Regional Releases

In the recent campaign of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 6, Western Visayas against illegal occupation in protected areas, the Community ENR Office of Bago City in Negros Occidental reported issuance of Notices of Violation (NOV) and Show Cause Orders.

A total number of fifty (50) NOVs, and two show cause orders were issued recently to the illegal Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) occupants.

“Like NNNP, other protected areas are our hopes to continue the green and blue ecosystems balance,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

“They are the home to our diverse floras and faunas, they are our biodiversity and of course, the trees in our protected areas (PAs) provide us with abundant supply of oxygen for our daily needs, so therefore, protected area should remain protected,” he added.

NNNP is located at the northwestern part of Negros Island within the Province of Negros Occidental. With a land area of 70,826.16  hectares, it covers eleven (11) local government units, including cities of Cadiz, Silay, Talisay, Victorias, Sagay, and San Carlos; and towns of E.B. Magalona, Taboso, Calatrava, Salvador Benedicto, and Murcia. It is home of the threatened and endangered species that are endemic to the area such as the Negros bleeding heart dove, Visayan warty pig, Visayan spotted deer, and red Lauan.

NNNP Protected Area Superintendent Joan Nathaniel Gerangaya disclosed that violators failed to secure building permits, or a tenurial instrument such as  the Special-use Agreement in  Protected Area (SAPA), and clearance from the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) prior to construction.

He cited Section 18 of Republic Act 11038 or the Expended National Integrated Protected Areas System Act, which states that it is unlawful for any person to occupy or dwell in any public land within the protected area without clearance from the PAMB and could warrant a fine of P200,000 to 1P million and/or imprisonment of one to six years.

The Department installed public notice and signages in strategic locations across the protected area to warn potential buyers of public lands.

In July, a man was caught selling portions of public land in Brgy. Kumaliskis, Salvador Benedicto, and two more suspects were arrested in Brgy. Bunga the following day for engaging in the same illegal activity.

Maintaining protected areas (PAs) and other natural resources is one of the programs implemented by the DENR 6. It is tightly linked to biodiversity conservation which is one of the ten priority programs of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

Turtles are one of the important reptiles in the marine ecosystem as they help maintain healthy sea grass beds and coral reefs that benefits commercial species such as shrimp, lobster, and tuna.

Rescuing marine turtles is part of conserving our biodiversity such that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) deemed it important for people to report rescued marine turtles and other animals to the authorities.

A female Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) was rescued in Sito Lacaran, Brgy. Ermita, Dumangas, Iloilo around 9:00 o’clock in the evening of August 12, 2021. The turtle was found by a fisherfolk along the seashore and was immediately reported to the Community ENR Office (CENRO) in Barotac Nuevo. The marine animal was measured with a length of 84 cm. and width of 63.5 cm and has an estimated weight of 100kgs.

It was in good condition and was tagged with PH 1775M prior to its release back to the wild at Lapus-lapus Fish Sanctuary in Paloc, Dumangas, Iloilo. The area is a proposed Marine Protected Area (MPA).

In Brgy. Montpiller, Buenavista Guimaras, a Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtle was rescued last August 18, 2021. Staff from the Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation/Coastal Unit (PAMBCU) of Provincial ENR Office (PENRO) in Guimaras assessed and observed the condition of the Hawksbill that was accidentally trapped inside the gill net. The reptile was tagged with PH0965J.

The Green Sea turtle is classified as endangered while the Hawksbill is critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Saving marine animals such as turtles helps a lot in enhancing biodiversity conservation, one of the top priority programs of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

The Philippines is home to the world’s longest snake, the Reticulated python (Python reticulatus), which also happens to be the world’s longest reptile. It can grow up to 28.5 feet (8.7 m). These reptiles are known to be fantastic swimmers, since they require a water source near them. According to Reptile World Facts, Reticulated Pythons are quite aggressive in the wild but captive breeding has changed the reputation of these pythons from that of an aggressive hard to handle snake, to a snake that is easy to care for, and very intelligent, with gorgeous looks. 

Now, under the Department Administrative Order (DAO) 2019-09 otherwise known as “Updated National List of Threatened Philippine Fauna and their categories”, the Reticulated python is classified as other threatened species which is under threat from adverse factors such as over collection throughout its range and is likely to be moved to the vulnerable category in the near future. 

As a way of protecting this wildlife species, The DENR-CENRO Cadiz City took custody of a Reticulated python that was found and rescued inside Lindy’s Grocery store in Brgy, Daga, Cadiz City. One of the residents helped in rescuing the said python. OIC, CENR Officer Mamad T. Gandarosa, EMS I Nelsa Salimbot, and FT I Abie Michael Lunaba facilitated the turn-over of the Reticulated python. CENRO Cadiz took the python under its care for safekeeping and check-up.                                                              

One of DENR’s priority program which is enhanced biodiversity conservation focuses not only on preserving natural habitats like watersheds, wildlife sanctuaries and mangrove habitats but also preserving the diversity of species.

An Asian palm civet cat (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) locally known as “Singgarong” and a Philippine water monitor lizard or Marbled monitor lizard (Varanus marmoratus) which is called “Halo” in vernacular, were rescued in Capiz province.

Through the joint effort of the Community ENR Office of Mambusao - Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Unit (PAMBCU) and Monitoring and Enforcement Section (MES) under the Provincial ENR Office in Capiz, a rescue operation was conducted on August 17, 2021 with information that the said animals are located in Brgy. Malocloc Norte, Ivisan, Capiz. Upon arrival at Sitio Ilaya of the said barangay, the rescuers saw the two animals caught in an indigenous trap known as “kisiw”. After a thorough physical examination, it was found out that the civet cat has a leg injury due to long hours of being trapped in the “kisiw” prior to its retrieval.

The monitor lizard was released back to its natural habitat at Sitio Aglangit in Brgy. Santa Ana, Tapaz, Capiz the next day. Unfortunately, the civet cat died and was immediately buried.

“All wild animals and plants have a role in our diverse forest ecosystem, with one needing the other. They are always in symbiotic relationship the same way humans are dependent on such ecosystem balance,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 are strengthening communities both in urban and upland areas to inform proper authorities should they found wild plants and animals that need to be turned-over or released to its natural habitat.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 6 in collaboration with the AC Energy in encouraging the public to participate and involve themselves in supporting the mandate of the Department to protect and conserve the natural resources in their community and the region as a whole.

Thus, through its Provincial ENR Office in Guimaras, the DENR assisted the AC Energy with the establishment of its 27-hectares arboretum project where almost 6,000 trees have been planted. At the present, the plantation has attained a 100% survival rate, based on sampling conducted. The validation also highlighted the good quality of the plantation and its potential to enrich the biodiversity in the area.

The wind farm is also a collaborative project with the local community of Tanglad, Sibunag, Guimaras with the AC Energy, which supports DENR’s flagship reforestation program –the Enhance National Greening Program (ENGP).

Named as Guimaras Wind Farm, the plantation is developed as the “learning forest” for the public to interact in a natural space with different flora and fauna. This will also help young and old alike to have a better understanding of the importance of nature and become pro-active stewards of the environment.

“This wind farm will not only help thousands of households with their electricity but will also boost the eco-tourism in the area. But that will be limited yet due to this pandemic. However, let us all keep in mind that we still need to protect it and sustain our environment,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

The ENGP is one of the ten priority programs of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu. The program aims to reduce poverty especially in the hinterlands, to implement sustainable management of natural resources through resource conservation, protection, and productivity enhancement, and to provide food, goods and services such as timber, fiber, non-timber forest products, aesthetic values, air enhancement values, water regulation values, and mitigate climate change by expanding forest cover that serve as carbon sink, to mention a few.