Photo Releases

The towering old growth Mahogany trees which were part of the old reforestation project of the government inside Sibalom Natural Park (SNP) has impressed Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu during his tour of the area, recently.  

Cimatu was the only Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) who visited the SNP and talked to the local people, whom he thanked for helping protect and conserve the natural park. Aside from the Mahogany trees, many native tree species could be found inside the Park.

In a meeting with the regional key officials of DENR Region 6 led by regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr., Cimatu gave the tall order to conduct a deep study on the possibility of adopting the use of fast-growing trees to be planted in National Greening Program (NGP) areas. He also wanted that DENR field offices determine the number of growing/alive trees, and ordered the inventory of trees thriving within the protected area.

Prior to its declaration as a protected area, the Sibalom Sub-Reforestation Project was established in 1949 as part of the Valderrama Integrated Reforestation Project.

The Sibalom Natural Park is one of the last remaining lowland forests in Panay, where the endangered Rafflesia speciosa, was discovered in 2002. The flower has since become a symbol of the SNP. Secretary Cimatu have seen first-hand the natural beauty of SNP and is proud to know that both the DENR and the locals are working towards its preservation. Intensified Forest Protection is one of the top ten priority programs of Secretary Cimatu./DENR 6

The gradual balik-loobof former rebels brought hope to attain peace and ecotourism development as Akap-Kapatid Program launched in the region.

 Police Regional Office-6 initiated the pilot program of Akap-Kapatid Program in partnership with the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) with Philippine Army and other government stakeholders here in Western Visayas.

The program has two phases which is the short term that focuses on self-assessment, psychological program and confidence building while the long term focuses in the general welfare on how the participants, former rebels returns to the community living peacefully and sustainably.

Western Visayas region is enriched with booming ecotourism location. If insurgencies ceases in the region like in the province of Bohol, tourism will thrive that opens businesses and job opportunities for people.

During the third batch of Akap-Kapatid Program, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region VI Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Livino B. Duran together with PRO-6 Regional Director Rolando F. Miranda and the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) Disaster Response and Management Chief Luna S. Moscoso delivered their messages during program.

There are 101 balik-loob beneficiaries that were from municipalities of Calinog, Iloilo and Tapaz, Capiz which were given lectures discussing self-awareness, stress management, anti-criminality, anti-drugs, criminal justice system, family and community relationship, coronavirus awareness and anti-terrorism law.

They were also given certificate of completion of the seminar programs they attended, seedlings for livelihood, monetary assistance, bikes, food packs, medicines and other supplies essentials for living especially in this coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Aside from these insights and tangible assistance prepared by the government, these rebel returnees live in the municipalities with potentially eco-tourism sites that will flourish if being developed and sustained.

In the municipality of Calinog, the proposed Jalaur mega-dam or Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project is an ongoing water reservoir construction that will supply water for agricultural land irrigation, household useand a potential center for economic growth in the region. It will also be the biggest dam outside Luzon Island.

The municipality of Tapaz opts to be the next thriving bamboo plantation with an almost 5000 hectares of land proposed to be planted with bamboo. The National Greening Program (NGP) of the DENR with its new family approach allowing families to establish plantations of bamboo and high value crops such as coffee or cacao that will serve as livelihood to people.

“Ceasing insurgencies in the country will let us take a ladder step up to peace and progress as we continue to give right services to people.AkapKapatid program brought light to unite people leaving lists of rebel in the community counts to zero,” said regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.


Flowers adorned the entrance way of the Aguillon-Cimatu residence in San Jose, Antique (left), showing how Fe Aguillon Cimatu is loved by so many especially of her own “kasimanwas”. One of the most admired general in the country, now DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu (right) looked solemn as he walked inside the San Jose Cathedral./DENR 6



She was the love of his life, his own brave soldier, his loyal companion. Until the day she had to bid him goodbye.

The beautiful and endearing Fe Aguillon Cimatu, wife to former general and today, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, quietly passed away on February 20, 2021 due to lingering illness.

Ma’am Fe, a native of San Jose, Antique, is Secretary Cimatu’s foremost cheerleader, consultant and critic, all rolled into one. She was the positive influence behind the big accomplishments he achieved while still in the military, as peace envoy and as DENR Secretary.

In his eulogy during the necrological service on February 25, 2021 at the couple’s residence in San Jose, Antique, Regional Executive Director Francisco “Toto” E. Milla, Jr. of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 6, said: “Behind the success of every man is a woman.” Milla noted how Ma’am Fe had served as the Secretary’s inspiration and the reason behind DENR’s success in environmental governance of the country by “making exemplary, radical changes for sustainable development.”

On a personal note, Milla reminisced the moments when Secretary Cimatu visits Region 6 together with Ma’am Fe, and how she took the initiative to book for their plane tickets, hotel room and fetched by her own family vehicle.

“As a wife of the highest official of DENR, she did not want to abuse her husband’s position by availing of government resources,” Milla said. “Truly, Ma’am Fe is a woman of integrity,” he added.

In his eulogy, Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, recounted his days with Ma’am Fe and how his ever supportive wife sacrificed a lot of things beginning after the wedding. He remembered how while still in honeymoon, he was called back to service. He was then assigned in Marawi, and he took Ma’am Fe with him. From there, they both journeyed in life together. She was always with him, a very supportive, loving companion who provided insights into the many things he planned to do.

As a tribute to her, he shared his lifetime award to Ma’am Fe as part of his eulogy during the necrological service. Cimatu’s lifetime award is a recognition of his 50 years in military service, foreign service and civil service.

The employees and officials of DENR offices nationwide deeply mourn and share the grief of Secretary Cimatu and of the Aguillon family. Nevertheless, Secretary Cimatu is intent on pursuing the many environmental projects he had started, especially in Western Visayas./DENR 6

Left: Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENR) Officer Salvador C. Manglinong, Jr., Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr., Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Officer Vicente T. Mellizas, Jr. of CENRO Guimbal and Engr. Noel Z. Hechanova, City ENR Officer inked the agreements during the MOA signing. Right: Signed MOAs were presented during the photo opportunity./DENR6


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region VI, represented by Regional Executive Director (RED) Francisco E. Milla, Jr., and the Iloilo City Government, represented by Mayor Jerry P. Treñas signed two (2) Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) for environmental protection and development of two areas in the city last February 17, 2021, at the Iloilo City Hall.

Under the MOA, the Thirty Five (35) hectares of forestland area located in Brgy.Hinactacan, Lapaz District will be protected and sustained as Eco-Park Development and Mangrove Management Rehabilitation, Protection and Enhancement Project or to be known as “Eco-Park 2”.

This will further help showcase the natural mangrove forests in the city as a social laboratory for marine and other wildlife management researches in the urban center.

The Agreement has a binding period of five years and may renew upon agreement of both parties.

A separate MOA was also signed for the development, management, protection and conservation of the Sixteen Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-Five (16,695) square meters coastal area along Brgy. Boulevard in Molo District.

This move is pursuant to Republic Act No. 4767, also known as “An Act Declaring the Boulevard, Public Lands Between It and the Shores and the Territorial Waters from the District of Molo to the District of Arevalo, Within the City of Iloilo, A City Park, to be known as Iloilo City Park” that was approved on June 18, 1966.

An Iloilo Botanical Garden and Biodiversity Conservation Park Project known as “Iloilo City Park” will be implemented in the area. It will also showcase the marine and terrestrial biodiversity, especially those endemic in the area.

This agreement has a binding period of Fifteen (15) years and may renew upon mutual agreement of the parties.

The DENR 6 shall provide technical assistance to Iloilo City Government in the conduct of survey, mapping and demarcation of the areas, and also conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of the project to ensure that its implementation is strictly in accordance with the existing environmental laws, rules and regulation.

These projects will also allow for collaboration with other national government agencies or private organizations for the development of the area compliant with the approved Area Development and Management Plan.

Cutting of trees, gathering and collecting of wildlife species are prohibited except for scientific/research study with an issued permit from the Department. The areas will also be prohibited from any encroachment and other illegal activities.

Over all, these agreements ensure the commitment of local government units towards the protection and improvement of forest cover, restore ecological balance, enhance our biodiversity and adapt ecotourism in these areas for leisure purposes.

These will also help increase carbon sequestration, coastal protection for storm surges and act as wind breakers that helps mitigate the impacts of climate change and to promote research and education for learners especially on the habitat of coastal and marine species in the said areas.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENR) Officer Salvador C. Manglinong, Jr., Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Officer Vicente T. Mellizas, Jr. and City ENR Officer Engr. Noel Z. Hechanova witnessed the MOA signing.

“Iloilo City is indeed a vibrant liveable city not just rich in culture, but also with its coastal and marine resources. It is important to preserve and protect these natural resources before it’s too late,” said regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

The DENR is mandated to conserve, develop, protect and regulate the utilization of the environment and natural resources of the country for the benefit of the present and future generations. These mandates are reflected in the priority programs and projects of the Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu./DENR6

A team from Conservation and Development Division (CDD) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 was fortunate to have spotted the Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) for the second time during the conduct of the bird watching and bird counting activity at Hinactacan wetlands in La Paz district and in Tubigan, Zarraga, Iloilo province, respectively.

On February 2, the Glossy ibis, a very rarely seen migratory bird in the country was found feeding, wading and flapping its wings in the wetlands of Hinactacan, La Paz district during the bird watching activity in celebration of the World Wetlands Day.

The first sighting of this ibis bird species in Hinactacan, Lapaz was documented last November 29, 2020. That was the first time it was seen in Panay Island.

It is a wading bird with a global range that is mostly widespread of all ibis species but very rarely observed in the Philippines. It is considered as Least Concern (LC) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

Aside from the Glossy ibis, other migratory birds seen in the wetlands of Hinactacan are the Intermediate egret (Ardea intermedia), Black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Philippine duck (Anas luzonica), Moorhen (Gallinula), Whiskered tern (Chlidonias hybrida), Common tern (Sterna hirundo), Wandering whistling duck (Dendrocygna arcuata), Great egret (Ardea alba), Purple heron (Ardea purpurea) and Kingfisher (Alcedinidae).

The team proceeded to another wetland in Tubigan and were able to identify migratory birds feeding in the area. These birds were the Black-winged stilt, Grey heron (Ardea cinerea), Wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola), Little egret (Egretta garzetta), Perigrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Common tern (Sterna hirundo), Great egret and Purple heron.

This year’s theme for World Wetlands Day is: “Wetlands and Water” and highlights wetlands as a source of freshwater. In line with this, the DENR in Western Visayas encourages people to take actions to restore and stop wetland loss.

We are now facing a rising freshwater crisis that threatens people, animals including these migratory birds, living organisms and the planet as we use more freshwater than what nature can replenish.

This year’s campaign focuses on the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on our planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence that is vital to life, well-being and health of the planet.

“This year’s World Wetlands Day is made extra special due to the second recorded stopover of Glossy ibis, a migratory bird that very rarely visits the country. It was found feeding and foraging in one of the wetlands here in Iloilo City. It only shows we have healthy wetlands in the city and we encourage everyone to help preserve theseprecious natural resource,” said regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

Clean water and enhanced biodiversity conservation are among the priority programs and projects of theDENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu./DENR6