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In a first historic milestone for the year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as represented by DENR 6 regional executive director Livino B. Duran, accepts the role to continue the sustainable protection, conservation and management of the rehabilitated Wetland No. 2, now known as the Boracay Wetland Conservation Park.

Wetland No. 2, located in Sitio Pinaungon, Brgy. Balabag, covers more than seven hectares. It was rehabilitated for three and a half years by its adopter, the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) through the DENR’s Adopt-A-Wetland Program launched in 2018 by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu. The Program was aimed at tapping the support of the business sector to help augment the government’s efforts in restoring the wetlands of Boracay Island.

The turn-over of the management of Boracay Wetland Conservation Park from EDC to DENR was symbolized with a coffee table book titled “Wildlife Treasures”, with the presence of Anson M. Tagtag, the OIC Chief of the Caves, Wetlands and Other Ecosystems Division under the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), on behalf of the EDC. The event served as the highlight for the Philippine celebration of the World Wetlands Day 2022 on February 2, held right inside the rehabilitated Boracay Wetland Conservation Park. This year’s World Wetlands Day theme is: “Wetland Actions for People and Nature.”

“With this representation for the DENR as regional executive director of DENR Region 6, I hereby accept with much gratitude and great appreciation the restored Boracay Wetland No. 2 from the Energy Development Corporation today, February 2, 2022,” Director Duran said.

“Wetland No. 2 is one of the important wetland ecosystems in Boracay Island. With the new ecotourism attractions, this will serve as a learning laboratory – an arboretum for environmental enthusiasts and environmental practitioners,” Duran added.

Former Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group (BIARMG) General Manager Natividad Y. Bernardino underscored the need for balance of toughness and compassion to carry on with the rehabilitation works for Boracay. “The approach we took for wetland rehabilitation clearly demonstrates the power of collective action among the private sector, government and local communities for nature rehab,” she said. Bernardino is now assigned as Bureau Director of the BMB.

“Boracay will not be an island paradise without these wetlands as they play a crucial role in the island’s whole ecosystem – from flood control to source of freshwater for the locals, a home of unique biodiversity. My gratitude to the adopters for heeding the call and the challenge to augment the government’s efforts during the rehab phase,” said Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr., Head, BIATF Secretariat, in his message read by Assistant Secretary for Field Operations – Visayas Arleigh Adorable.

“Wetlands are critically vital ecosystems. They provide food, and freshwater and act as a natural defense against flooding. As the kidneys of the earth, they filter water through their vegetation and substrates. They help mitigate climate change and provide healing through their recreational uses. Wetlands are certainly not wastelands,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu who delivered his message off-site and via Zoom meeting app.

“This year’s World Wetlands Day theme: ‘Wetlands Action for People and Nature’ highlights the importance of concerted actions for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for the benefit of humanity, the environment and biodiversity. Our venue for this year’s celebration, the wetland of Boracay, is very much attuned to this theme,” Cimatu added.

Despite the brown out and the pouring rains, the World Wetlands Day 2022 celebration was successfully conducted in a hybrid setting. Most of the audience were present in the online Zoom meeting platform while around 50 to 60 attended physically on-site while observing the basic health protocols.

Event’s hosts are Joyce A. Se of the BMB and SB Christian Gelito of Brgy. Manoc-manoc. Se and Gelito stood hosting despite the strong winds and the pouring rain, allowing the show to go on.

During the hybrid event, the audience listened as other adopted wetlands in Boracay were presented in the segment Boracay Wetlands Milestones and Accomplishments. Presenters were as follows: Christopher M. Camba, First Vice President for Corporate External Relations of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. for Wetland No. 4; Engr. Oliver Absalon, Water Supply Manager for Boracay Tubi Systems, Inc. for Wetland No. 6; and Rey Nelson Amparo, Team Lead for Boracay Wetland 8 Rehabilitation of JG Summit Olefins Corporation./DENR 6

With the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases from day to day, the government finds it still alarming and have done all sorts of campaign and activities in order to minimize the impact of the pandemic.

Last year, the government has announced that the country is ready for the vaccination roll out and everyone was encouraged to get vaccinated. Only few however, had a positive response to it.  Most of the takers are those who work in the government and the frontliners, since they had to deal with the public and their lives were literally on the line.

The government’s vaccination campaign had its peak by the end of CY 2021 and everyone who are eligible for vaccination are encouraged to get vaccinated. However, as per data gathered, there are a few among the employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 who did not avail of the free vaccination roll out. Some reasoned they fear the side effects of the vaccines while others have valid health issues and rare medical comorbidities.

In response to this, the DENR 6 Administrative Division facilitated for a one-day medical check-up for all regional employees who are still unvaccinated last January 14, 2022. The event was done at the Activity Center with Dr. Leah Rose S. Dimzon tapped as doctor-in-charge. This was also an activity under the Health and Wellness Program of the regional office. Everyone who lined-up observed the basic health protocols such as the wearing of face mask and shield and social distancing during the pre-assessment, medical check-up and demonstration activity.

Twenty-five (25) personnel availed of the free medical check-up and were assisted by Dr. Dimzon to determine if they are fit enough to get vaccinated. The activity also helped them find out if they have illnesses that could have gotten serious had they not availed of the free medical check-up.  An actual demonstration on how to install the regulator and administer the oxygen via oxygen tank was also done by Dr. Dimzon.

Furthermore, the Office distributed 213 boxes of vitamin C consisting of 100 tablets per box for regular and casual employees based at the regional office./DENR 6

It’s the season of giving in a different way.

After a fierce typhoon which lashed out portions of Negros Occidental, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources quickly responded to the cry for help of its employees, in accord to the Bayanihan spirit.

The National Kalipunan ng mga Kawani ng Kagawaran ng Kalikasan (K4) extended its financial assistance to hard-hit victims of Typhoon Odette in Negros Occidental specifically CENRO Kabankalan. This aid was sent through DENR Western Visayas Employees Union (DENRWVEU) headed by Emma P. Delima, employees Union President of DENR 6.

President Delima with the Union’s Board of Directors acknowledged the financial assistance from National K4, amounting to Php93,830 deposited to the Savings Account of DENRWVEU. On December 29, 2021, the DENRWVEU issued a check amounting to P 100,000.00 for the Community of ENR Office of Kabankalan, represented be CENR Office Rosievel Dimatulac. This move had a clearance from PENR Officer Edgardo M. Rostata of Negros Occidental and was conformed by Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

“This amount of money cannot be accumulated by one hand in a day or two, it needs many helping hands. I thanked the National K4 President Atty. Alessandra Pimentel and DENRWVEU President (Delima) for their initiatives to help our rank and file hit by Typhoon Odette,” RED Duran said during the turnover of the check.

The messages filled with gratitude from PENRO Rostata and CENRO Dimatulac were sent to National K4 and DENRWVEU during the hybrid 2021 Yearend Employees General Assembly that was led by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

CENRO Dimatulac assured the higher officials they will send photos and other proof of liquidation to the DENRWVEU and to the K4 national for the money given to them.

We are starting them young.

The challenge of educating the citizenry to increase the awareness on proper solid waste management got the Environment Department crafting a competition that tapped on the creative side of the young ones.

Dubbed as “Make Your Own Toys Contest”, the team from Tayo Ang Kalikasan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources launched the nationwide competition among children aged 7 to 12 years old. It actually encouraged upcycling by using recyclable and residual materials in creating children’s toys. But it prohibits toy designs/entries that included scraps from other existing toys (commercially available) or toys that are refurbished are not allowed.

In Western Visayas, John Dave Pilarca, a 12-year old kid from Antique province won as regional winner with his entry titled “Robo ‘Cap’: The Environment Saver.” Pilarca bested five other entries from the region. “Amo gid ri-a akon hilig. Super happy gid ako pagdaog ko,” Pilarca said in Kinaray-a when he learned that he won at the regional level.

The “Make Your Own Toys Contest” officially commenced on November 16, 2021 and ended on November 26, 2021 at exactly 10:00 PM. 

This event brought to light the probability of honing both the creative skills of the young ones while also fostering their love for the environment. The contest criteria include originality and creativity, execution, impact of the toy, and wise use of materials.

Regional winners were given a consolation prize of Php 2,500.00 and National Grand Champion received an amount of Php 20,000.00. The Grand Champion at the national level was from Region II (Cagayan Valley).

Upcycling is one good way to reduce the amount of wastes being dumped in landfills. It also teaches the young ones the value of practicing proper waste segregation which is in accordance with Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“We are happy to start educating the young ones on the importance of proper solid waste management. I hope they would remember the lessons and make it their lifestyle to be environmentally-conscious,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

Proper Solid Waste Management is one of the top ten priority programs of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu that encourages all sectors to work together for a cleaner country.

Breathing in clean air is a human right.

One of the sources that daily pollute the air are the vehicles (also called mobile source) – cars, jeepneys, trucks and motorcycles. As such, there is a need to inculcate among drivers and commuters the benefits of having clean air.

In a bid to both educate the public and celebrate the Philippine Clean Air Month in November this year, two free garage smoke emission tests and a roadside inspection was carried out by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region VI through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

The Metro Iloilo Airshed–Anti-Smoke Belching Unit (MIA-ASBU) IEC and Enforcement Team is composed of staff from the EMB, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and one consultant from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), who carried out the roadside inspection and free garage smoke emission test.

The team first conducted a roadside inspection in Brgy. San Antonio. Five out of the seventeen (17) vehicles that were flagged and tested failed while 12 passed. Those who failed the test were issued penalty tickets by the LTO while those who passed were given the Certificate of Emission Compliance (CEC). The 17 vehicles that were subjected to roadside inspection included ten (10) PUJs, two trucks, two L300 vans and three container vans last November 15, 2021.

Meanwhile, a total of thirty two (32) vehicles belonging to the Southern Oton Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (SOJODA) transport group availed of the free garage smoke emission test in Brgy. Cabanbanan. Eleven (11) of them passed while twenty one (21) failed to meet the DENR Standard for light absorption coefficient (K value 2.50/m). The test was conducted last November 17, 2021.

In Poblacion South, the Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association Oton (JODAO) transport group with forty six (46) vehicles availed of the free garage smoke emission test on November 19, 2021. Out of the total number, twenty eight (28) passed the test while eighteen (18) failed.

For the free garage smoke emission test, vehicles that were able to meet the Emission Standards for In-Use Motor Vehicles equipped with compression-ignition engine provided for under DAO No. 2003-51(2.50) k-value were also issued the Certificate of Emission Compliance (CEC) after the activity. But for those who failed, the TESDA Consultant advise the drivers/operators how to maintain or fix issues with their vehicles.

The free garage smoke emission test is part of the Information, Education and Communication campaign of the DENR – EMB 6 in pursuit of cleaner air. IEC materials were also distributed to both the drivers and commuters/passengers.

The activity also aims to inculcate the need for discipline among the transport group sector and help them understand the mandates of Republic Act No. 8749 (Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999). Moreover, it helped them become aware of the condition and status of their vehicle’s engines, the possible causes of their vehicle’s problems (smoke belching) and suggests a few manageable tips to avoid smoke belching.

The MIA–ASBU’s campaign for clean air began in CY 2010 and has been a strong support to DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s priority program.