Press Releases

Amid the growing threats and likely impacts of climate change to oceans, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has called on the public to do their part in protecting the country’s waters through active participation in coastal and marine conservation.

The DENR made the appeal as the country marks the 17th year of the Month of the Ocean this May with the theme “Biodiversity for Food and SeaCUREity,” which is a timely reminder how climate change has wreaked havoc on the world’s marine life.

Temperature increase has warmed the ocean floor and caused the death of corals that are vital to marine life and food security.

Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said the DENR, for its part, has increased efforts to scale up “green” infrastructure, conduct scientific assessment and capacitate communities which are at the forefront of biodiversity conservation.

He said the agency will also embark on a nationwide coral restoration program and improve its reforestation projects, notably the National Greening Program.

“Aside from this, the country has already received considerable foreign assistance in the last five years to scale up protected area management effectiveness,” Paje said.

“This supports the capacity development needs for protected area management, as well as augment the financing of priority activities,” he added.

Just recently, the DENR established the Sustainable Coral Reef Ecosystem Management Program (SCREMP) in Albay province to help combat the alarming effects of climate change to Philippine waters.

The program aims to raise public awareness and social environmental consciousness on the value of coral reefs and associated coastal and marine ecosystems to mitigate the impact of climate change.

SCREMP will promote sustainable management of coastal and marine resources, including biodiversity, through habitat protection, conservation and rehabilitation.

This month, the Philippines also joins the world in celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, with the theme "Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Sustaining People and their Livelihoods."

The event aims to inform the public on the relevance of biological diversity in sustaining people and livelihoods within biodiversity-rich areas. Women’s groups will showcase their biodiversity-friendly enterprises and livelihood and products and services.

The Philippines is one of the world's 17 megabiodiverse countries and is home to 70 to 80 percent of the entire planet’s biodiversity. The more than 7,100 islands in the country harbor some of the richest ecosystems and species in the world.

Scientists have noted that there is a higher concentration of species per unit area in the Philippines than anywhere else in the world.

It has over 6,000 plant species, over 530 bird species, at least 165 mammal species, 235 reptile species, nearly 90 amphibian species, and more than 280 freshwater species of fish. It also has a high percentage of flora and fauna endemism.

Underscoring the importance of national parks and protected areas in the conservation of the country’s rich biodiversity, the DENR pushed for the passage of the Enhanced National Integrated Protected Areas System or ENIPAS in Congress during the past three years.

The ENIPAS will set the boundaries of protected areas and their classification as national parks consistent with the concept of ecosystem-based adaptation, one of the ways the Philippines could comply with the Paris climate accord and achieve the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.

Pending approval of ENIPAS, Paje said the DENR, through the BMB, has already prioritized site-scale conservation and management, and delineated all protected areas under the existing NIPAS law.

As a party to the Paris Agreement, Paje said the Philippines not only committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 2030, but also pledged to adopt measures to empower communities, enhance systems to reduce disaster risks and improve natural ecosystems resilience.

The Month of the Ocean is celebrated by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 57 series of 1999 and the International Day for Biological Diversity was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 2000.

Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has hailed the enactment of a law promoting the creation of “green jobs” or employment activities that contribute substantially to preserving the quality of the environment.

“This law will shore up support to our commitment to the Paris Agreement to work with the United Nations and other countries against global warming,” Paje said, referring to Republic Act (RA) 10771, or the Philippine Green Jobs Act of 2016, which President Aquino signed into law on April 29.

“It cements our pledge to pursue policies that would make communities climate change adaptive and resilient,” he added.

The Paris Agreement is the new global climate accord dealing with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. It was negotiated and adopted by representatives of over 190 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015.

The agreement was opened for signature on April 22, Earth Day, and has so far been signed by 177 countries, including the Philippines. President Aquino had designated Paje to sign the Paris deal for and on behalf of the Philippines at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

RA 10771 defines “green jobs” as employment that contributes to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment, be it in the agriculture industry or services sector.

It includes those that help protect the ecosystems and biodiversity, reduce energy, material and water consumption through high efficiency strategies, decarbonize the economy, and minimize or avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.

The law grants businesses special tax deductions from their taxable income and duty-free importation of capital equipment on top of the fiscal and non-fiscal incentives already provided for by existing laws, orders, issuances and regulations of the government to encourage them to help generate and sustain “green jobs.”

It will also not diminish or limit the incentives granted by prevailing laws like the Philippine Clean Water Act (RA 9275), the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003), and the Philippine Clean Air Act (RA8749).

According to Paje, RA 10771 is expected to “propel the delivery of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce by 70 percent our GHG by 2030 compared to 2000 which will come from the waste management sector.”

“In the long-term, this will greatly benefit countries like the Philippines which are most vulnerable to climate change,” he added. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has designated two river systems with important cultural heritage value as water quality management areas (WQMAs), a move that is expected to boost the tourism industry in the cities of Baguio and Naga.

By virtue of two separate administrative orders signed by Environment Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje on April 18, the Bued River System in Northern Luzon and the Naga River in Camarines Sur have been added to the list of WQMAs now numbering 23.

Paje said that securing the integrity of the two river systems not only ensures the sustainable supply of water for areas the two rivers traverse, but will also “boost the local tourism in these places known for their rich cultural and historical heritage.”

“Ensuring the water quality of Naga River will help enhance the city as a tourist destination, since it is home of the Peñafrancia fluvial procession,” the environment chief said.

He also noted that the preservation of Bued River will safeguard the image of Kennon Road, one of the vital roads that connect Baguio City and the towns of Tuba and Itogon in Benguet province, which are major tourist destinations in the north.

A major source of water for agriculture and aquaculture, Bued River runs through 25 barangays in Baguio City and the municipalities of Itogon and Tuba in Benguet before it drains toward Rosario town in La Union, and the municipalities of Sison, San Fabian, San Jacinto and Mangaldan in Pangasinan via the historic 30-km Kennon Road.

According to Paje, the designation of Naga River as WQMA will pave the way for the proposed Naga River Watershed, which covers some 7,686 hectares of drainage area spanning 25 barangays in Naga City and two others in Pili town.

Paje said the WQMA designation aims to beef up the protection initiatives of the Naga River Development Council and in support of the Naga River Revitalization Project.

Under the Clean Water Act, the DENR, in coordination with the National Water Resources Board, is mandated to designate certain areas as WQMAs using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed, river basins, or water resources regions to effectively enforce its provisions and improve the water quality of water bodies.

The law seeks to provide a decentralized management system for water quality protection and improvement of river systems.

Likewise, the DENR is tasked to create a governing board for each WQMA, which is chaired by a regional director of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Its members include the mayor and governor of the concerned local government unit and representatives of relevant national government agencies, duly registered non-government organizations, and business and water utility sectors.

The governing board serves as a planning, monitoring and coordinating body. It also reviews the WQMA action plan prepared by the EMB.

The DENR and the stakeholders address the water quality problems, sources of pollution, and the beneficial use of the receiving water body. They also determine what control measures to institute to effectively achieve water quality objectives or improvements. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) and three other organizations for the second Sarihay Media Awards aimed to recognize journalists for excellence in covering environment stories.

The partnership was sealed through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed recently by the DENR, FPE, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, Tanggol Kalikasan and the Miriam College Environmental Institute.

Representatives from these organizations will comprise the Technical Review committee tasked to oversee the event and acknowledge outstanding environmental media practitioners who “promote the preservation of Mother Earth and the protection of mankind through responsible and fearless news reporting on print, TV, radio and internet.”

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the DENR and fellow organizers of the Sarihay Media Awards want to give due recognition to media practitioners, who through their exemplary work, place environment and sustainable development issues at the forefront of news stories.

“These men and women are game-changers and the Sarihay Media Awards confirm their invaluable contribution as stewards of God’s creation,” Paje said, acknowledging media’s role in the pursuit of DENR’s mandates.

“Media have boosted my department’s thrust and advocacies, part of which is to shift the citizenry’s mindset to being co-responsible for the protection of our environment,” he said.

Lawyer Marina Rabe, executive director of Tanggol Kalikasan, said the awards hopes to encourage more writers, reporters and bloggers “to continue bringing the often overlooked environmental protection and biodiversity conservation issues to the attention of the government, decision-makers and the public to raise awareness and understanding on these concerns.”

FPE executive director Godofredo Villapando Jr. urged all Filipino media practitioners and bloggers to submit their entries on environmental issues published, aired or posted from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015 to qualify for the competition. A total of 15 awards will be handed out during the awarding ceremony to be held in June.

“We encourage journalists to send in their stories and documentaries. This year, we are expecting more entries of truly inspiring and compelling materials,” Villapando said.

He added: “We envision the Sarihay to be the highest showcase for environmental journalists and broadcasters.”

Winners will each receive a plaque, cash prize and an exposure trip to an FPE-supported project area.

FPE is a non-profit organization working with the government, private sector, and civil society towards effective biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Through its grants and programs across the country, it envisions communities caring responsibly and living fully in harmony with their environment.

For more details about the 2nd Sarihay Media Awards, those interested may contact the Secretariat at 927-21-86, 926-96-29, and mobile # 0916-313-97-94, log on to or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has expressed its gratitude to the Supreme Court for issuing a circular that is seen to speed up the litigation of environment cases.

“We want to thank the Supreme Court for issuing Circular 87-2016. This will definitely hasten the prosecution of hundreds of cases filed against violators of environmental laws, particularly illegal loggers,” Environment Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said.

The circular, issued on April 4 through the Office of the Court Administrator, directed all judges to strictly observe laws prohibiting the issuance of injunctions against violators of environmental laws.

It cited Section 10 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, which provides that only the SC can issue a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against unlawful actions of government agencies that enforce environmental laws.

Since the imposition of the total log ban in 2011, the DENR has already filed a total of 1,833 cases against suspected violators of forestry laws and regulations. So far, the agency was able to secure the conviction of 214 respondents.

Meanwhile, lawyer Mike Matias of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) said the circular is consistent with the 1991 SC decision on the case of Pollution Adjudication Board vs. Court of Appeals and Solar Textile Finishing Corp.

In that ruling, the high tribunal said: “Stopping the continuous discharge of pollutive and untreated effluents into the rivers and other inland waters of the Philippines cannot be made to wait until protracted litigation over the ultimate correctness or propriety of such orders has run its full course, including multiple and sequential appeal… which may take several years.”

Through the EMB, the DENR enforces environmental laws including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. ###