local government units (LGUs) to practice proper segregation at source in managing the disposal of solid wastes.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu issued this call after reports of negligent disposal of solid wastes have reached the agency.

“It has come to our attention that after closing the illegally operating dumpsites, there are LGUs that are not properly disposing of their solid waste,” Cimatu pointed out, noting reports that some garbage has been left uncollected.

“We are warning these LGUs to seriously manage their wastes. Or else face consequences of violating Republic Act 9003,” added Cimatu.

Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 states that the collection of non-recyclable materials and special waste is the responsibility of the municipality or city.

Segregation and collection of solid waste shall be conducted at the barangay level. Waste shall be sorted according to type--biodegradable, compostable, and recyclables.

On the other hand, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGU Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, who led the majority of the closures of illegally operating dumpsites, said the DENR will not tolerate negligence of solid waste management and will not hesitate to call out erring LGUs.

He cited the closure of a garbage transfer station in Cebu City last month for failure to transfer garbage to a sanitary landfill (SLF) within 24 hours. The pile of waste reached 10.8 meters high, which technically makes it an open dumpsite.

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-Region 3, in its report dated July 26, 2021 said a previously closed and rehabilitated dumpsite in Brgy. Macabaklay in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija, was reopened and operated as an open dumpsite.

In addition, in its inspection of a transfer station in Brgy. Pambuan, also in the same city, the “accumulation of solid waste which were directly in contact to the soil surface as well as infestation of flies” and “obnoxious odor was also perceived.”

The EMB regional office immediately issued a notice of violation to the city government of Gapan for violation of RA 9003 and directed it “to cause the immediate closure and rehabilitation of the subject open dumpsite.”
Nonetheless, Antiporda, who is also the Alternate Chair of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, said the DENR is more than willing to provide technical assistance to those who are planning to have their own disposal facility.

In Masbate, Antiporda said, the local government of Brgy. Divisoria in Cawayan, which previously discarded its waste through the-now closed dumpsite, has called DENR for assistance on their waste disposal. EMB-Region 5 has already acted on the concern.

As required in the 10-year solid waste management plan of LGUs, in instances that an LGU does not have a facility for final disposal of its residual wastes, it is required to put up a residual waste disposal system while planning for the establishment of its sanitary landfill.

If the LGU is not capable of putting up its own SLF, it is are encouraged to cluster up with neighboring LGUs for the establishment of a clustered SLF.

The DENR under the leadership of Cimatu has been relentless in its campaign against open dumpsites by strictly implementing RA 9003.

Earlier this year, the DENR had completed the shutdown of 335 illegally operating open dumpsites nationwide. ###