Regional Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – MIMAROPA kicked off the comprehensive cleanup of the Zapote river in Brgy. Molino 3, Bacoor City on Wednesday (May2), at the start of the local celebration of May as Month of the Ocean.

“Today marks not only the start of our celebration of May as the Month of the Ocean but also to kick off the comprehensive clean up of the Zapote River. Pag sinabing comprehensive cleanup, talagang ‘yan ay matindi,” DENR-Region 4A Director Sofio B. Quintana said as he addressed the participants to the cleanup activity.

Quintana said that he was supposed to join President Duterte to Bondoc Peninsula in Mulanay, Quezon to distribute Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) but he opted to join the cleanup, saying “It is but my official and moral obligation to be here. Kasi ito pong usapin sa Zapote River ay nasimulan noong isang taon, July 2017, noong ako’y nasa National Capital Region kasama ng ating mahal na kalihim, Secretary Roy A. Cimatu,” Quintana explained.

During that time, Quintana said, Sec. Cimatu had instructed him to clean the filthy river. And since the river, according to him, is the boundary between the National Capital Region and the CALABARZO Region, he immediately contacted Bacoor City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (ENRO) Rolando Bucalan, who agreed to undertake a joint comprehensive clean up of Zapote river.

Bucalan, who was also present in the cleanup activity, called on the residents of Brgy. Molino 3 to have a sense of responsibility to maintain the cleanliness of the river once it is cleaned.

“Hindi dahil may pumupulot ng basura ay may karapatan na ang mga tao na magkalat. Sana naman po, pag-alis namin dito, meron po kayong responsibilidad na panatilihing malinis ‘yong aming mga nilinis,” Bucalan said.

He added: “Kasi ang pagtatapon po sa ilog ay seconds lang, pero araw po ‘yan para angatin, para mawala. Ganoon po kahirap ‘yan, kaya sa komunidad po, napakasuwerte ng barangay na ito na mayroong maglilinis ng manwal ditto. Ito po ay isang goodwill at example po. Sana po sa mga taga-rito, i-maintain nyo po ang mga nilinis ng ating mga kasama.”

Meanwhile, DENR-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) for Cavite Reynaldo Belen emphasized the importance of discipline in maintaining the cleanliness in the area. He also appealed that the clean-up be done not only in the barangay but also in the whole province as the wastes disposed at the upper areas will eventually flow down the low-lying ones. ### 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Region 12 (DENR-R12) has renewed its partnership agreement with three business establishments within the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS).

DENR-Region 12 Director Nilo B. Tamoria signed the memorandum of agreement for joint efforts in the management, protection and conservation of the protected area with Bayani B. Fredeluces, senior vice president of RD Fishing Industry Incorporated; Engracio Sestina, vice president and general manager of Philbest Canning Corporation; and Dr. Delfin Besquillo, Jr., owner of Coco Beach Resort.

Sarangani Gov. and co-chair of SBPS Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) Steve Chiongbian Solon witnessed the signing of the said MOA.

Under the MOA, the DENR and the business enterprises shall jointly manage, protect and conserve as well as develop and enhance the resources potentials of SBPS for the benefit and enjoyment of the communities as well as the general public.

Specifically, the companies shall implement all programs, projects and activities identified in the Comprehensive Development and Management Plan, which was prepared in accordance with the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act.

Tamoria also said the participating establishments will also help in addressing environmental problems facing the Sarangani Bay. “The DENR will strictly monitor the compliance of business establishments and the tourism business providers to environmental laws. We will be issuing Notice of Violations (NOVs) to those who would violate environmental laws,” he said.

SPBS Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Iskak Dipatuan said that prior to the signing of MOA, a series of assessment and re-assessment were conducted by the DENR- PASu team.

“We had conducted appraisal/re-appraisal of the existing land being occupied by them and the improvement and structures introduced. Based on the re-assessment report, we favorably endorsed to SBPS-PAMB, through a resolution, the renewal of the MOA for special uses within SBPS,” Dipatuan said.

The MOA serves as a binding instrument between the PAMB and the owners and operators of business enterprises for the occupation and use of foreshore/coastal areas of SBPS as defined under Presidential Proclamation No. 756, and pursuant to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the NIPAS Act.

Sarangani Bay is known for its rich biodiversity, harboring a wide variety of ecosystems ranging from mangroves to seagrasses to the varying depths of its coral reefs. Sarangani Bay was declared a protected seascape by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 756, dated March 5, 1996. ### 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is giving 75 business owners 30 days to remove and self-demolish their structures built on the waters and within the easement zones of Coron, Palawan.

The directive is cited in the Notices to Vacate served by Task Force Coron on Thursday to erring establishments located in four barangays, namely Tagumpay, Poblacion 1, Poblacion 3, and Poblacion 5. These establishments include hotels, restaurants, dive shops, laundry shops, and lodging and boarding houses.

The Notice to Vacate specified provisions of the Water Code of the Philippines which prohibit occupation of river banks, sea shores and lakes within a zone of three meters in urban areas and 40 meters in forest areas. Barangay Tagumpay is classified as timberland, the rest as urban areas.

The Notice also cited the Civil Code of the Philippines which defines shores “and others of similar character” as property of public dominion. The Civil Code also declares as nuisance “establishment, business or condition of property, or anything else which obstructs or interferes with the free passage of any body of water.”

“Malinaw po sa batas na wala dapat nakatayong mga istruktura sa mga ganitong lugar. Ipinapatupad lang po namin kung ano ang nasa batas para maprotektahan at mapanatiling malinis, maayos, at maganda ang bayan ng Coron,” Engineer Roman Legaspi, head of Task Force Coron said.

Coron is famous for its pristine island beaches and breathtaking landscapes. It receives an increasing number of tourists every year, with an estimate of 178,000 tourists recorded in 2016. The influx of tourists prompted proliferation of business establishments, some of which do not only encroached easement zones, but were also found to have contributed to water pollution by discharging untreated wastewater directly into Coron Bay.

This aggravated Coron’s water problem, which is mainly attributed to the town’s lack of a centralized wastewater treatment facility.

“Kaya hindi lang encroachment ang tinitingnan natin. Sinisiguro rin natin na sumusunod ang mga business establishments sa mga batas ukol sa tamang paraan ng pagtatapon ng basura at maruming tubig, at iba pang batas na nagpoprotekta sa ating kalikasan,” Legaspi expressed.

DENR MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) created Task Force Coron on February 26, 2018 in response to a marching order of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to ensure enforcement of environmental laws in the country’s prime beach destinations. Task Force Coron is composed of representatives from DENR and Environmental Management Bureau and coordinates with the local government of Coron and other agencies, such as Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Department of the Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Navy, and Philippine Coast Guard.

In a related development, DENR MIMAROPA cautions establishment owners affected by the cleanup drive in Coron and elsewhere in the region not to deal with impostors posing as DENR officials.

“We urge you not to deal with people who obviously want to extort from business owners,” says DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino.

“The DENR does not authorize anyone to deal with business owners other than members of the Task Forces, which were tasked to lead the cleanup and rehabilitation of beaches in Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Galera,” she adds.

The warning came about following reports that DENR field officials in Oriental Mindoro and Palawan were receiving calls and text messages from unknown persons identifying themselves as Secretary Cimatu, and seeking copies of establishments which were issued Notices.

The Office of Secretary Cimatu has been informed about the incident, which then advised DENR MIMAROPA to take appropriate security measures. ### 

Building on the momentum of its successful distribution of land patents last year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Western Visayas has increased its target of distributing land patents to 4,478.

The target will cover residential free patents with 2,728 and agricultural free patents, 1,750.

Of the total residential patents, around 893 will be distributed in Antique, 998 in Iloilo, 406 in Aklan and 150 in Capiz.

Provincial distribution of agricultural free patents, on the other hand, is broken down as follows: Aklan with 700; Antique, 400; Capiz, 200; Iloilo, 300; and Guimaras, 150.

In 2016, the regional office was able to distribute a total of 2, 861 residential patents and 1,181 agricultural patents, thereby exceeding its annual targets by 4 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

“Our goal to provide the legal and rightful beneficiaries their much-deserved land titles has always been an important component of DENR mandate. This is not only to ensure that the country’s land resources are equitably distributed but also in alleviating the plight of our rural communities, particularly the farmers, as they now have all the opportunity and the motivation of introducing improvements in their lands to generate economic gains,” said DENR-Region 6 Director Jim O Sampulna.

The distribution of residential free patents is pursuant to Republic Act 10023, also known as “An Act of Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents for Residential Lands” while that of agricultural patents is provided for under Commonwealth Act 141 or the Public Land Act, as amended, which aims to promote social justice and industrialization. ###

Various stakeholders of the Laguna Lake, including local government units (LGUs), have joined hands with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the rehabilitation of country’s largest lake using the Sustainable Integrated Area Development and Management (SIADM) approach in a 2-day convergence workshop on November 10-11, 2016 at Splash Mountain Resort in Los Baños, Laguna.

"One of the objectives (of this convergence workshop) is not only to plan out what should be done in the local area, but to also be familiar with the direction of the new administration," DENR Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Marlo D. Mendoza said.

Mendoza sought the cooperation of the various stakeholders present during the convergence workshop, such as non-government organizations and LGU representatives, saying that the implementation of SIADM by the DENR “will never succeed unless we work together with other agencies and the private sector".

DENR CALABARZON Regional Director Reynulfo A. Juan explained the SIADM approach as one of key strategies of Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez to attain improved quality of life and sustainable environment, which calls for convergence of different stakeholders in the development and management of the Laguna area.

Laguna de Bay is one of the 29 priority areas in the country for the implementation of the SIADM approach. Its selection was in consonance with President Rodrigo Duterte's instruction to transform the lake "into a vibrant economic zone showcasing ecotourism by addressing the negative impact of the watershed destruction, land conversion and pollution".

The convergence workshop included presentations and lectures on the following: planting and marketing of bamboo and other high-value crops by Dr. Florentino O. Tesoro of Agham Party List; Laguna de Bay Basin master plan by Cesar R. Quintos of the Laguna Lake Development Authority; legal framework for the management of Laguna Lake by Atty. Rolando R. Recto of Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc.; local solutions to waste in the Philippines by Zero Waste Program Manager Shelley S. Carbonel; and guidelines in the implementation of SIADM by Usec Mendoza. ###