Press Releases

Philippines is a diverse country with rich ecosystems that serve as habitats of endemic species of flora and fauna. Such bountiful natural resources however, are facing environmental changes brought about by exploitation such as poaching, deforestation, land degradation through conversion for other usage, climate change and pollution.

The task on environmental protection is gargantuan in scale and expanse. The Asian Development Bank estimated the amount incurred in illegal wildlife trade in the country at P50 billion a year. In Region 6, the DENR was able to apprehend and confiscate illegally transported forest products that amount to millions. Cases with other regions are far tougher.

Recognizing this threat, the Philippine government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is pushing for the creation of an Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB) that shall pursue the stringent implementation of environmental laws, policies, rules and regulations with the assistance of personnel from the military, police, the National Bureau of Investigation and government prosecutors.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu saw the need to form EPEB as the DENR lacks personnel similar to police, intelligence officers specifically handling enforcement. “We have laws but we had a hard time implementing them,” said Cimatu. In giving the financial support it needs, Cimatu proposed funding increase for the Department which include P1.2 billion for the EPEB. “With our own enforcement bureau, the DENR could effectively enforce environmental laws and protect its workers who have been vicious targets of illegal loggers and other environmental criminals,” he added.

On February 19-20, 2020, Iloilo City will host the Strategic Planning Workshop on Environmental Protection and Enforcement.

Undersecretary for Enforcement and Muslim Affairs, Jim O. Sampulna leads the conduct of the workshop in order to review, assess and set policy directions in the implementation and presentation of the proposed bill that would create the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB). The event will gather the Department’s undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, bureau directors, regional executive directors, assistant regional directors for technical services, PENRO’s, Chief Enforcement Division and Chairman of National Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee-Sub-Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (NALECC-SCENR) as participants.

The Bureau is seen to empower the arrest and prosecution of environmental criminals, apprehend and confiscate timber and forest products without license, and destroy illegal structures occupying forest lands without authority to include paraphernalia and conveyances. These are in line with President Duterte’s zero to 10-point socioeconomic agenda, particularly, peace and order.

It also aims to curb illegal mining, illegal logging, smuggling and trading of wildlife species and other environmental crimes that risk our biodiversity and destroys our protected areas, the habitat of the threatened species.

In Western Visayas, there are a total of 235 Lawin Patrollers, composed of forest rangers, forest protection officers, forest technicians and park foreman patrolling the timberland including the 14 protected areas, five are legislated and eight are under initial component of Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas (E-NIPAS). The teams were able to patrol a total of 8,745.65 kilometers for CY 2019.

"Their presence in forest areas served as deterrence to illegal activities, which advanced the protection of our rich natural resources in the region,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.


29 Jan 2020 Wetlands Day

            Tomorrow, the 7th Ramsar Site in the Philippines, the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (NOCWCA) shall be the venue for the World Wetlands Day.

            The event adopted the theme: “Wetlands and Biodiversity,” with participants to converge at San Enrique, Negros Occidental.

            NOCWCA covers the municipalities of Pulupandan, Valladolid, San Enrique, Pontevedra, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, Ilog and the cities of Bago, Kabankalan and Himamaylan. It has one of the richest and most diverse coastal resources, particularly mangroves and a habitat of economically important species such as oysters, green mussels, nylon shells, angel wings shells, shrimps and crabs.

            It is also an abode to three species of globally threatened marine turtles such as  Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), considered Critically Endangered (CR); Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Endangered (EN); Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) as Vulnerable (VU) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris), considered Endangered (EN), migrates across its coastal areas at certain period of the year.

            The celebration aims to draw attention of promoting biodiversity conservation and its importance in the ecosystem. It shall cover several activities such as bird watching during the early hours of the day in the wetlands of San Enrique, Powerpoint presentation and showing of videos about the importance of wetlands and sustaining the use of natural resources, and another bird watching before the dusk. The participants are accompanied by a bird field guide to spot the different species of waterbirds using the spotting scope and binoculars.

            The NOCWCA is also a haven for at least 73 species of waterbirds flocking in its prolific wetlands, including the five globally threatened and two globally near-threatened species. Recently, it has three additional species namely: Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), Eurasian wigeons (Anas penelope) and the world’s most critically endangered shorebird species – the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Callidris pygmea).

            Wetlands are areas covered by water that play a vital role in the regulation of global nitrogen cycle and also serve as a carbon sink. It helps in mitigating climate change and reducing risks and hazards from tsunamis, storm surges and cyclones. It also supports biological diversity and are recognized as the most productive habitats on earth with its vegetative surface to aquatic plants, thereby supporting diverse kinds of life.

            Although wetlands abundance is in peril due to the continuous degradation of the remaining wetlands caused by human or natural occurrences, there’s a hope to restore and protect the remaining wetlands.

            “It is important to protect and preserve our wetlands here in Western Visayas, not only because it is a home to wide range species of plants and water animals, but to sustain the livelihood of people that live near the wetlands. It helps in keeping the water quality clean as they filter chemicals from agricultural runoff before it reaches the open water,” said DENR Region 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

            Wetlands protection and conservation supports the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, which is one of the top ten DENR priority programs and projects of the Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

27 Jan 2020 migratory waterbirds

Left photo: The staff of CENRO Guimbal used binoculars and spotting scope as they count waterbirds flocking in a wetland at Hinactacan, La Paz, Iloilo City. Upper right photo: Flock of Egret birds captured through the spotting scope. Lower right photo: An osprey seen from afar in Katunggan Park at Sito Panus-on, Nabitasan, Leganes.


             A total of Two Thousand Six Hundred Ten (2,610) waterbirds were seen flocking in five wetlands here in Iloilo during the Annual Waterbird Census conducted by Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)-Guimbal Wildlife Conservation Section and Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit.

            Different migratory waterbirds with diverse colors and features were sighted in the wetlands located at Barangays of Sooc and San Jose in Arevalo District, Hinactacan in La Paz District, Bitoon in Jaro District and at Katunggan Park in Sitio Panus-on, Nabitasan, Leganes last January 4,7-10, 2020.

            The team of CENRO Guimbal used binoculars and a spotting scope to sight and count the migratory waterbirds bound to save their own species by looking for temporary habitat to feed and breed.

            Twenty-five (25) species of migratory birds namely Black-winged Stilt, Purple Heron, Whistling Duck, Marsh Sandpiper, Javan Pond Heron, Common Kingfisher, Whiskered Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, White-browed Crake, Moorhen, Whimbrel, White- collared Kingfisher, Sea Collared Kingfisher, Redshank, Common Greenshank, Grey Heron, Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Philippine Duck, Northern Pintail, Wandering Whistling-duck, Asian House Martin and Osprey took their annual escape from the winter in temperate regions.

            Here in the Philippines, the peak months for birds migrating to the south are usually during September to November, while those travelling to the north often occurs between February and April.

            Wetlands play various roles in the protection of our environment by reducing the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. It serves as a safe haven for different species of migratory birds in search for their food, temporary home and breeding grounds.

            Migratory birds are often threatened by human activities through the conversion of ecosystems for development purposes. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) closely work with organizations of bird watchers and other wildlife enthusiasts to protect migratory bird sites.

            Wetlands are rich in natural resources. It also protects the birds as well as the people in the community. “It is important to conserve the wetlands as they become a transitory abode to migratory birds. We aim for more prolific wetlands that may incline migration of birds to the areas. This can be another ecotourism attractions in the City of Love,” said Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr. of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 6.


22 Jan 2020 Clean Air

The DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) continuously monitors the quality of air within the city and other provinces. Above photo shows the Leganes AAQMS (Manual PMS PM10 & PM2.5)  on the left and the La Paz AAQMS (TSP High Volume) on the right./EMB 6



             What is clean air? Well, it is the air that has no harmful levels of pollutants.

             As the cities and industries around the country increase in number, however, clean air has become polluted that it was necessary for the Philippine government to pass a law that would ensure safe air for Filipinos to breathe in.

            The passage of the Philippine Clean Air Act (RA 8749) on June 23, 1999, provides for a comprehensive air pollution control policy, as it outlines the government’s measures to reduce air pollution by including environmental protection activities into its development plans. It has adopted the “polluters pay principle” and other market-based instruments to promote self-regulation among the population. Emission standards are set for all motor vehicles and had issued pollutant limitations among industries. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources through its Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) is leading the strict implementation of the Clean Air Act.

            DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu listed Clean Air as his number one priority among the ten priority programs the Department is pursuing under his careful watch. “Intensive enforcement will continue to be a tool used by the DENR to carry out its mandate for the people, to improve the quality of air we breathe,” Cimatu said.

            How does air pollution affect humans? Studies show that air pollution is one of the causes of cardiopulmonary diseases and the increase in air pollution-related deaths. Moreover, air pollution can weaken the body’s defenses against assorted viruses and bacteria. It impacts on one’s health – from becoming sluggish to acquiring deadly diseases, such as lung cancer.

            When air is polluted, it is laden with Particulate Matter (PM) called PM10 or PM2.5. PM is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets. Some particles found in polluted air are dirt, dust, soot, smoke but are dark enough and can be seen with the naked eye. Others such as airborne microbes and chemicals can only be detected by using an electron microscope.

             PM10 are inhalable particles with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller, and PM2.5 are fine inhalable particles with diameters ranging from 2.5 micrometers and smaller.

             Breathing clean air upholds human rights to life and good health and their right to live in a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The DENR supports the country’s economic development while balancing it with the need to keep our environment sustainable.

            “There is such thing as ‘tolerable level’ of air pollution where we can still breathe just fine. But we would rather see Western Visayas achieve really clean air for all. With strict compliance of industries to clean air standards, and prudence from motorists who primarily contribute to air pollution from mobile sources, we can enjoy clean air,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.



Dinagyang Festival is known for its colorful costumes, great dance performances and infectious fun and laughter. It is the most awaited festivity every year Ilonggos and foreign tourists looked forward to. This year, the city government is making great strides in achieving a clean festival./(photos by Marc Lozano)


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 is batting for a clean 2020 Dinagyang Festival, confident that the city will live up to its goal to become one of the cleanest city in the Philippines.

With the upcoming Dinagyang Festival dubbed as Dinagyang 360, events such as religious sadsad (January 25), food festival (January 23-26), and the Dagyang sa Calle Real (January 25) are seen to generate tons of wastes and will pose the challenge of cleaning up for the city’s General Services Office (GSO).

“The responsibility of being clean during the festivity does not lie on the city government alone. It is time every individual – Iloilo residents and tourists alike, must take it upon themselves to be clean as they join Dinagyang Festival,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

Last 2019 Dinagyang Festival, the GSO has collected twenty four (24) trucks of garbage with an estimated total weight between 70 to 80 tons of wastes.

Proper solid waste management program is among the top three of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s priority programs. “We should teach our children how to segregate wastes and properly disposed it. We should say no to single use plastics as much as possible,” he told DENR employees during one of his visits.

On Monday, January 13, 2020, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas led the signing of a commitment
they call CLAYGO or Clean As You Go, which campaigns for a clean Dinagyang Festival 2020. The commitment was also signed by all employees of the city government.

“This is good news to us and we hope that all Ilonggos and others who will have fun joining the Dinagyang Festival will support this move. If all local government units and the people work together for a clean environment, this makes it easy for us to implement the provisions of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act or the RA 9003,” RED Milla added.