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The employees of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in the province of Capiz together with DENR 6 Regional Executive Director (RED) Livino B. Duran joined the Earth Day celebration by putting up the “Serbisyong Pangkalikasan Booth” at Robinsons Place Roxas last April 22-29, 2022.

The “Serbisyong Pangkalikasan Booth” with DENR Capiz staff distributed different Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials aimed at raising awareness to the public and provide an easy access to information concerning the protection of our environment.

In his message, RED Duran emphasized the importance of raising awareness about environmental protection in order for us to become proactive stewards of the environment.

“In order to address the current environmental issues that we face, we must instill in ourselves the duty to know more about our environment and how our actions affect Mother Earth. Through the “Serbisyong Pangkalikasan Booth”, we aim to provide the public an easy and convenient access on information about our environment and how we can create a sustainable future for the generations yet to come,” he said.

RED Duran also empathized with those who were affected by the recent onslaught of Typhoon Agathon. He also said that kaingin and forest degradation may have contributed to the flooding and landslide in some areas.

“The flooding and landslide in some areas in Northern Iloilo were aggravated due to forest degradation and kaingin. If we put an end to these activities and instead put an effort in the restoration of our forestlands, this may help prevent the problems that we face during rainy season,” said RED Duran.

After the activity, RED Duran visited and assessed the situation in PENRO Capiz and CENRO Sara in Northern Iloilo which were hardly hit by the typhoon to discuss the possible environmental issues that may have caused flashfloods and landslides in some areas and the possible action plans to prevent the same in the future.

Earth day, also known as International Mother Earth day, is celebrated each year on April 22. This year’s theme is: “Invest in Our Planet,” which aims to encourage governments, societies, institutions, and businesses to build a framework for supporting a stable future and to take the benefit of a green economy by adopting it.

DENR 6 recognizes the importance of investing in the protection of our forestlands and how it can help us prevent or mitigate the impact of natural calamities and build a sustainable future. Thus, several campaigns and information dissemination activities are made in the region to educate the public./DENR 6

The impact of climate change can be seen, feel, and smell, it is a visible change that most of the people neglected and worst of these changes are interrelated to both nature and living things.

Some of the cause of the worsening effect of global warming is the improper wastes disposal that landed mostly to the water bodies specifically to coastal and marine ecosystem.  In 2018, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led the inter-agency rehabilitation and development activities in the island of Boracay especially to the “cesspool” areas tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte due to water pollution caused by the improper disposal/discharge of solid and liquid wastes. Until now, the rehabilitation continues and visible changes were also acknowledged by the residents and tourists.

 As such in order to continue the rehabilitation and enhancement activities in Boracay Island as well as to share ideas and environmental technologies on solid waste management and climate change mitigation to the residents of the Island, the DENR spearheaded the activity entitled “DENR Interfacing in the Role of Indigenous People (IP) in Solid Waste Management and Climate Change Mitigation: A Case To Point” on April 30, 2022 at the Boracay Wetland Conservation Park.

 A total of seventy (70) food packs were given to the members of Boracay Ati Tribal Organization (BATO) headed by Tribe Leader Delsa Justo and Sister Elvera Oliamot, composed of bag of rice and canned goods.

After the gift giving a demo-lecture on the best practices of Aklan Trekkers in solid waste management and climate change mitigation was also presented by Ritchel C. Cahilig.

In his message Assistant Secretary for Human Resources, Strategic Communication and Sectorial Initiatives Hiro V. Masuda, CESO III said that “the office will allot budget every year for environmental programs for the BATO community. It is appropriate that as Boracay develop, so does you (BATO Community)”.

“The rehabilitation of the island should continue, you are part of the stakeholders because you are the responsible community here in the island. And by means of responsible, we are asking you to continue to help us manage our wastes, and be aware of the environmental rules and regulations imposed in the island” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran. 

Solid Waste Management and Climate Change Mitigation are included to the Priority Programs set by DENR Secretary Jim O Sampulna.

In a bid to curb the growing incidences on timber poaching and illegal forest activities in the region, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) have forged a Memorandum of Agreement to strengthen the campaign against the said activities.

Acknowledging the role of NICA as the primary intelligence gathering and analysis arm of the government that is well-equipped in carrying out overt, covert and clandestine intelligence programs, the DENR tapped NICA’s expertise to readily resolve the challenges of timber poaching and illegal forest activities especially in the region’s Protected Areas.

“Our interest therefore converge in information-sharing. Signing a MOA between both agencies will lead to a more systematic sharing of information and technology. Further, this MOA will strengthen the feedback mechanism between our agencies to enhance our cooperation and collaboration,” said Regional Director Anna Liza P. Umar of NICA.

DENR 6  will be furnishing NICA 6 with reports from the ground based on the spot reports/incident reports submitted by the Lawin Patrollers as their reference in the conduct of intelligence monitoring.

On the part of DENR 6, Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran acknowledged the limited resources and manpower of the Department to really track down illegal activities in the region’s forestlands.

“Our Lawin System allows us to see and check the threats within our forestlands. They are listed and uploaded in the tracking system. We wanted to fasttrack our response to the illegal activities that require us to enforce the law. But somehow, we are handicapped,” Director Duran said. He, however, expressed confidence that with the help from NICA and the Philippine Army, the issues on illegal forestland activities will be readily resolved.

Western Visayas have beautiful protected areas that has become an attraction to those who commit illegal activities, such as timber poaching and illegal cutting. Through its collaboration with NICA, the DENR 6 aims to expand its protection activities and enforcement of not only forestry laws but will include other environmental laws.

DENR 6 reopens its Day Care Center and re-establishes it as DENR GAD Day Care Center cum Women’s Center and Lactation Station just recently, in order to provide for an adequate facility to cater to the needs of the department’s women employees and their children.

The re-establishment of the GAD Day Care Center cum Women’s Center and Lactation Station is a safe space for women to gather and share their thoughts and ideas regarding their plights as well as to provide them with a facility to cater to their motherly needs and of their children’s security and primary education while they are at work.

“This is another victory for DENR Region 6 when we talk of gender mainstreaming. The establishment of the GAD Day Care Center Cum Women's Center and Lactation Station is in pursuit of our aspiration to make our department a child friendly organization by having the facility as one of the enabling mechanisms we have in gender mainstreaming,” said For. Edna B. Locsin, Chairperson of the GAD Focal Point System and Chief, Planning.

DENR Regional Director Livino B. Duran also shared that the establishment of the Day Care Center has helped the students, who were also children of DENR employees, in their academic and holistic growth, honing them to be successful in their own chosen career.

“The daycare center of DENR 6 substantially made an impact not only in the lives and career of the working mothers and working parents of the department but also to the holistic formation of their children. Many of them are now professionals in their own chosen field of endeavor,” said RED Duran.

Since the operation of the Day Care Center from November 1996 up to the present, the Center has produced a total of five hundred seventy-nine (579) graduates. The Center focuses on the child’s positive self-image and love of learning while incorporating the lesson on the care for the environment.

RED Duran also emphasized that DENR 6 will continue to be a second home for its employees, providing them with their needs and ensuring their productivity while at work.

“We want the women of DENR region 6 to have a domicile of their own during our office hours in times of necessities. We will do our best to assure that while they are working their children are safe and secured,” he said.

Through the expanded services of the GAD Day Care Center cum Women’s Center and Lactation Station, the DENR aims to create a positive impact to the lives of its employees by transcending to become an agency which champions gender equality and women empowerment.

As a commitment towards the continued uplifting of women in the workplace, DENR 6 conducted a Gender and Development (GAD) Talk Show Cum Culmination Program last March 29, 2022.

The talk show highlights the sharing of the guests, consisting of division chiefs from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs) of DENR Region 6, namely: For. Catherine C. Balasa, For. Mirza G. Samillano, Dr. Alma E. Ballego, and two (2) male key officials: OIC- PENR Officer Capiz- For. Joel L. Navarra, and CENR Officer Guimbal- For. Vicente L. Millezas, Jr,. Said guests discussed the challenges that they faced in their respective offices due to gender gaps; the gender limitations perceived by others; and how they had overcome the same and emerged successful with the help of the DENR’s GAD Programs.

Given that majority of the employees in DENR 6 are composed of women, the guests also shared their best practices in their respective offices and how they strived to make a difference in the context of Gender Mainstreaming and ENR management with the ultimate objective of pushing forward the sub-theme: “Agenda ng Kababaihan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran”, with the recurring six-year theme: “We Make Change Work for Women” for the National Women’s Month Celebration.

“Women are the main contributors of DENR 6. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of our workforce are women and out of 26 key officials of the DENR 15 of which are women. Women employees are also in the frontlines and deliver so much in reaching our targets for our Environment and Natural Resources Services and Programs,” said Mr. Ernest C. Federiso, Vice Chairperson of GAD Focal Point System and Chief, Administrative Division DENR Region 6, during his welcome message.

During the said activity DENR also rewarded the hard work and dedication of its women employees by recognizing those who transcends gender limitations and performed exemplary public service as ‘DENR 6 Empowered Women’.

Those who were recognized as DENR 6 Empowered Women are:  PENRO Merlene B. Aborka, For. Gregoria D. Alenaje, For. Cynthia L. Blancia, For. Noeme C. Losbañes, For. Melba J. Salditos, For. Sharcel N. Gallego, and Dr. Vilma G. Limates.

This is only one of the many activities of DENR 6 in line with the celebration for the National Women’s Month.