Regional Releases

Green sea turtles hatchlings happily crawled their way back home to the vast ocean in the province of Antique.

A total of eighty-four (84) Green sea turtle hatchlings were released by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Culasi on a fine morning of June 27, 2021 at Brgy. San Francisco Norte, Tibiao, Antique.

The Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is considered endangered (EN) species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

They are carnivorous from hatchling until juvenile stage and shift to an herbivorous diet as their serrated jaws adapts for most vegetarian diet of sea grasses and algaes.

Ninety-nine (99) eggs were found by a fisherman the night before its release and immediately reported to their local government unit. For the record, thirteen (13) eggs remains unhatched while two (2) were found dead during the release.

The province of Antique has a strong implementation of the Turtle Conservation Program, with local folks actively supporting the protection and conservation of these marine animals.

These marine reptiles migrate thousands of miles over their lifetime to feed, breed and lay eggs. They have an internal global positioning system (GPS) using the earth’s magnetic field pinpointing specific coastlines based on their magnetic signature. Female turtles were able to return to the exact place where they were born to lay their eggs.

“These endangered sea creatures thrive in warmer temperatures of the waters in Antique to lay their eggs. More sightings of sea turtle hatch also indicate a healthy ocean ecosystem. We are thankful to the fishermen, our partners and guardians of the environment in saving our marine wildlife species,” said regional executive director Livino B. Duran.

Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation is among the top priority of Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

Two Chinese egrets  were monitored by the joint team of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 and PhilBio sometime from December 2019 until February 2020 with a tracker on their backs in Brgy. Tibsoc, San Enrique in Negros Occidental province.

This may be an alien thing to many. But the tracking of migratory birds served an important purpose, not only for wildlife biology, but more so on how human activities are impacting the movement of the birds.

Migratory birds provide humans with important ecosystem benefits such as pest control, pollination of plants and they also serve as food sources for other wildlife. Many wetland areas in the world have become ecotourism sites and places of recreation with migratory birds as its main attraction. Thus, tracking their migration pattern has become essential in determining the locations they visit and the protection of those areas as well.

What then, is the ecological significance of migration? “It enables fast-moving animals to exploit fluctuating resources and to settle in areas where life would not be tenable for animals incapable of rapid travel. On the other hand, peaks of food production would be unexploited without the periodic presence of migratory populations,” said website.

“Many of us have enjoyed seeing the unique migratory birds. Nonetheless, let us not forget that their presence serves as indicator of a good ecological condition where they still have food to eat. We therefore should protect our wetlands in this region where they love to visit,” said DENR 6 regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

The Philippines is part of the East Asian/Australasian Flyway (EAAF) that received annual visits from thousands of migratory bird species from China, Japan, Siberia and other parts of the world.

In Western Visayas, the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetland Conservation Area (NOCWCA) is a wetland of international importance or the 7th Ramsar site. It is host to thousands of migratory birds every year.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is eagerly pursuing the Enhanced Biodioversity Conservation as one of his ten priority programs which aims to attain sustainable development for the Filipino people.

A juvenile Olive ridley sea turtle was released in the sandy shores of Puka Beach in Boracay Islandrecently.

It was kept in captivity for more than a year since its hatchling stage according to the investigation made by the team from Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Boracay.

The Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation (PAMBCU)/Coastal Unit of DENR CENRO Boracay assisted in the release of the sea turtle.

It wasmeasured and has a curved carapace length of 32 centimeters and a curved carapace width of 34 centimeter. It weighs an estimated less than 3 kilograms.

The marine turtle was released on the main stretch of Puka Beach and was recorded as the first incident of turtle species to nest and release in the area since the Hawksbill sea turtle and Green sea turtle were the two species recorded by the office in the past years.

Moreover, an Information Education and Communication (IEC) Campaign on Green Fins Approach, specifically in the conservation of endangered marine wildlife was conducted to the community who witness the activity to educate and increase awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation and protection.

This activity was also in line with the celebration of the “Month of the Ocean” held every month of May and supports the Thematic Area 3: Rehabilitation and Recovery of Ecosystems.

Wildlife species such as sea turtles were being conserved and protected by the country as well as their habitats for sustainability under the Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resource Conservation and Protection Act.

“The best way to conserve and protect our wildlife species especially the sea turtles is to let them live in their natural habitat. Boracay Island is indeed a turtle haven prior to the recorded nesting and hatchlings release from the past years until now. Its ongoing rehabilitation also monitors its water quality, resulting to a more clean sea habitat for the different marine species in the island,” said Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation is among the top ten priority programs and project of the DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu./DENR6

As one of the priority program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the“Handog Titulo Program” was held at the covered court of the Municipality of Hinigaran, Negros Occidental on recently. This was also done particularly to bring the services closer to the community, and supports the agency’s trust on Improved Land Administration and Management.

A total of forty-six (46) certificates of land titles were distributed to the qualified recipients from Barangays 2, 4 and Ubay inHinigaran, Negros Occidental.

Governor Eugenio Jose "Bong" Lacson congratulated everyone and encouraged all recipients to be responsible land owners and hopes that the program would continue to empower the people, and eventually spur economic and social progress. Mayor Nadie P. Arceoalso expressed his gratitude to everyone who led a hand in fulfilling one of the aspirations of Hinigaranons.

Provincial ENROfficer Edgardo M. Rostata acknowledged the collaboration of national agencies and local government units (LGUs) in facilitating the issuance of free land titles as a step in fulfilling AmBisyonNatin 2040 which foresees the aspiration of Filipinos to enjoy a strongly rooted, comfortable and secure life .

“Many of us stay and live in the land we do not own. Perhaps, it is also one of the many problems we encounter and this Handog Titulo Program is a means through which we help improve people’s lives,” said Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

“Despite the threat of COVID-19, they never fail to attend and they continue to support the programs and projects of the DENR,”Milla added.

Furthermore, a total of 6,083.0877 hectares (60,830,877sq.m) with 23,030 no. of patents were since the start of President Rodrigo RoaDuterte’s Administration in 2016 until 2020.

The following are the issued patents to wit: 8,900 Agricultural Patent issued with a total area of 5,730.8009 ha.and14,130 Residential Patent issued with a total area of 352.2868 ha.

Agricultural free patents are land grants awarded to natural-born Filipino citizens in actual occupation and cultivation for at least 30 years of alienable and disposable lands not more than 12 hectares, and have paid the corresponding real property taxes. While the residential free patent are land grants awarded to any Filipino citizen who is in actual occupation of the residential land at least 10 years. It is issued on all land that are zoned as residential areas, including town sites as defined under the Public Land Act, provided that none of the provisions of PD 705 shall be violated.

“Handog Titulo Program” is a continued joint effort of the national government through DENR, Registry of Deeds and LGUs. The program is also a part of the government’s land disposition program by virtue of Republic Act No. 10023 or the Residential Free Patent Act.

ONE AMONG MANY. A Great knot with the flag of Indonesia (left) was photographed in Brgy. Agustin Navarra in Ivisan, Capiz during the Annual Waterbird Census in January this year, while left photo shows Great knots flying overhead on the same site./photos by Rachel A. Casio & Vincent Isada Bolante/DENR 6


It’s a one-of-a-kind snapshot of a Great knot (Calidris tenuirostris) with the flag on its right leg that was spotted in Brgy. Agustin Navarra, Ivisan in Capiz province during the Annual Waterbird Census last January 13, 2021.

The flag with upper black and lower orange colors belongs to the country of Indonesia, as listed in Shorebird Color Flagging Protocol on the East Asian–Australasian Flyway (EAAF). Brgy. Agustin Navarra has recorded 780 migratory birds with 29 species, 7 of which are considered additional species.

Researchers who capture, mark and release migratory birds use flags, colour rings and tags to study their migration route along the Flyway. It also allows the bird to be identified even from a distance.

The Great knot is a medium-side shorebird with a straight, slender bill of medium length and a heavily streaked head and neck. They feed on bivalve molluscs, snails, worms, crustaceans and, very occasionally, sea-cucumbers. They are the long-distance migratory shorebirds of the EAAF, with migration route from Australia to Siberia covering around 6000 kilometers. They would nest and breed in eastern Siberia, and Philippines is one of their migration stopover sites.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed Great knot as endangered and critically endangered in Australia due to its decreasing population with the loss of its stopover sites.

The EAAF covers the length from Russian Far East and Alaska, southwards through East Asia and Southeast Asia to Australia and New Zealand which encompasses 22 countries. It thereby made the EAAF one of the world’s nine major “flyways”, which are routes the migratory waterbirds traverse annually.

“The fact that migratory waterbirds flock to our coastal wetlands is a proof that our wetlands here are rich feeding grounds for them,” said DENR 6 regional executive director Francisco E. Milla, Jr. “By our protecting and conserving our wetlands, we provide the needed refuge for these important species,” he added.

The DENR, under the leadership of Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, is pursuing the Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation program for sustainable use of the country’s natural resources./DENR 6