Press Releases

 
 
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation, Inc. (JVOFI) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the restoration and rehabilitation of mangroves in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte that was severely affected by typhoon Odette in December 2021.
 
In a MOA signing on March 15, DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna and JVOFI president Reinaldo A. Bautista Jr. agreed to conduct a three-year post-disaster restoration and rehabilitation of 143 hectares of mangrove on Siargao Island.
 
The JVOFI will provide P10 million to cover the cost of restoration and rehabilitation of storm-damaged mangroves, particularly in the municipalities of Del Carmen, Dapa, General Luna, San Benito, and Socorro in the province of Surigao del Norte, and for the implementation of solid waste management activities in the island.
 
Meanwhile, DENR-Region 13 (CARAGA) together with the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Surigao del Norte and Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Dapa will serve as project implementers.
 
They will conduct the identification and delineation of the 143-hectare mangrove site and determine the mode of plantation establishment, protection, and maintenance.
 
Sampulna lauded JVOFI for financing the mangrove restoration and rehabilitation project.
 
Typhoon Odette which hit the island in December ravaged its agriculture, infrastructure, and environment, and damaged more than a hundred hectares of mangroves planted through the National Greening Program. 
 
The environment chief assured that the DENR, specifically its field offices in Region 13, will work hard for the successful project implementation in Siargao.
 
“The partnership recognizes the importance of addressing climate change and the sense of urgency to act now. We need our mangroves more than ever,” Sampulna emphasized.
 
For his part, JVOFI President Bautista said “This is just the beginning of our continuing partnership. We are thankful to be a part of this initiative and to be able to serve our communities.”  
 
The event was attended by DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones, DENR-Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS) Assistant Director Maria Sabrina Cruz, Project Preparation Division Chief Conrado Bravante Jr., Region 13 Executive Director Nonito Tamayo, Environmental Management Bureau-Region 13 Director Albert Arcamo, and Surigao del Norte PENRO Alejandra Boiser.
 
JVOFI executive director Ma. Rosario Lopez, and EMBRACE program representatives Arnaldo Carino, and Christine dela Cruz were also present during MOA signing at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City.
 
JVOFI is a non-government organization that ensures the promotion of conservation, protection and rational management, and utilization of critical ecological resources in the country.
 
Siargao Island is home to hundreds of flora and fauna species, with a highly diverse mangrove forest, accounting for 19 out of 54 known mangrove species in the world. In 2019, the Del Carmen Mangrove Site was awarded the Para El Mar Best Mangrove Award in the Philippines by the Marine Protected Areas Support Network. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has commended the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for surpassing its targets in cleaning and dredging the 36.4-kilometer Tullahan-Tinejeros River System, which is one of the 17 principal river systems draining into Manila Bay.

“Despite the setback brought about by the pandemic, SMC has proven its dedication in protecting and preserving our environment. We are very grateful for our partnership in securing healthier and cleaner waterways for a better future,” said DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna.

The partnership between DENR and SMC is part of the Adopt-an-Estero Program – one of the department’s priority initiatives and key strategies to comply with the continuing Supreme Court mandamus to clean up Manila Bay.

Former DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and SMC president and CEO Ramon S. Ang led the signing of the memorandum of agreement on March 14, 2019.

As part of its commitment, SMC pledged P1 billion for the dredging and clean-up activities in the Tullahan-Tinajeros River System, starting from La Mesa Dam in Quezon City and into Manila Bay at Centennial Park in Navotas City.

As of March 10, SMC reported it has finished dredging the portion of the river at Niugan, Malabon City using backhoes and recovered 93,393 cubic meters of dredged materials.

Meanwhile, it continued to conduct dredging operations in some portions of Catmon and Maysilo in Malabon City.

Since starting the project on October 12, 2021, SMC has dredged 155,113 cubic meters in the area and targets to finish the activity by the third week of March 2022.

It had also extended and prioritized the dredging of Sectors 3 and 4 – from Lambingan Bridge to Tinajeros Bridge Catmon/Maysilo in Malabon and from Tinajeros Bridge to Tullahan Bridge Tinajeros, Potrero and Marulas, respectively – to address flooding in these areas during the rainy season.

It has currently dredged 789,951 cubic meters and covered 7.71 kilometers of the river from Sector 1 (Manila Bay to Tonsuya Bridge Bangulasi, Tañong, Longos) to Sector 5 (Tullahan Bridge to NLEX Potrero, Marulas, Gen. T. de Leon).

Sampulna underscored the importance of dredging these areas to improve the quality of water.

“Dredging these areas, which are located close to urban areas and industrial complexes, could help prevent the accumulation of pollutants such as trash, debris, decaying vegetation, and even unwarranted toxic material spills,” Sampulna said.

Aside from dredging, SMC has initiated clean-up drives to remove accumulated wastes in the Tullahan River, which is considered the country’s dirtiest waterway emptying into the Manila Bay.

As of November 2021, SMC reported extracting 2,500 metric tons of waste daily for a total of 522,498 metric tons of collected waste.

Moreover, part of the river rehabilitation is the removal of residential and commercial structures within the three-meter no-build zone area and relocation of about 13,417 informal settler families (ISF).

The local government of Malabon has already submitted to the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor a certification letter for the relocation of ISFs in Potrero. ###

As the world observes the annual Earth Hour event on March 26, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna urged Filipinos to go beyond the symbolic switching off of lights for an hour by making environmental stewardship a part of their “new normal” lifestyle.
 
“Apart from safeguarding ourselves from the COVID-19 virus under the new normal, let us also create a norm that puts our planet and, ultimately, our people first. Sustainability should already be a lifestyle and a common goal for each Filipino,” Sampulna said.
 
The Philippines submitted on April 2021 its Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change where the country pledged a projected greenhouse gas emissions reduction and avoidance of 75 percent, of which 2.71 percent is unconditional and 72.29 percent conditional, for the period 2020-2030.
 
Sampulna emphasized that this “ambitious goal” cannot be achieved with the government doing the work alone and if people continue their unsustainable practices that significantly harm nature.
 
To combat some of the country’s pressing environmental challenges, Sampulna committed to pursue the enforcement of the country’s environmental laws like the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, and Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
 
Under his leadership, the DENR will also continue to strengthen its National Greening Program while protecting 8.7 million hectares of forests and conserving the country’s protected areas and biodiversity of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
 
“Climate change is no longer a foreign term for all of us. With all the typhoons and disasters we have experienced in the past, I hope that Filipinos are already conscious and responsible towards taking care of the environment,” Sampulna said.
 
He also cited the importance of collective individual actions to combat climate change by encouraging Filipinos to use bicycles and mass transport vehicles, and to carpool to go to places amid the current local fuel price hike in the country.
 
Sampulna also reminded the public to conserve water, especially during the dry season.
 
Moreover, for the next elections, he encouraged Filipino voters to choose leaders who will prioritize climate change mitigation.
 
“Apart from these, individuals can contribute in saving the planet by eating more sustainably, not wasting food, reducing plastic usage, being energy-sufficient, being a conscious consumer, being supportive of the government’s environmental programs, being environmental ambassadors in their sphere of influence,” he said.
 
Sampulna urged Filipinos to take part in the Earth Hour event on March 26 by switching off computers, television sets, air conditioning units, and non-essential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
 
The Earth Hour movement, which is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature, started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and has become an annual symbolic action around the world, spreading to over 7,000 cities and 180 countries and territories. #
 
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna on Monday, March 21, awarded a check amounting to P42.2 million as relief assistance to DENR employees in typhoon Yolanda-stricken areas, particularly Palawan, Eastern Visayas, and Western Visayas.
 
“This check speaks of the DENR’s valued commitment to push tirelessly for the welfare and benefits of its hardworking workforce however long and challenging the waiting has been,” Sampulna said, citing the tireless efforts of DENR field officials in securing the financial help.
 
Sampulna handed over the checks to senior field officials of DENR Regions 8, 6 and 4B worth P34.2 million, P7.2 million, and P760,000, respectively, during the flag-raising ceremony last Monday.
 
The acting DENR chief expressed his gratitude to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for the support to the agency’s employees despite the government’s limited budget and resources due to COVID-19 and global repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
 
Sampulna said the latest aid make up the second tranche of financial help from the Office of the President, following the release of about P11 million in 2012 in response to a request made by DENR-Northern Mindanao officials for monetary aid for workers affected by typhoon Sendong in December 2011.
 
DENR-Region 8 Executive Director Tirso Parian said the release of the cash aid “is as good a day as any, particularly for many of our co-workers who are still paying off loans for the reconstruction of their houses that were damaged by typhoon Yolanda in 2013.” 
 
Eastern Visayas DENR Employees Union (EVDENREU) president Sonia Q. Mejido said 164 workers whose houses were completely damaged by the typhoon will receive P100,000 each, while 594 beneficiaries whose houses were partially damaged will get P30,000 each.
 
DENREU-Region 6 president Emma Delima said 156 beneficiaries will receive P30,000 each, while 26 beneficiaries will get P100,000 each.
 
Likewise, 23 DENR workers in Palawan will receive P30,000 each, while one beneficiary will get P100,000.
 
Beneficiary-individuals who are no longer employees of the DENR will still receive the financial aid, including those deceased, through their next of kin, Mejido and Delima assured.###
 
 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and DENR-National Capital Region, signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Quezon City government and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) for the development of an urban biodiversity park in Quezon City.

The DENR and its partners agreed to implement the “Building a Biodiversity-Friendly Environment in Metro Manila” project under the Urban Biodiversity Program (UBP) to develop and sustainably manage Madison Park, which will be known as Gabay Kalikasan Park, in New Manila, Quezon City.

Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna underscored the DENR’s role in realizing plans to “ensure ecological integrity and clean and healthy environment, which includes sustained biodiversity and ecosystem services.”

“While our focus is largely directed at managing natural ecosystems through the establishment of protected areas, we also need to address the importance of enhancing our urban ecosystems to be able to provide a quality and livable environment for urban dwellers,” Sampulna said.

The project aims to pilot-test the “adopt-a-city” approach in implementing the UBP to encourage the business sector’s support in creating green urban communities at the city and barangay or village level.

It also seeks to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of local communities and other stakeholders on the importance of urban biodiversity and green spaces, and encourage individual actions on urban greening.

DENR-BMB Director Natividad Y. Bernardino said Filipinos can visualize the city landscape with living rivers, streams, lakes, coastal areas, swamps, urban forest parks, and green highways for wildlife through the DENR’s Urban Biodiversity Program.

“Let us anticipate with enthusiasm the full-bodied implementation of the [UBP] as the DENR and the Department of the Interior and Local Government firm up a new policy on urban biodiversity as part of the Seal of Good Local Governance,” Bernardino said.

Implemented in 2017, the UBP aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, develop and maintain green spaces within cities to provide benefits through ecosystem services to Filipinos.

Sampulna envisions an increase in the proportion of green spaces in the country’s five largest cities—Quezon City, Cebu, Davao, Caloocan, and Manila—by at least 5 percent under the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan for 2015-2028. ###