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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.

More than forty (40) families who were formerly identified under the Rebolusyunaryong Partido ng Manggagawa sa Pilipinas (RPMP) – Revolutionary Proletariat Army (RPA) – Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) – Tabara – Paduano Group (TPG) but is now duly transformed into a People’s Organization (PO) called Kapatiran para sa Progresong Panlipunan, Inc. – Aklan Chapter, have recently received not only the initial core shelters but support facilities and livelihood projects as well.

On March 10, 2022, DENR Undersecretary Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr. represented Acting Secretary Jim O Sampulna in gracing the milestone events held in Brgy. Cabugao, Ibajay, Aklan where two project ground breakings were done, namely: for the 28-units single detached two-bedroom housing for the Kapatiran that will form part of their Peace and Development Community (PDC) and for the Emergency Food Reserve (EFR) Production Plant.

An initial of sixteen housing units out of 44 were also turned-over to Kapatiran members during the event. The housing units were built by the 63rd Engineering Batallion of the Philippine Army.

The 28 two-bedroom housing units, also called “core shelters” shall complete the 44-housing units committed by the government to the Kapatiran members who will resettle in Ibajay PDC site. The core shelter provision forms part of the final step of the 2000 Peace Agreement which the government executed for the Kapatiran, as outlined in the Clarificatory Implementing Document.

Meanwhile, the EFR Production Plant is a partnership among Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Kapatiran and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), formerly known as Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP). This is to support a long-term livelihood and to provide nutritious and ready-to-eat food that can be used as sustenance in times of calamity and disasters.

Also, during the said event, turn-overs of the following support and livelihood facilities were done, to wit: Coco Mill Facility, Water Distribution System and Solar Mechanized Facility.

The Coco Mill was a contribution to the Kapatiran by the Provincial Government of Aklan which will provide them with livelihood through crude oil (coconut) production to be used as feed ingredient or raw material for cooking oil and pharmaceutical and industrial products.

Kapatiran members are now equipped with the basic necessities with the turn-over of the water distribution system and solar mechanized facility right within the PDC site.

As part of attaining the provisions on peace process, the government led by the OPAPRU and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have guided Kapatiran members since 2014 towards being reintegrated into the mainstream society by providing them first with livelihood.

From 2014-2020, the DENR in Region 6 have provided  the Kapatiran with a total of 401 hectare of project areas enrolled under the National Greening Program (NGP). The Kapatiran was able to raise 398,367 seedlings with total project cost of more than six million pesos.

Their PDC site was established with DENR granting them the tenurial instrument called the Community-Based Forest Management Area (CBFMA) which was awarded to them in April 25, 2018, thereby assisting them in their reintegration to the mainstream society. From there, development projects snowballed and the provisions of other necessities are provided by other national government agencies.

In his message to them, USec Adobo gave another great news to Kapatiran members in Aklan by relaying what Secretary Jim O Sampulna said: “This is really a community but we were talking of some other missing element. Your 57 hectare may not sustain the raw material needed for your oil mill. We will be adding another 100-hectare to your 57 hectare.” Kapatiran members are overjoyed with this pronouncement.

“The process to finally give them everything they needed for their reintegration to the mainstream society may have taken years. But it was all worth it and we believe the Kapatiran appreciates our sincere efforts and that of the other government agencies,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

Along with DENR Usec Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr., the activity was also graced by OPAPRU Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., MGen Benedict Arevalo of the 3ID, PA, Department of National Defense Undersecretary Cesar B Yano, Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores, Kapatiran National President Veronica P. Tabara, and Aklan PENR Officer Merlene B. Aborka./DENR 6

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 6 conducted an oath-taking ceremony for the nineteen (19) newly appointed and promoted personnel assigned at the Regional Office, Provincial ENR Office Aklan and PENRO Capiz on March 01, 2022 at the DENR Activity Center.

DENR Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran had point out his expectation to those personnel with (1) compliance to the office decorum and to instruction, and (2) demand of performance. RED Duran also encourages the future appointee to bring their family members and love ones to the oath-taking activity for he believes that this is the precious gift to their family.

“I want to point this out to our future appointee, to bring your family in witnessing your oath-taking. This is the best gift you could offer to them, to support them,” said Livino B. Duran.

“Your credentials speak for yourself. I want you to take care of your position,” he added.

The promoted employees were evaluated and interviewed by the Regional Human Resources and Management Promotion and Selection Board, chaired by the Assistant Regional Director for Management Services Atty. Noel C. Empleo and vice-chaired by Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Raul L. Lorilla together with its members of the board.