Regional Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 now have fifteen (15) Protected Areas and six of those were legislated, with the recent proclamation of Sicogon Island Wildlife Sanctuary (SIWS), which was added in the category of wildlife sanctuary under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).

Republic Act (RA) 11933 or the Sicogon Island Wildlife Sanctuary Act, described the area as located in the northern part of Iloilo within the municipality of Carles and with a total land area of 283 hectares, composed of two parcels (Parcel 1 with 251 has. and Parcel 2 with 32 has.) spanning the three Brgys. of Buaya, San Fernando and Alipata, Sicogon Island.

“Having established its popularity since the early 70s, many tourists both local and international have been visiting Sicogon Island and this calls for the need to protect and properly manage the flora and fauna population which are native and distinct in the island,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

“The enactment of RA 11933 was sponsored by Senator Cynthia A. Villar and one of the proponents of House Bill 9328 is our 5th District Representative Raul C. Tupas. With this, the DENR 6 and other stakeholders, are now given assurance of the conservation, protection, management and rehabilitation of the Sicogon Island Wildlife Sanctuary (SIWS),” he added.

Based on the Protected Area Suitability Assessments (PASA) conducted by DENR 6’s Conservation and Development Division (CDD), there are two additional areas in the region aside from Sicogon Island which possess the characteristics worthy of becoming legislated Protected Area in the near future. Once legislated, the concerned Protected Area is given the necessary funding for their sustainable protection. The DENR CDD 6 team is still working on it for those potential areas for their legislation as protected area.

Sicogon Island has an estimated area if 1,160 hectares, it has twelve fresh water springs which are the source of drinking water and day to day use of the estimated 5,238 residents.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Community ENR Office of Cadiz City together with the City ENR Office of Escalante rescued male Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) at Guiwanon, Old Poblacion, Escalante City on August 01, 2022. Both teams together with the Bantay Dagat released the turtle in Escalante Bay Marine Sanctuary after securing it’s in good condition.

The turtle was reported to the City ENRO of Escalante by a concerned citizen on July 31, 2022. It was found out to be wounded and unable to swim after it was accidentally entangled in a fisherman’s net.

Green Sea turtle is one of the largest sea turtles and the only herbivore among the different species and is classified as Endangered (EN) species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Aside from bees, land and water animals, flying foxes too, play an important role in seed dispersal and pollination. As such, they keep native forests healthy. What makes flying foxes unique in this regard is that they are highly mobile and moved seeds locally and over great distances.

A conservation forum on Flying-foxes was conducted from July 1-6, 2022 at Mambukal Resort and Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is situated in Murcia municipality where Flying-foxes also inhabit.

Organized by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) of the DENR together with the Mabuwaya Foundation Inc. and the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. (PhilBio), the Forum also discussed practices that support Flying-fox conservation and regulate hunting of the species and establish standard monitoring protocols for flying fox roost site counts.

In Negros Occidental, Flying-foxes have sites in Hinoba-an, Murcia, San Carlos and Sagay Marine Reserve. In Mambukal, at least three species have been identified, namely: Golden-crowned Flying-fox, large Flying-fox and the common island Flying-fox.

Governor Eugenio Jose "Bong" V. Lacson and Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services, Raul Lorilla gave their messages during the opening program of the National Workshop on Flying-fox.

Also present were OIC-PENRO Joan Nathaniel F. Gerangaya, CDS Chief Rosie Pablico and invited participants to the workshop composed of experts involved in the flying fox conservation in the country, DENR focal persons and local stakeholders.

The partners and beneficiaries of ProCoast Project, implemented in the Philippines through the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), explored Taklong Island National Marine Reserve (TINMR) last July 5, 2022.

The event was part of the 4-day learning visit of replicate sites in Region VI assisted by ProCoast, and was attended by partners from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), delegates from DENR-BMB, DENR-FASP, DENR Regional Office VI, implementers and practitioners of locally-managed MPAs from Region VII, and representatives from the academe.

PENR Officer For. Edgardo Rostata spearheaded the activity, which commenced with a brief tour and orientation at TINMR Information Center. The team then proceeded to Piagau Island, TINMR where a short program was conducted. The delegates immersed through the exquisite features and natural grandeur of TINMR through a tour at the Mangrove Boardwalk, Look-out Tower and View Deck at Piagau Island. The tour continued at Balas Balabag and Floating Cottage at Masai, where the activity was formally concluded.

TINMR is one of the Centers of Learning (CoLs) supported by the ProCoast Project entitled “Sustainable coastal protection through biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems affected by typhoons in the Philippines”. Through its partnership with GIZ-ZSL, TINMR has been endowed with assistance and interventions consisting of IEC drives for the Flagship species, Social Marketing Campaign Program, TINMR Business Plan, webinars and trainings, equipment for biophysical assessment- all intended to foster and strengthen TINMR’s capacity to be a Center of Learning./DENR6

With the observance of Month of the Ocean (MOO) this May 2022, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 conducts different activities in support to the month-long celebration aligned to its theme: “Protect and Restore Ecosystems and Biodiversity.”

One of those activities was the conduct of a pre-survey and monitoring of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) occurrence in the portion of 300 hectares Coral Garden in Jawili, Tangalan, Aklan on May 5, 2022 in collaboration with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of the municipality of Tangalan, Aklan.

The COTS is a sea star named for the spines that cover its body and arms. It is also known to permanently damage coral reefs, and scientists consider it a species of concern –not because its numbers are too low but because locally high numbers can threaten other species.

Upon the conduct of survey and monitoring, the certified divers from DENR Aklan and LGU Tangalan spotted numbers of COTS population in the area, wherein twenty (20) pieces of this spiky predator were collected.

With this, the DENR – PENRO Aklan scheduled a mass extraction of COTS in the said area, today, May 24, 2022. The activity will highlight the MOO celebration 2022, which aims to understand the effects of multiple stressors on ocean ecosystem and take action by providing solutions in the degradation of marine biodiversity and ecosystem. The team will be composed of divers from DENR Aklan, LGU Tangalan and Office of the Provincial Agriculture.

 “These spiky predators should be removed to prevent damage to our coral reefs. This Month of the Ocean (MOO) we should value the importance of coral reefs, because once a reef’s ecosystem failed, it will be hard for us to restore it,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

 Corals are archetypal ecosystem engineers –they provide the foundation for the diversity and abundance of all the species in coral reef ecosystems.

 Scaling up of Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Program with the following activities (1) Development of Bio-diversity Friendly Enterprises; (2) Maintenance and Protection of Coastal and Marine Ecosystems; and (3) Coral Reef and Sea Grass Assessment, is one of the priority programs lay down by DENR Acting Secretary Jim O Sampulna.