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Dahil na rin sa mga matagumpay na proyekto ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) tulad ng rehabilitasyon ng Boracay at ng Manila Bay at ang pagpapasauli ng basura sa Canada ay masayang ipinagdiwang ng kagawaran ang kanilang ika-32 taong anibersaryo nitong Biyernes (June 14) na pinangunahan ni Secretary Roy A. Cimatu na nagbigay ng pagkilala sa buong ahensiya.

“I am truly honored to receive kind words and praises from different sectors, my co-secretaries, industry partners and the public for what we have accomplished thus far,” sabi ni Cimatu sa kanyang mensahe sa pagdiriwang ng anibersaryo ng DENR na ginanap sa central office sa Quezon City.

Dagdag pa nito, “The honor is not mine alone, I share all the good words and praises with you my co-workers in the DENR. I am just your leader but the knowledge, the hard work and the perseverance are all from you. I draw my strength and confidence from all of you.”

Ayon kay Cimatu, naging makasaysayan ang pagdiriwang ngayong taon ng anibersaryo ng DENR dahil simula noong 1987 ay ngayon lamang nabigyan ng mabigat na responsibilidad ang kagawaran.
“The trust and confidence reposed in our competence by our President and nation is at an all-time high,” sabi pa ni Cimatu na personal na pinili ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte na pamunuan ang inter-agency task force na nangasiwa sa rehabilitasyon ng Boracay at ang patuloy na paglilinis sa Manila Bay.

Matatandaan na naibalik ng DENR kasama ang Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force at ang administrasyon ni Pangulong Duterte ang ganda at linis ang Boracay sa loob lamang ng
anim na buwan. 

Dahil na rin sa ipinakitang dedikasyon ng DENR sa rehabilitasyon ng Boracay ay binigyan pa ito ng mas mabigat na responsibilidad ng pangulo, ito ay ang restorasyon ng Manila Bay na layuning maibalik sa linis ang tubig nito na maaring gamitin para sa swimming, boating, fishing at iba pang aktibidad sa tubig.

Sinabi pa ni Cimatu, bagama’t aabutin ng ilang taon bago maging matagumpay ang tinaguriang “Battle for Manila Bay” ay ipagpapatuloy ng kagawaran ang ginagawang rehabilitasyon ng naturang baybayin hanggang sa tuluyan itong maibalik sa dating ganda at linis.

Aniya, malaki na rin ang nakitang pagbabago ng publiko sa Manila Bay at ipagpapatuloy ng DENR ang kanilang nasimulang trabaho hanggang sa makamit nila ang magandang resulta.

“I firmly believe that the Battle for Manila Bay is indeed a winnable battle. We are on the right track,” sabi pa ni Cimatu kasabay ng pasasalamat sa mga major corporation na sumusuporta sa ginagawang rehabilitasyon.

Ilan sa mga korporasyon na ito na lumagda sa kasunduan sa DENR sa Adopt-An-Estero program ay ang San Miguel Corporation, SM Prime Holdings and ang Metro Pacific Investments Corporation. Kamakailan lang ay naatasan din ang DENR na makipagtulungan sa Canadian government upang masolusyunan ang problema tungkol sa mga basura na nagmula sa Canada may anim na taon na ang nakalilipas.
Aniya, hindi sumang-ayon ang Pilipinas sa kagustuhan ng Canadian government na ma-delay pa ang pagbalik ng mga basura sa kanilang bansa.

“The expenses for the shipping of the wastes were shouldered by the Canadian government. So that’s another feather in our cap,” sabi pa ni Cimatu. Dagdag pa ng kalihim, sinimulan na rin ng Pilipinas ang bagong kabanata sa “biodiversity conservation” sa pamamagitan ng paglagda sa agreement sa Wildlife Reserves Singapore para mapangalagaan ang magkapares na Philippine Eagle na sina Geothermica at
Sambisig.

Sa pamamagitan nito, matitiyak ang pangangalaga sa magkapares na agila na nanganganib nang maubos ang lahi. Ayon kay Cimatu, naging makatuparan ang proyektong ito dahil na rin sa masisipag,
magagaling at matatalinong tao sa DENR family mula sa undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, directors, division chiefs hanggang sa ordinaryong empleyado.

“I congratulate and commend each and every one of you, for a job well done, and more jobs that will be done better. Let us take pride in being members of the DENR family,” ani pa nito. Sinabi din ng environment chief, naabot ng mga opisyal at empleyado ng DENR ang ekspektasyon ng pangulo partikular na ang pagbibigay ng proteksiyon sa biodiversity at marine ecosystems sa West Philippine Sea at Philippine Rise.

Ipinaalala din ni Cimatu ang pagkakaroon ng epektibong istratehiya at polisiya para mapangalagaan ang kalikasan at likas na yaman sa West Philippine Sea at Philippine Rise dahil na rin sa kinahaharap nating problema sa climate change. ###

 

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Boracay keeps getting better a year after it started undergoing rehabilitation, according to Secretary Roy A. Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“Much has changed in Boracay since we started and I am happy that we are able to sustain the gains we achieved since we reopened in October last year,” Cimatu said on April 26, which is exactly one year since the resort island was closed to the public for six months to pave the way for its rehabilitation from serious environmental damage.

Cimatu, who heads the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) in charge of the island’s rehabilitation, said the coliform level in Boracay waters “has significantly gone down,” based on the latest water quality monitoring done by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau.

The environment chief noted that the highest coliform level recorded was only 40 most probable number per 100 milliliters (mpn/100 ml). The safe level is 100 mpn/100 ml for Class SB water that is suitable for swimming, skin diving and other recreational activities.

He also reported that there had been “no algae year-round,” indicating that “it is really the dirty water which is causing what used to be a natural occurrence.”

Cimatu said the entire stretch of Boracay’s White Beach is already safe for swimming, and he was hoping the Bulabog Beach, which is now solely used for water sports, will also be declared “swimmable” soon.

So far, Cimatu said 51 establishments along the White Beach have their own sewage treatment plants (STPs) while others are now connected to the sewer line. Forty-two establishments in other areas of the island opted to have their own STPs, he added.

He said demolition orders have been served to establishments violating the 25+ 5 meter easement rule along the White Beach and Bulabog Beach, almost all of them chose to self-demolish. Those who violated the 12-meter road easement were also ordered to remove their illegal structures.

Cimatu said the construction of the Circumferential Road will continue. “Last year, it would take tourists an hour to reach their hotels because of traffic congestion. Now it would only take 20 minutes because of the paved and cleared roads,” he said.

At present, the road from Cagban Port to Hue hotel is now 95 percent finished; Hue Hotel to the Elizalde property is 95 percent done; and what is called the Missing Gap is also 95 percent completed.

Plans are also underway to make Cagban Jetty Port an all-year round port. Previously, it was only used during the Amihan or dry season from November to April as an alternate to Tagbisaan Jetty Port, which is used during Habagat or wet season from May to October.

Despite these achievements, Cimatu said more needs to be done for Boracay to ensure its sustainability as a world-class ecotourism destination.

“Although we have reopened Boracay to global tourism, the rehabilitation of Boracay is not yet complete and remains a work in progress,” he said.

“What we have accomplished thus far has earned commendations, but building sustainability requires time as well as the continuing support of the people of Boracay,” he added.

The government, through the BIATF, is commemorating the first anniversary of the much-publicized closure of Boracay with a week-long celebration promoting the conservation and sustainability.

Low-key activities were lined up for the first-ever “Sustainability Week,” which runs from April 26 to May 1.

The BIATF wanted to keep the observance of “Sustainability Week” simple and without much fanfare, unlike the infamous “Laboracay” which used to be celebrated every Labor Day weekend.

Laboracay was an annual event where beach parties were held to draw people to Boracay. Tourist arrivals tend to peak around this time.

For the Sustainability Week, the BIATF has identified activities that would distribute crowds to pocket events at different locations on the island, particularly in plazas, gyms, and other spaces.

No parties would be allowed on the beachfront. All activities are also scheduled only until 12 midnight.

The BIATF reminds those in the island to maintain cleanliness, which will be strictly monitored by enforcers from the DENR-LAWIN and the Malay-Solid Waste teams.

Tourists and guests can test their taste buds in a nightly banchetto food festival sponsored by the Boracay Foundation along Laketown Road. They can also register to avail of free rides that will ferry them from D’Mall to other event locations.

Other activities during the week-long celebration include Zumba sessions, paraw-sailing and dive festivals, Ati-atihan parade, sports competition, symposiums and mini-concerts. ###

 

Government efforts to make Boracay a sustainable ecotourism destination received a major boost with the donation of five units of solar-powered vehicles to be used for patrolling and rescue service within and around the world-famous resort island.

The vehicles—one patrol boat, three e-bikes and one ambulance—were donated by Star 8 Green Technology Corp. and Southwest Travel and Tours to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The donation was covered by a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by the two companies and the DENR, the lead agency in the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) that is in charge of Boracay’s rehabilitation.

BIATF chair and DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu thanked the two companies for their initiative as he promised the government will take care of the vehicles.

Cimatu said the donated vehicles would “not only help sustain enforcement and sustainability efforts, but also minimize air and noise pollution in Boracay.”

Star 8 chief executive officer Jacob Maimonsaid the vehicle donation is their “way of helping maintain a green environment in the island.”

Each e-bike has a speed of 100 kilometer per hour and a range of 150 kilometers prior to charging, while the ambulance has a maximum speed of 90 kph and a 120-km range.

The e-banca, on the other hand, has a speed of 5 knots and can run continuously for 8 hours before charging.

Southwest will provide operational and maintenance support services for the upkeep of the units for a period of two years from the date of the turnover. ###