Press Releases

 

To reinforce capacities for environmental law enforcement and crisis response, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—through its Environment and Natural Resources Academy (ENRA)—will launch a special course for enforcement frontliners at the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Amphitheater on Sept. 17, Friday.

With the theme "The ENR Academy: Mechanism Towards Effective Environmental Protection and Management," the special course aims to equip the participants with the DENR's programs, priority projects, and basic ENR services for effective environmental law enforcement.

The entire course, which will run from Sept. 20 to Oct. 17, 2021, consists of five modules with two weeks of webinar, two weeks of practicum, and 12-hour community service on the field.

The pioneering batch will have a total of 44 participants consisting of 35 enforcement personnel from DENR Central Office and several field offices, three from the Philippine National Police, three from the Philippine Coast Guard, and one each from the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine Air Force.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu underscored the urgent need for a continuous environmental training program for enforcement officers to manage challenging situations effectively.

"Our environmental defenders from various parts of the Philippines have encountered violent attacks in the past few years, making this a pressing concern for the DENR to train and equip them in anticipation of more serious assaults that may happen in the future," Cimatu said.

"This pandemic has not deterred the onslaught of bloodshed against those who are just doing their duties to protect the country’s natural resources," he added.

Data from DENR’s Environmental Law Enforcement and Protection Service (ELEPS) show that a total of 10 environment workers of the agency have been assaulted while on duty since 2017.

Nine of these 10 incidents resulted in death, while one has survived.

Meanwhile, four of the 10 incidents took place during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

In one episode of the Talk to The People, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte backed Cimatu’s statements, saying that "the culprits are not afraid when facing the forest guards that the DENR has deployed in hotspots."

Cimatu, in response, said that while the DENR "has experienced a hard time in strictly promulgating the laws because the perpetrators are not afraid of the agency’s enforcement arm, the DENR shall continue upholding the agency’s mandates."

"The special course on enforcement shall also support to fast track the passage of the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau Bill or EPEB Bill,” Cimatu added. ###

 

The Land Management Bureau (LMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has highlighted the improvements in its land services systems and processes through a digital transformation during the month-long celebration of its 120th founding anniversary this September.

With the theme "Overcoming Hurdles and Surpassing Boundaries on Land Administration and Management Through Digital Transformation," the DENR-LMB anniversary celebration underscored the importance of adopting technology to improve public land services.

"Now more than ever, adopting digital transformation in our systems and processes is vital and timely. For that, I commend the LMB for its innovativeness in leading the land administration function of the DENR through technologies and timely policies," said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

DENR-LMB Director Atty. Emelyne V. Talabis emphasized the need to maximize its information system called Land Administration Management System (LAMS) and other innovations to provide ease of transactions, processing, delivery of surveys, and titling services.

This not only limits face-to-face transactions but also simplifies procedures for a shorter processing time.

"The new normal calls for technological innovations in the sectors' land administration and management services. We endeavor to bring land services in the most efficient and safest way to the people," said Talabis during the virtual kick-off celebration on Sept. 3.

"The digital transformation of our land records towards the digital cadastral database also continues," she pointed out.

Based on DENR-LMB's data as of June 2021, 82 percent of its land records are already scanned while 72 percent are encoded, both properly stored in servers for processing and monitoring.

"We also lined up policy studies for a more efficient system of land service and titling that will be responsive to the demands of the changing times, such as the comprehensive review of the Manual on Land Surveys and the Public Land Act," Talabis said.

One of the DENR-LMB's recent accomplishments was the signing of the Memorandum of Partnership Agreement with the municipal government of Bay in Laguna province for the online data-sharing system, which aims to fast-track the process of land titling and prevent land titling conflicts.

It also issued DENR Administrative Order (AO) 2020-16, which sets the rules and regulations on the processing and approval of all energy projects in foreshore lands.

The DAO aims to adopt a paperless and electronic application and processing system.

Moreover, through the LMB online land services elandservices.lmbdenr.ph, the public can request and access land records such as lot status and certified copies of survey records online.

Aside from these, the LMB also aims to accelerate the original land titling of public lands nationwide within 10 years and pave the way for more land management functions.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recently signed Republic Act 11573, which simplifies and improves the issuance of agricultural free patents.

DENR-LMB's records show that from January to July 2021, residential patents submitted to the Register of Deeds reached 11,229, while agricultural patents were 12,746, contributing to the overall total of 501,485 issued patents from 2011 to July 2021, covering a total area of 11,807.0053 hectares.

DENR Undersecretary for Legal, Administration, Human Resources and Legislative Affairs Atty. Ernesto D. Adobo, who is also the LMB Supervising Undersecretary, lauded the efforts of LMB over the past year in providing timely policies and innovations on land administration services of the DENR. ###

 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has hailed the launch of a new anti-corruption program that is expected to provide a big boost to the DENR’s campaign against environmental crimes.

Last Sept. 3, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and 49 state agencies including the DENR led the launch of the "Project Kasangga: Aksyon Kontra Korapsyon," creating anti-corruption coordinating councils (ACCC) within government offices and one at a national level chaired by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The program is a holistic way of stamping out corruption in all levels of government and complements a task force led by the Department of Justice, according to the PACC.

The ACCCs will act as department-level committees to validate corruption reports and forward them to the national ACCC.

Cimatu said the initiative is especially vital in its mandate to combat environmental crimes as "corruption at the DENR unmistakably results in environmental crimes whose detrimental consequences can last for generations in terms of individual health, public safety and economy."

"I prefer standing trees to apprehended illegally-cut ones which is why my marching order is to strengthen prevention of environmental crimes like illegal logging," Cimatu pointed out.

"While our emphasis is on prevention, enforcement and detection approach should likewise play an important role through the creation of the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB) which will spearhead government’s efforts to bolster certainty of punishment," he added.

The proposed EPEB consolidates all enforcement functions and will institutionalize enforcement systems and strategies based on best practices and using the most advanced and reliable technologies.

"Project Kasangga has further highlighted the role of environmental law enforcers as key actors in fighting corruption," Cimatu said, noting that the project underscores the urgency for the establishment of the EPEB as its passage into law is being sponsored both in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Two bills creating the EPEB have been filed at the Senate. These are Senate Bill Numbers 1878 and 1959 filed by Senators Nancy Binay and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., respectively.

At the House of Representatives, House Committee on Government Reorganization adopted House Bill (HB) 6973 filed by Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda.

The House panel has likewise agreed to consolidate three other EPEB bills into a substitute bill, namely HB 7873 filed by Deputy Speaker and South Cotabato Rep. Ferdinand L. Hernandez; HB 7670 filed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba; and HB 8028 filed by Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund "LRay” Villafuerte. ###

 Photo PR DENR EMB recognizes game changer communities 09 09 2021 web

The Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)—has given recognition to public and private organizations for their environmental initiatives at the 1st Game Changer Communities Award.

"Protecting the environment is always a shared responsibility. We are proud of the winners for their ingenuity in resolving challenging environmental and health concerns that impact their very own communities,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

The award recognizes individuals or groups whose initiatives are "beyond the usual and not business-as-usual approach on addressing the pressing issues on environmental management."

"A game-changer must showcase innovativeness, sustainability, and leave positive impacts to the environment and the community where they belong," DENR-EMB Director William Cuñado said in his welcome message during the virtual awarding ceremony on Sept. 1.

Three top winners and seven consolation winners were announced during the virtual event.

Coming in at first place was San Carlos City Environment Management Office with its Ecological Solid Waste Management Lifestyle Change Project.

The initiative was used to promote behavioral change among the city’s residents towards environmental responsibility through effective communication and education.

The office also established an eco-center that serves as a one-stop-shop disposal and recycling option for San Carlos City residents and businesses.

The eco-center contains a state-of-the-art sanitary landfill for municipal solid waste, centralized material recovery facility, composting facility, and wastewater treatment facility.

The Provincial Government of South Cotabato placed second with its South Cotabato Health Care Waste Treatment Facility, which is used to treat infectious and hazardous waste from healthcare providers. The province is the first in the country to have such facility using Filipino technology.

Third place was the city government of Santiago, Isabela with its Barangay Empowerment and Synergy for Poverty Reduction Network or BESPREN Project, which effectively implemented various national laws related to the environment.

Cuñado said the awardees are "game changers" as they exhibited out-of-the-box solutions to environmental challenges such as air and water pollution, solid waste management, climate change, and environmental education.

"We hope that the example you have set will also lead the way for other communities all over the Philippines to be game-changers in their own simple ways," he added.

Consolation prize winners were the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office of Lebak (Sultan Kudarat); local government of Donsol, Sorsogon; Grachelle Andrea Bello Guevara of I Can Make A Difference, Inc. (Zamboanga City); Camille M. Agotana of Lupon Ng Mga Inidibidwal Na Nangangalaga Ng Kalikasan Inc. (La Union); city government of General Trias, Cavite; Raoul T. Bacalla of DBSN Farms Agriventure Corporation (Leyte); and municipality of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.

Launched in April 2021, the DENR-EMB Game Changer Communities Award was opened to Filipino individuals, civil society, women’s and youth groups, and local government units that led innovative projects on waste reduction; climate change mitigation; water quality conservation and protection; information, education, communication; and environmental education. ###

 

The National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), chaired by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has approved the adoption of the total solid waste management solution to help optimize waste recovery and utilization in sanitary landfills (SLFs).

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said this new innovation “shall help the DENR to expedite the goals of strictly implementing Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Management Act of 2000.”

“Through the Total Solid Waste Management Solution, we will be able to augment the capacity of SLFs and make these more useful to the local government units (LGUs),” Cimatu said.

“This strategy will also help lessen solid wastes that go into coastal areas and waterbodies all over the country, and will support the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay,” he added.

In a resolution signed by NSWMC Alternate Chair and DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and LGUs Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, the Commission will integrate processes and technologies for the management of biodegradable wastes, recyclable wastes, and residuals with potential for diversion, and the treatment of special wastes or household hazardous wastes before disposal.

He said the measure will help local LGUs to “enhance the processes by which they manage and treat their wastes."

"We took into consideration both the capability and capacity of the LGUs to implement their targets in accordance with their 10-year solid waste management plan until such time that they are able to meet their maximum waste diversion target through materials recovery, composting and other resource recovery activities," he explained.

Antiporda pointed out that the adoption of the concept of total solid waste management solution will ensure the optimum utilization of solid waste materials that enter SLFs.

"This enables SLFs to have an extended lifespan. As we are able to do so, we can maximize the land use in the different locations in each LGU," he said.

Antiporda said the specific directives under the NSWMC resolution will be handed over to the regional offices through the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau for the proper integration of the Total Solid Waste Management Solution in the design and operation of the proposed SLF projects.

To date, 52 SLF projects nationwide are pending approval.

"With this resolution, hopefully, we would be able to make sure that the future SLFs will be maximized. We also hope that this new strategy would complement our move to advance the prohibition of non-environmentally acceptable products,” Antiporda said. ###