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Ilonggo bikers showed their strength in numbers by joining the first-ever Bike.Hike.Plant (BHP)+ 2022 on June 25, 2022 in observance of the 159th Year of the Philippine Forestry Service and Arbor Day 2022.

The event gathered a total of 932 registered participants who joined as either bikers or hikers. The National Greening Program (NGP) team led by Forester Fred P. Canto also recorded a total of 1,338 seedlings of Narra, Tapuyay, Bagalunga, Iloilo Tree, Kansulog, Bagalunga, Ipil, Kamagong, and Balayong species that were planted during the activity. The tree seedlings were sourced out from the Iloilo Provincial Nursery, CENRO Guimbal Nursery and Maasin Watershed Nursery.

B.H.P.+ 2022 was initiated by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in collaboration with the NGP team of the DENR Region 6 that was also graced by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr., Maasin Mayor Francis Amboy, DENR Assistant Secretary for Indigenous Peoples Affairs Jose B. Ong, FMB Director Tirso P. Parian, DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran and other DENR 6 key officials.

 Bikers pedalled the total length of 31.9 kilometers from Esplanade 3 in Iloilo City down to the municipalities of Pavia, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan and Maasin, Iloilo. A 15-minute hike was then made by all who went to the planting site inside the Reserve.

DENR 6’s field offices such as PENRO Antique and PENRO Iloilo also joined the Bike.Hike.Plant+ 2022 activity last June 25, 2022. 

It is one of the most memorable BHP events ever conducted by far with the strong support of seasoned bikers, newbies and enthusiasts who were either registered online or just waited on the road then bike-in with the group. After the group’s ride out from Esplanade 3, a short stop at a hydration station was made in public plaza of every municipality where a Medic station staffed with team from Department of Health (DOH) is also available in case of emergencies.

The event was made more successful with the solid support from the local government units of Iloilo City, Pavia, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan and Maasin. Pavia’s best baye-baye was provided to all during the brief stop at their municipality, while Mayor Amboy generously provided lunch for all officials and others. The bikers and hikers were provided packed lunch as well.

“Si Honorable Arthur Governor, Sr. ang unang nagbigay ng hudyat and we wanted to plant trees for the province. The greening of Iloilo – it started in Maasin Watershed. The issue [on deforestation] has evolved into a concrete intervention and what you see here now are the impacts of those activities and interventions,” said Director Livino B. Duran in his message.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) represented by DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran on behalf of Secretary Jim O. Sampulna recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote the growth of the bamboo industry in Guimaras during the 1st Guimaras Bamboo Summit 2022 held at Guimaras Mountain Resort, Piña, Buenavista, Guimaras.

Province of Guimaras representative, Governor Samuel Gumarin, the Clean Air Philippines Movement, Inc. (CAPMI) chair, Dr. Michael Raymond Aragon, Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council Executive Director Rene Madarang, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Secretary Isidro Lapeña, Department of Trade and Industry VI Director Rebecca Rascon, and CAPMI-Western Visayas director Maggie Cacho all signed the MOU to signify their active support and commitment to the Province of Guimaras in promoting its bamboo industry.

RED Livino B. Duran emphasized the importance of bamboo in our economy and in the environment.

“Bamboo has many uses and has proven itself to have vital contributions to the national economy and ecological stability of the country. It reduces the need for timber resources, and helps greatly in carbon sequestration,” said RED Duran.

“We can also look into the use of bamboo for poverty reduction and as one of the sources of income for our local farmers. With the collaboration and coordination of the government agencies this will become possible. The National Greening Program (NGP) of the DENR will concentrate on production, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and DENR will focus on the supply of bamboo, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will go into processing and later on marketing,” he added.

The Summit was organized by the Clean Air Philippines Movement, Inc. (CAMPI); Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) and Province of Guimaras.

DENR stands as the lead agency in implementing the sustainable management of natural resources through resource conservation, protection, and productivity enhancement. It continues and will continue to support the planting of bamboos in order to rehabilitate all the remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands as well as to provide livelihood to local farmers and help boost our economy. The Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP) is one of the top ten (10) priority programs of the DENR.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region VI and the Province of Aklan and Antique together with the Peoples Organizations (POs), Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs), and concerned Government Agencies signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the creation of the Ibajay-Panayakan River Integrated Watershed Management Council (IWMC) at the DENR Region VI Activity Center, Iloilo City, just recently.

Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran of DENR Region 6 signed the MOA with the Provincial Government of Aklan who was represented by Provincial Administrator Atty. Selwyn C. Ibarreta for Governor Florencio T. Miraflores at the DENR Region Office where the good governor attended via zoom.  Meanwhile, the Provincial Government of Antique represented by Hon. Rhodora J. Cadiao witnessed the signing of the MOA, virtually.

The Municipality of Malinao, Aklan represented by its Municipal Mayor Josephine I. Iquiña and the Municipality of Pandan, Antique by Municipal Mayor Plaridel E. Sanchez, various POs and IPOs in Aklan and Antique and other concerned Government Agencies in the region were all present during the MOA signing activity.

During his message, RED Livino B. Duran emphasized to the members of the Ibajay-Panakuyan River IWMC their role as members of the Ibajay-Panayakan IWMC where he stressed that “after the signing of the MOA, we will all work together- to be consulted, to participate, to discuss, and to decide matters pertaining to use of the resources in the Ibajay-Panakuyan Watershed. Your signature in this MOA signing signifies your commitment to help protect our natural resources”, said RED Duran.

"This is a very timely mission as we are all aware how critical our watersheds are now, especially during these trying times where we crucially need an increased resilience in the face of climate change threats,” said Aklan Provincial Administrator Atty. Selwyn Ibarreta during his response.

“We need to educate the people of the importance of watersheds. A healthy watershed means a good quality of life for our People”, he added.

Under the MOA, the management of the watersheds should achieve the following goals: (1) sustainable multiple use of natural resources within the watersheds in a manner that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially acceptable; (2) the prevention of further watershed degradation and the restoration of the productive and protective function of currently degraded watersheds.

The MOA mandates the effective and purposive collaboration and coordination of the DENR, the LGUs, National Government Agencies, Non-Government Organizations, People's Organization, Indigenous People's Organization, and the Private Sector to hasten and facilitate the achievement of these goals.

The DENR is the lead government agency tasked to conserve, develop, protect and regulate the utilization of the natural resources as among the 10 priority programs of the department geared towards the benefit of the present generation and the generations  to come.

 The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) held its 2nd quarterly meeting at the Taklong Island Nation Marine Reserve (TINMR), Guimaras just recently, in order to discuss their plans and programs for the continued protection and preservation of the marine ecosystem and wildlife in the said Protected Area.

Regional Executive Director (RED) Livino B. Duran who chaired the PAMB presided the meeting and emphasized the need for the concerned government agencies consisting the membership of the PAMB and People’s Organizations to continue working together for the promotion and protection of wildlife and natural resources in TINMR.

“The function of the PAMB includes planning and deciding on matters that would have a direct impact on the wildlife and natural resources of the Protected Areas (Pas) here in Guimaras, specifically here in TINMR. Our decisions should be carefully deliberated in order to prioritize the protection of our PA and at the same time promote eco-tourism, and provide sustainable livelihood to our People’s Organizations (POs) so we can co-exist with our Mother Nature. We can only do this if we work hand in hand and take into consideration the impact of our actions to the environment.”

One of the items discussed in the agenda is the creation of TINMR Technical Working Committee (TWC) which shall deliberate all matters and activities in the Protected Area (PA) in Guimaras and pass resolutions for the approval of the PAMB.

“The creation of the Technical Working Committee is in accordance with law and shall help address the concerns in the PAs in Guimaras much faster.  The TWC shall deliberate on matters affecting the TINMR while the PAMB is not session, and shall recommend resolutions to the latter for approval. But in times where there are urgent matters that shall be decided upon, the PAMB may call a special meeting to address the urgent concern”, said RED Duran.

Other matters and proposed activities within the TINMR were also discussed by different sectors and POs before the PAMB.

Under RA 7586 or the  “National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992”, A Protected Area Management Board for each of the established protected area shall be created and shall be composed of the following: DENR Regional Executive Director under whose jurisdiction the protected area is located; one (1) representative from the autonomous regional government, if applicable; the Provincial Development Officer; one (1) representative from the municipal government; one (1) representative from each barangay covering the protected area; one (1) representative from each tribal community, if applicable; and, at least three (3) representatives from non-government organizations/local community organizations, and if necessary, one (1) representative from other departments or national government agencies involved in protected area management.

The PAMB shall, by a majority vote, decide the allocations for budget, approve proposals for funding, decide matters relating to planning, peripheral protection and general administration of the area in accordance with the general management strategy.

DENR VI aims to strengthen Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) activities within the protected areas. Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation and the Conservation of the Protected Areas is one of the top 10 priority programs of the DENR under the active leadership of Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna.

With the recent national and local election period many campaign materials were hanged, distributed and pasted on the different areas in the community, thus, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 6 advised the candidates of the recent national and local election to clear up their campaign materials.

“This is not just to remind the candidates but also to urge them to clear their campaign materials and properly dispose it in accordance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act on RA 9003,” Regional Director Livino B. Duran said.

“Those campaign materials are mostly made of plastics and it can be recycled. There are many ways to recycle and made it into something useful after all it will lessen the plastics in our garbage at the same time will add some creativity in your community”, he added.

On his message DENR Secretary Jim O Sampulna said that “win or lose, these candidates must consider the long-term consequences of their campaign materials in the environment. Candidates could show how sincere they are in serving the country this way”.

Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 declares the policy of the state in adopting a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that ensures the protection of public health and the environment and the other proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of best environmental practices.

RA 9003 is among the 10 priority program of the Department being given emphasis for every Pilipino citizen to observe and practice./DENR 6