Press Releases

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna underscored the importance of enhancing women’s education and skills to protect and conserve the environment in this year's celebration of National Women's Month.

"Our department plays a very significant role in further educating and elevating the ability of women and young girls by involving them in our program and projects geared to protect and nurture not only our environment and natural resources but also the well-being of their respective communities from the climate crisis," Sampulna said.

According to Sampulna, the DENR’s role is the “reason behind highlighting and increasing the participation of women to expand and upscale their transformative actions, including their groups and communities.”

Women’s Month is pursuant to Proclamation No. 224 dated March 1, 1988, and Proclamation No. 227 dated March 20, 1998. This year's theme is "Women make change amidst climate crisis and COVID-19."

Sampulna, together with DENR Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change Atty. Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, DENR Climate Change Service Director Elenida Basug, and other DENR officials led the ribbon-cutting of the women photo gallery on climate and disaster resiliency, and COVID-19 response during a short program on March 8.

Sampulna and Teh also unveiled the Gender and Development (GAD) corner where the bulletin board and a box where clients and stakeholders can put in their concerns and suggestions are placed in the pursuit for safe spaces and violence against women-free workplaces.

A "Pamilihang Bayan" was also unveiled supporting women’s economic empowerment amid climate crisis, environmental damages, and COVID-19.

In her speech, Teh said the statistics in terms of women to men ratio in DENR ranks for the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers (PENROs) and directors rose from 19% to 23% for the women in the position.

For the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officers or CENROs and division chiefs, the numbers rose from 34% to 40% of women in the position.

According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2021 of the World Economic Forum, the COVID-19 pandemic has fended off gender parity, adding 36 years needed to close the gender gap globally.

The gender gap is the difference between females and males in areas like participation, access to basic services, rights, and benefits.

Teh said there are still a lot of things that the DENR-GAD office needs to work on to achieve gender equality for sustainable development. ###

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) kicked off this year’s celebration of the World Water Day with the gathering of policymakers and experts for the 1st National River Basin Summit on March 15.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the two-day summit organized by the River Basin Control Office (RBCO) is in line with the celebration of the World Water Day on March 22 under the theme, “Groundwater: Making the Invisible, Visible.”

He also said that the summit seeks to document best practices and lessons learned from various river basin initiatives crucial to the country’s need for sustainable integrated river management practices for implementation within the 421 principal river basins.

Sampulna, in his keynote message during the event, urged policymakers and experts to plan specific actions and comprehensive framework to prepare for calamities triggered by climate change.

He pointed out that the application of integrated water resources management approach is key to protecting the country’s river systems, which heavily depend on groundwater for its annual flow.

“The deterioration of groundwater quality may directly affect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems,” Sampulna said, adding that damage to river systems spells long-term ecological and economic losses and affects the population’s quality of life.

Sampulna noted that there are rivers with over 50 percent of their water flow derived from groundwater, while others exceed 90 percent of their water flow during “low-flow periods” or extended dry periods.

Two best practices in river basin governance were presented at the event. These were the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Experience (NGO-led River Basin Governance) presented by Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council Executive Director Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit and the Pampanga River Basin Experience (Regional Development Council-led River Basin governance) presented by National Economic and Development Authority-Central Luzon Regional Director Gina T. Gacusan.

Likewise, National Water Resources Board Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. presented the “Results of the Study on Groundwater Assessment” while DENR-Climate Change Service Director Elenida Basug discussed the “Build Back Better Task Force: Updates and Initiatives.”

Also presented during the event were the “Water Provision and Flood Protection in the River Basin” and “Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Flood Protection in Coastal Zone” by
E2RB Project-GIZ Principal Advisor Dr. Klaus Schmitt and the “Integrated and Inclusive Water Security Framework (Safe Water) by US Agency for International Development or USAID Safe Water Project Advisor Rachel Beja. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) pushed for a new resolution on a legally-binding global agreement to address plastic pollution during the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) held from February 28 to March 2.
 
The legally-binding agreement on plastic pollution aims to reduce its discharge into the environment by covering all stages of its life cycle and by adopting a circular economy approach related to its design, production, use, and disposal.
 
However, DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna stressed that the "global agreement should consider national capabilities and circumstances."
 
The agreement would also tackle plastic pollution from preventive measures in the upstream part of the lifecycle, to the downstream addressing waste management to prevent plastic pollution in the marine and other environments.
 
The new resolution would also support the goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people.
 
Hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEA is the global authority for the environment with programs focusing on climate, nature, pollution, and sustainable development.
 
In addition to UNEA 5.2, UNEP is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, which is considered a historic milestone for the global environmental community.
 
In celebration of the anniversary of UNEP, DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna underscored the importance of immediacy in promulgating policies and forging agreements for the environment.
 
"We realize how fast time flies and fast disappearing are the opportunities for doing the maximum good for this planet and our very existence as species. The environmental repercussions we are experiencing are all traceable to us humans such as climate change that intensifies hazards creating disasters worldwide," Sampulna said.
 
The new DENR chief noted that environmental repercussions can be solved through the delivery of means of implementation to developing countries like the Philippines in areas such as finance, technology, and capacity building.
              
According to Sampulna, these environmental repercussions include the "massive disappearance of our support system like natural resources and their biodiversity, the massive choking of our oceans because of plastics, the rise of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, and the deterioration of our health from chemical and wastes."
 
He also strongly advocated for the prevention and reduction of residual impacts to become the unifying standard of the collective work of member-states. ###

The four Metro Manila field offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have reported their accomplishments in the strengthening of environmental laws during the first quarter of 2022.

DENR Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna commended the Metropolitan Environmental Offices (MEOs) for actively taking action in strengthening the enforcement of the department’s policies and programs.

The North MEO, which covers the CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela) area, reported the completion of the Valenzuela sewage treatment plant by June 30, 2022.

Meanwhile, the East MEO, which covers the cities of Quezon, Marikina and Pasig, completed 54.2 percent of its annual target for the regular clean-up of 96 esteros and monitored 56 rivers and waterways in the area.

The South MEO, which has jurisdiction over Taguig, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and Pateros, and West MEO, covering the cities of Manila, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay have initiated clean-up operations and mangrove planting activities, inspected water outfalls, and conducted information, education and communication campaigns.

“I congratulate them for a job well done, but this is just the beginning. We would continue improving our work to capacitate our local government units (LGUs) for the good of our communities,” Sampulna said.

The four field offices were created in 2019 and transitioned into MEOs in January 2022 to comply with the Supreme Court order to restore the water quality of Manila Bay to class SB to make it fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.

The MEOs are mandated to coordinate with partner agencies and non-government organizations in cleaning up rivers and other bodies of water.

“I am very happy to note that you have always collaborated with the offices during reporting. I think it is very important that you have identified the areas of cooperation where they can come in even in a temporary capacity, because that is essential for us,” DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations and Environment and Supervising Undersecretary of MEOs Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna said. ###

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim Sampulna has given his go-signal on the use of fallen trees to boost the rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by recent typhoons.
 
In a memorandum dated March 2, 2022, Sampulna ordered the DENR field offices to issue wood recovery permits (WRPs) for uprooted trees in areas particularly affected by typhoon Odette.
 
Sampulna explained that WRPs primarily "provide an additional wood requirement for the rehabilitation program of the local and national government units, such as for housing materials."
 
The partial lifting of the WRP suspension includes fire-damaged trees, covering both naturally-growing trees and planted trees in forestlands, alienable and disposable lands, and privately-owned lands.
 
However, Sampulna stressed that the lifting order is only for typhoon uprooted and fire-damaged trees and does not cover areas within protected areas.
 
"The issuance of WRP for the retrieval and disposition of abandoned logs, drifted logs, sunken logs, tree stumps, tops, and branches are still suspended until further notice and upon comprehensive review and assessment to be conducted on the matter," Sampulna said in the order.
 
Sampulna said that no collection of forest charges will be imposed and that DENR officials will only issue a WRP within three months after the occurrence of a typhoon or fire.
 
Areas ravaged by typhoon Odette in December 2021 are given three months to retrieve and dispose of typhoon-damaged trees from the issuance of the memorandum.
 
Under the order, only qualified applicants can apply for WRPs under two categories: tenure instrument holders, local government units (LGU), and national government agencies for forestlands; and land/lot owner and LGU for alienable and disposable lands and private lands.
 
The order also specified the coverage of authority and validity period of the WRP issued.
 
For timber volume with 15 cubic meters (cu.m.) and below, the DENR Community Environment and Natural Officer (CENRO) or the implementing Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) will be the approving authority, while the regional executive directors cover timber volume above 16 cu.m. to more than 1,000 cu.m.
 
The periods of validity according to the volume of wood covered by the WRP issued are as follows: 50 cu. m., 50 days; 51 to 70 cu.m., 60 days; 71 to 100 cu.m., 90 days; 101 to 200 cu.m., 120 days; 201 to 300 cu.m., 150 days; 301 to 500 cu.m., six months; 501 to 650 cu. m., seven months; 651 to 750 cu. m., eight months; 751 to 850 cu.m., nine months; 851 to 950 cu.m., 10 months; 951 to 1,000 cu.m., 11 months; and more than 1,000 cu. m., one year.
 
"The concerned CENRO/implementing PENRO upon learning of the existence of retrievable wood materials (uprooted and typhoon/fire-damaged trees) shall conduct 100 percent inventory of these wood materials," Sampulna said.
 
Citing abuses in WRP issuances and as convenient cover for illegal logging activities, former DENR Secretary Elisea Gozun issued an order in May 2003, suspending the DENR Administrative Order No. 2000-78 which specifies the guidelines for the "Regulations in the Recovery and Disposition of Abandoned Logs, Drifted Logs, Sunken Logs, Uprooted and Fire/Typhoon Damaged Trees, Tree Stumps, Tops, and Branches." ###