Press Releases

In celebration of the Environment Month, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) conducted a tour of its headquarters in the National Ecology Center in Quezon City for its stakeholders and other government agencies.

The new office, a leading example of the "Green Building Revolution", is considered as the first-ever Philippine structure to be accredited as a "Green Building" after passing the stringent international standards set by the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) in conjunction with the Green Buildings Council of the Philippines.

"This Green Building is LLDA's share in the protection of our environment and defines the very purpose of our work and mission, "Ibalik ang Luntiang Yaman at Diwa ng Lawa". It is a testimony of our commitment to preserve and protect the Earth and its ecosystems," said Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and LLDA General Manager J.R. Nereus O. Acosta.

Designed by Architect Cascante, the two four-storey buildings interconnected by bridge ways on all levels, are "energy-efficient, climate-smart, ecologically adaptive and occupant-friendly", according to Acosta.

It stands on 3,021 sq. m of land with a gross floor area of 5,600 sq.m.

Its 149 sq. m. green roof planted with plants and small trees reduces the building's footprint or the area of the slab by 11%.

Acosta added that the building orientation of having the longest sides at the east-west axis minimizes heat gain and captures wind from the northeastern, southwestern and southeastern sides thus promoting natural ventilation in 86% of the total gross floor area.

Double low-emitting glass windows with argon gas boost energy efficiency and insulated walls prevent heat absorption thus rooms are cooler and air conditioning units do not have to be set very low.

"As a result of all these combined features, only 49% of our gross floor area require air-conditioning and we have reduced our power consumption by 12.5%. This definitely reduces our carbon footprint and in a way supports the Philippines' commitment in the Paris Agreement to help reduce global temperature rise by below 1.5 degrees Celcius."

The new headquarters also has its own waste water treatment facility. Water from the comfort rooms and sinks is recycled by passing through the aerated tank, reed bed, polishing pond and is finally collected in the constructed wetland. Natural plants and microorganisms in the wetland allow natural cleansing of the water which can be used to water plants.

Aside from the wetland, the building also has three (3) rainwater harvesting tanks with a capacity of 1,000 gallons each. After filtration, the collected water is used to flush toilets and urinals.

"The wetland and rainwater catchment has reduced our water consumption by 20%. This and the reduction in power consumption resulted to considerable savings for the office," said Acosta.

Pervious pavements, a materials recovery facility, solar-assisted air conditioning units, LED lighting for the entire building are the other green building features that the agency has employed.

"All these features put together translate to pleasant working conditions, increased efficiency and improved productivity for all our employees," he remarked. "These have put our office building in harmony with nature and our environment."

The LLDA Headquarters has received the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System certification in November 24, 2015.

BERDE is the National Voluntary Green Building Rating System in the Philippines developed by the Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC). The system is used to measure, verify, and monitor the environmental performance of buildings that exceed existing mandatory regulations and standards.###

A state-of-the-art forest nursery with the capacity to produce up to 30 million tree seedlings a year, will soon rise in the province of Laguna, which is home to the country’s premier institution of higher learning in forestry and environmental management.

This was after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently signed an agreement with the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) in Laguna to construct a P27.5-million Modern Mechanized Forest Nursery. The project is set to be completed within the year.

The agreement was in line with the implementation of a five-year project called “Integrated Research and Development Grant for High Value Forest Crops” that aims to produce high quality seeds to be used in the government’s National Greening Program (NGP).

NGP is the flagship reforestation program of the Aquino administration that aims to cover 1.5 million hectares of denuded forestland by the end of 2016.

However, the program was extended until 2028 by virtue of an executive order issued by President Benigno Aquino III to cover the remaining 7.1 million hectares of unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands nationwide, which can contribute to environment-related risks such as soil erosion, landslides and flooding.

UP President Alfredo Pascual and DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones led the groundbreaking rites last week for the construction of the forest nursery, pursuant to a memorandum of agreement (MOA) earlier signed by Pascual and DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje.

According to Paje, the MOA was in keeping with the DENR’s push to tap biotechnology in the production of quality planting materials as a strategy to boost the NGP’s performance.

“We once more demonstrate our strong partnership through this endeavor,” Paje said, adding that the initiative was “another testament to invaluable role the UP system has played in the DENR’s efforts to raise the performance standards for its workers.”

In January, the DENR and UP launched the UP Program for Environmental Governance (UPPEG), a five-week intensive training meant to enhance the capacity of provincial and community environment and natural resources officers on environmental governance. The program consisted of six learning modules and involved 22 ranking UP professors as lecturers.

Under the latest DENR-UP collaboration, the DENR will fund the construction and operation of the mechanized nursery, situated on a three-hectare area within UP-Los Baños.

At the heart of the facility is the “seeder building,” which would process the sowing of seeds into the styro-blocks propagation container with customized seed pads, and treated through a misting area for watering before they are placed into the greenhouse.

There are also “growing areas” to be built in the area, consisting of greenhouses equipped with misting devices and other facilities that helps in the germination process of the germinants, commonly known as “sprouts.”

The “hardening area” is where gradual exposure of the seedlings into full sunlight is conducted to ensure the sturdiness and high-quality planting materials before they are planted into selected planting sites.

Once fully operational, the mechanized nursery is expected to produce and accommodate up to 30 million seedlings a year, depending on the variety of seedlings grown. ###

The Philippines, through the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) plays host to the 10th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Social Forestry Network or ASFN in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan from June 14-16, 2016.

“The Philippines was accorded the honor to host and chair this year’s ASFN meeting by Myanmar during the 9th ASFN meeting held last year in Inle Lake, Shah State, as part of the agreement among ASEAN member states that the hosting and chairmanship of the ASFN meeting shall be rotational and in an alphabetical order,” Forest Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon said.

Calderon said that ASFN is a government driven social forestry network in Southeast Asia with the main goal to strengthen ASEAN cooperation in Social Forestry through the sharing of information and knowledge.

He also said that ASFN links government forestry policy makers directly with network members from civil society, research organizations, academe, private sectors and experts of related fields.

“ASFN supports the development of the ASEAN Community,” Calderon stressed.

Expected to attend the 10th Annual ASFN Meeting are delegates from 10 ASEAN Member States including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam to be headed by their respective ASOF/ASFN Leaders and Focal Points.

Representative of the Implementing Partners of ASFN such as the Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC) Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Program (NTFP-EP), World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), and the Southeast Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) are joining the meeting.

The agenda of the meeting include discussions on ASEAN Cooperation in Forestry, Promoting Policy and Practice of Social Forestry including reports by ASEAN Member States and Implementing Partners and development of Strategic Plan of Action of ASFN to support ASEAN and Global objectives.

The establishment of ASFN was endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) during their 8th Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in August 2005. ###

Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has commended the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) for coming up with a reference manual on reforestation, saying it could be a useful tool for the highly acclaimed National Greening Program (NGP) and other reforestation projects of the government.

The three-part module titled “A Field Manual on Forest Reforestation Using Indigenous Species” provides a step by step guide to reforestation and forest management practice.

“Through the reforestation manual, we hope that more people in our partner agencies will learn new and innovative approaches on planting trees that will continue the NGP’s success,” Paje said.

NGP, which is mainly implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is the flagship reforestation program of the Aquino administration that seeks to cover 1.5 million hectares with trees by the end of 2016.

However, President Aquino issued in November last year Executive Order No. 193 creating the Expanded NGP that aims to reforest “all remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands” by 2028.

“The reforestation manual serves as the compass to lead the participants of NGP to efficiently achieve the necessary targets that will eventually culminate as another achievement for DENR and its partners,” Paje said.

EDC, the largest producer of geothermal energy in the country, has been a partner of the DENR since 2011 in the implementation of the company’s own reforestation program called BINHI.

BINHI, a main strategic partner of the NGP, involves rescuing and securing endangered plant species by planting mother trees and producing even more seeds.

Negros, Leyte, Albay, Sorsogon, Cotabato, and Nueva Ecija are just some of the host provinces of BINHI, which main objective is to plant 1,000 seedlings every year for 10 years.

Published by the Visayas State University, the manual’s three modules contain basic guidelines and strategies on how to conduct a successful reforestation activity in a certain area with different conditions.

According to EDC president Richard Tantoco, the manual was drawn from the experiences of their employees who have implemented the BINHI program, together with the best practices in reforestation from national and international perspectives. ###

Government regulators and their partners for clean air are holding their annual forum from June 14 to June 15 and will attempt to discuss ways to have effective airshed governing boards in responding to the air pollution problem.

Now on its 8th year, the Clean Air Forum was established to review on a yearly basis the progress of implementation of Republic Act No. 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act. This year’s theme is, “Effective Airshed Governing Board: A Response to Air Pollution.”

The event is a joint undertaking of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Partnership for Clean Air Inc. (PCA), a multi-sectoral coalition of clean air advocates whom the DENR has engaged since 2009 to advance the effective and meaningful implementation of the law.It will be held at the DENR Social Hall, DENR Compund, Visayas Ave., Diliman in Quezon City.

Expected to address the forum are DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, Department of Transportation and Communications Assistant Secretary Sherielysse Bonifacion, Executive Director Bjarne of the Clean Air Asia.

The highlight of the two-day forum is the implementation of the NCR Airshed Governing Board Action Plan, which will tackle five different issues/concerns such as: Transport Modernization, Local Government Unit Concerns and Organizational Matters, Private Emission Testing Centers / Smoke Belching, New Year Air Pollution, and Technologies for Clean Air.

The forum also aims to discuss at some detail, the Transport Modernization Program, particularly in the areas of Euro 4 Emission Standards, Euro 4 Specifications for Fuels, and Euro 4 Specifications for New Vehicles. Institutions such as the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR, the Department of Energy, and the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. are giving presentations of their respective inputs in this regard .###