Press Releases

Solid waste continues to be a challenge for the Philippines as waste generation rates steadily rise annually while recovery and recycling rates lag behind. Of the estimated 61,000 metric tons of solid waste generated daily in the Philippines, up to 24% is plastic, of which the biggest source are packaging materials or SKUs (stock keeping units) of various Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), plastic cutlery, and plastic bags.

Today, the country is one of the world’s largest contributors of plastic waste dumped into the ocean.

To address the problem, the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act was proposed and subsequently lapsed into law in July 2022. The EPR law is an amendment to the two-decade-old Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. It extends the responsibility of a company (or producer) to the post-consumer stage—ensuring that the materials and waste of the products they manufacture, import, distribute or sell do not end up just being thrown out, but instead is recovered, reused, recycled or allowed to degrade in an ecologically-sound manner.

EPR is an environmental policy approach that is applied in many countries around the world like Japan, Australia, as well as some states in Europe and Latin America, although the schemes vary. In the Philippines, the EPR law requires companies with total assets of over Php 100 million, called Obliged enterprises (OEs), to adopt and implement policies for the proper management of plastic packaging waste, with auditing and annual compliance reports to be submitted. For this first year of EPR implementation, OEs must divert 20% of the plastic waste they produced by end of 2023. The rate increases further to 80% by 2028. These obligations may include the diversion, transportation, and disposal of recovered waste and the cleanup in coastal and public areas.

“The successful implementation of the EPR law requires all of us to work hand-in-hand. Solving our plastic pollution problem at this magnitude entails a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, and one that is data-driven to measure the successful recovery and diversion of plastics from our open environment and oceans. There is no time to waste in addressing our country's plastic pollution crisis”, said DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones.

With 2023 on its final stretch, some companies remain unsure about what an EPR is, or whether or not they are covered by the law as an OE. To raise awareness and encourage to register their EPR programs, the DENR has partnered with Nestlé Philippines for a national roadshow where stakeholders and interested parties can participate in a discussion and dialogue about EPR. Titled “Rethinking Plastics: EPR Paving the Way Towards Circularity,” the roadshow has been brought to key cities in the country as a way to reach more OEs and large-scale businesses. The dialogue helps provide guidance on the process of registration, and raise awareness about the value of private sector compliance in ensuring the successful implementation of the EPR Law as well as issues and opportunities in tackling the plastic waste problem.

Through this endeavor, DENR and Nestlé Philippines are also able to provide a platform for stakeholders to share and exchange insights, conceptualize solutions to address existing challenges to proper solid waste management in the country, and come up with recommendations to support the government in implementing the EPR Law.

The dialogues and discussions have not been limited to OEs. Even micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) have been invited to participate.

Nestlé Philippines, among the earliest advocates and adopters of EPR in the country, noted that achieving plastic neutrality requires extensive efforts to address the challenges and roadblocks. As of July 2023, it has collected and diverted 79 million kilograms of plastic waste from the environment.

“Collaboration is instrumental in ensuring the successful implementation of the EPR Law and addressing the plastic waste crisis in general. As business leaders, policymakers, private stakeholders, and stewards of the environment, we must act urgently and work collectively to shape a waste-free future and help advance circularity in the country not just for us but more importantly, for the future generations,” said Jose Uy III, SVP and Head of Corporate Affairs of Nestlé PH.

In addition to pursuing packaging innovations, Nestlé Philippines has eliminated secondary plastic packaging, and is the first in the country to shift from plastic to paper straws for its ready-to-drink packs. The company is also on-track to reduce its use of virgin plastics by a third by 2025.

Key findings from the first leg and second leg of the “Rethinking Plastics: EPR Paving the Way Towards Circularity,” roadshow were compiled in a synthesis report that was presented by Nestlé PH to the DENR. Some of the highlights include the call for increased collaboration among private stakeholders, partner government agencies and LGUs in ensuring the effective implementation of EPR programs; the lack of recycling infrastructure in the country; and the need for the integration of the informal waste sector in the EPR system.

Additional insights from the Visayas leg of the EPR roadshow—held in Cebu last September 22, and the Mindanao leg—held in Cagayan de Oro, will supplement and improve the findings in the synthesis report. In turn, the synthesis report can help further hone implementation and regulation of the EPR Law.

The EPR education and registration drive organized by the DENR and Nestlé Philippines is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), GIZ, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), and Eco-Business.

For inquiries on EPR registration, enterprises may contact DENR through the EPR Hotline: +632 8539-4378, loc 186 and 135, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the DENR’s EPR page: ####

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is undertaking a series of initiatives to formalize small-scale mining operations, recognizing their vital role in the industry. These initiatives are to be undertaken as the department undertakes a review of laws that cover small-scale mining, with the goal of modernizing industry standards and increased protection for small-scale miners.

DENR Undersecretary Carlos Primo David emphasized that these initiatives underscore the agency's dedication to responsible, inclusive, and globally competitive mining practices, all while ensuring the welfare and protection of small-scale miners. He stressed the importance of a progressive, step-by-step approach to formalization, with the ultimate goal of integrating small-scale miners into the broader mining sector.

“The small-scale miners are there. We have to bring them into the fold of the mining sector. The core of DENR's strategy lies in individually registering these small-scale miners, serving as the basis for a more organized structure,” said David.

“We’re looking to register small scale miners, individually, at first, followed by the establishment of a loose organization as the foundation for a more formal association. Sort of like a cooperative towards a Minahang Bayan registration.”

Legal recognition of small miners, according to David, will help ensure they get adequate support to operate within established standards and safety protocols.

“A properly regulated small-scale mining industry will benefit the community in terms of job creation and livelihood, and the country in terms of mining assets and taxes. More importantly, it will address the violation of environmental laws and mining regulations, and minimize environmental risks and promote mine safety,” David said.

He added that the Department’s newly-created Geospatial Database Office under his helm employs satellite imagery and Geographic Information System or GIS which can potentially monitor mining operations in the country and identify those which are illegally operating.

The DENR is looking to amend Republic Act 7076, also known as the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991, to provide social assistance, labor protection, and government-backed assistance programs for the benefit of small-scale miners. The DENR is also a staunch advocate of support for small miners, through a “big brother, small brother approach”—encouraging larger companies to help capacitate them to contribute to social and environmental protection efforts, protect small miners, and enhance the resilience of the mining community.

On top of capacity-building for small-scale mining ventures, the DENR is committed to modernizing standards for the mining industry—harnessing capabilities of cutting-edge technologies such as remote sensing and artificial intelligence to enhance industry regulation and law enforcement.

In a meeting with DENR officials last year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. issued directives to legalize small-scale mining operations. Many of these operations currently operate outside the legal framework, leaving miners without proper protection.###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources suspends the Protected Area Community-Based Resource Management Agreement (PACBRMA) of the People’s Organization (PO) Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI).

DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga issued a Letter of Suspension to SBSI pending further investigation into its gross violation of the terms and conditions of the PACBRMA.

Below is a background and chronology of events:

1. The Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated (SBSI) originated from the “Tinabangay” group of Socorro, Surigao del Norte who were organized as early as 1974 by the late Don Albino Taruc. The group was incorporated and registered as a People’s Organization (PO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 20, 1980.

2. SBSI applied and was subsequently awarded a PACBRMA by virtue of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, implemented by DENR Administrative Order 2004-32, issued on August 31, 2004. The agreement, which was signed on June 15, 2004, covers 353 hectares of land located in the northeast part of Barangay Sering, overlooking the northeast portion of Bucas Grande Island.

A PACBRMA is a legal instrument between the DENR and tenured migrant groups to develop and conserve a portion of a Protected Area for a 25-year period.

3. Under the provisions of the PACBRMA, SBSI was granted certain rights and privileges over the awarded area within its established Multiple-Use Zone. Together with the DENR, SBSI developed their Community-Based Resource Management Plan, which was affirmed in 2013.

4. In 2019, the DENR began its investigation of alleged SBSI activities in violations of the PACBRMA, including:
a. Restriction of entry in the area
b. Establishment of checkpoints and military-like training
c. Resignation of teachers, uniformed personnel and barangay officials
d. Establishment of structures within the PACBRMA area

5. Subsequently, inter-governmental efforts were made to address the concerns raised against SBSI and to get them to comply with the terms of the PACBRMA.

6. In 2019, SBSI submitted its updated CBRMP but was consequently disapproved by the DENR due to non-compliance with certain provisions under the agreement. SBSI has not been able to re-submit the CBRMP.

7. In 2021 and 2022, the DENR called the attention of SBSI on the recurring violations. In both instances, there was no response from them.

The above-mentioned Letter of Suspension was issued today, September 29, 2023.

The DENR will work with the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte and other authorities to ensure the smooth and peaceful enforcement of the suspension notice; and the possible resettlement of the occupants.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is joining forces with the Iloilo City government, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and local youth empowerment organization GUGMA Youth to boost youth engagement in environmental protection, ecosystem conservation, and disaster resiliency at the grassroot level.

DENR Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna, said it was “deemed fitting that the protection and conservation of our natural resources is spearheaded by the country’s most important resources – our youth.”

“The DENR has always recognized the constitutional right of every Filipino for a balanced and healthful ecology. Moreso, we recognize our intergenerational responsibility, to preserve the rhythm and harmony of nature for the full enjoyment of that balance and the healthful ecology we deserve,” added Cuna.

Over the near-term, Iloilo City Representative Julienne Baronda said they plan to plant about 30,000 seedlings of native trees to help enhance the biodiversity, improve air quality, and safeguard the riverbanks from soil erosion and flooding.

“If we clean our coastal areas, the flow of water will be unimpeded. If we grow trees, we help in lessening the heat. These are things that seem small to many, but with great impacts for all to benefit, including our children,” Baronda said.

The multi-sectoral initiative was kicked-off by a simultaneous clean-up and tree-planting drive in Iloilo City last July. Over 3,600 volunteers either planted seedlings of native tree species, such as Balai Lamok, Banasi, and Salingogon, or joined the clean-up at Carpenter’s Bridge and Esplanades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9, Dungeon Creek, Lapuz Creek, Batiano River, and Jaro River. ###

The Philippines has worked for over 20 years on the protection of the marine environment within and beyond its territorial waters. As it celebrates the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement by over 60 countries today, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) expresses grave concern over the reported destruction of coral reefs, marine ecosystems and biodiversity resources in the West Philippine Sea.

Scientific studies have established that the marine ecosystem in the Kalayaan Island Group is critical for the sustainable supply of fish and coral larvae in the Philippines and the region. The rich biodiversity in the reefs, shoals and coasts is documented by the DENR, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute, and other partner-organizations.

We, therefore, strongly deplore any activity that leads to the damage and destruction of the coral reefs in the Kalayaan Island Group. We join the call for signatory States and their citizens to adhere to Article 192 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – to protect and preserve the marine environment.

We must not forget that the ocean regulates our world’s climate and it is the source of livelihood, food security and cultural identity of all coastal states. Coral reefs are an integral part of the beneficial functioning of the marine environment. Harmful human interference, such as the destruction and illegal exploitation of any part of our marine ecosystem is a loss, not only to our country, but to the region and to the world.

Along with its partners, the DENR continues to strive towards building capacity to protect, conserve and enhance our coastal and marine environments by investing in scientific research and infrastructure, the skills for responsive and adaptive governance and capabilities for enforcement.

DENR understands that the concerned government agencies are exploring the legal options that the country may pursue. The Department is ready to support and be guided by them on these matters.