Regional Releases

The provincial office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Antique has donated some 650 board feet of confiscated lumber to repair the dilapidated running boards of Inabasan bridge in San Jose, Antique.

The DENR made the donation to add to the community’s lumber stock, which they have harvested from their own planted trees. Antique DENR–PENR Officer Andres T. Untal said however that the community lumber products were not enough to cover the wood requirements for the bridge’s running boards, prompting the DENR’s field office to provide additional lumber sourced from the confiscations of CENRO Belison.

DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Jim O Sampulna lauded the effort of the field offices in responding to the people’s cry for help.

Inabasan Bridge connects Barangay Inabasan to the town proper of San Jose, and the towns of Sibalom and Hamtic. ### 

Rivers are the lifeblood of the Earth and of the human civilization. They act as drainage channels of surface waters, and carry water and nutrients through great distances. Rivers also serve as habitat and provide food to many organisms.

In the Philippines, there are 18 major river basins and 421 principal rivers. As of 2017, (337) of the total number of classified principal and small rivers are under Class C was put at 337. Class C means that the water is intended for fishery where propagation and growth of fish and other aquatic resources is feasible.

Due to threats from agricultural, domestic, industrial, negligence and mistreatment of the people to our rivers, only a few are considered healthy and sustainable.

Thus, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched the “Recognizing Individuals/Institutions towards Vibrant and Enhanced Rivers (R.I.V.E.R.S.) for Life Award” in July this year, which aims to raise awareness of the need to protect and conserve the rivers in the country.

The award was conceived to recognize the efforts of DENR’s field officials in implementing and enforcing environmental laws and other initiatives to protect rivers from pollution and other threats.

In order for a river to be considered in R.I.V.E.R.S for Life award, it should meet the following criteria: Aesthetic and Water Quality Improvement, Solid Waste Management, Partnership and Community Mobilization, Information and Education Campaign (IEC) and other activities interventions and innovations.

The contest is open to all incumbent Supervising and Implementing DENR’s provincial offices, together with their respective Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs). The period of participation is for one year (July-May) and every year thereafter.

“This award is an inspiration to not only the people working towards the betterment of our rivers but also to inspire the public that rivers should be protected and conserved. We should have concerted efforts in order to assure their sustainability and bring back their true purpose,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Jim O Sampulna.

The awarding of winners will be announced on June 10, 2019 during the DENR’s Anniversary Celebration. ### 

A total of 140 sacks of garbage were collected during a joint clean up operations led by the local office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Palawan on Friday.

DENR-MIMAROPA Director Henry Adornado said the heaps of garbage, believed to have originated from other countries based on the markings on the plastic bottles, were reportedly seen drifting at the Secret Lagoon in Miniloc Island, and were washed up to the shores of El Nido by the strong current brought about by the monsoon rains that prevailed over the province recently.

A waste classification report issued by the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTMRPA) indicated that majority of the garbage or 70% consisted of plastic bottles while 30% were a mix of Styrofoam, rubber scraps, plastic wrappers, nylon and other trash.

Despite the rough seas, Adornado mobilized additional teams to scour the beaches of Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon in Miniloc island, Natnat Beach in Cadlao Island, including the farther islands of Matinloc and Tapiutan.

“Since it is already rainy season, let us expect the accumulation of marine debris in the shorelines of Palawan and its islands. This should remind us that whatever we dumped in the oceans, will come back to us,” he said.

He then called on the public to diligently practice the 3Rs of ecological waste management - reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Adornado attributed the success of the clean-up operations to the cooperation extended by representatives of other government offices and the private sector, notably the Philippine Coast Guard, the local government unit of El Nido, the El Nido Chamber of Commerce, El Nido Resorts, El Nido Travel and Tours Association and other private organizations.

Meanwhile, a juvenile bearcat found caught in a trap during the clean-up operations was set free into the wild. Locally known as Binturong, the local bearcat is listed as a ‘vulnerable species’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to its population decline resulting from habitat destruction, local use and wildlife trade. ### 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified about 53 cave areas in Central Luzon and urges the public to protect and conserve these resources, which serve as home to important animal species and potential ecotourism site, environment officials announced yesterday.

Paquito Moreno, Jr., regional director of DENR-Region 3 said caves are critical part of an ecosystem which is rich in biological, historical and geological resources.

“Central Luzon is rich in caves. This natural ecosystem is one of the wonders of nature and part of our natural heritage. It is usually hidden in the mountains and exhibit awesome rock formations of stalactites and stalagmites,” he explained.

He said caves must be protected and sustainably managed as it contains valuable natural resources which can provide numerous educational, historical, cultural, economic, scientific and aesthetic benefits to our communities.

According to Arthur Salazar, deputy director for Technical Services, caves are home to some important species of frogs, bats, mammals, birds, reptiles, crabs and even microorganism.

“This unique ecosystem also contains specialized mineral formations, including calcite, limestone, and gypsum,” he said.

He said out of the 53 identified caves in the region, 27 of these can be found in Bulacan, ten are in Nueva Ecija, eight in Zambales, six in Aurora and two are in Tarlac.

The DENR has also officially classified eight caves in Aurora and Bulacan into Class 1 and 2, which are now being managed by the local government units (LGU), he added.

These caves are Sinag, Tikbalang and Layang-layang caves, all in San Luis town in Aurora; Puning cave in Dona Remedios Trinidad town, Bayukbok, Pebbles and Madlum caves in San Miguel town, and Pinagrealan cave in Norzagaray town, all in Bulacan.

According to DENR cave classifications, class 1 caves are those with delicate and fragile geological formations, threatened species, archeological and paleontological values, and extremely hazardous. Allowable use may include mapping, photography, educational and scientific study.

Class 2 are those caves with areas or portions which have sections that have hazardous conditions and contain sensitive geological, biological, archeological, cultural, historical, and biological values or high-quality ecosystem. It may be necessary to close sections of these caves seasonally or permanently. It is open only to experienced caves or guided educational tours or visits

Class 3 are caves generally safe to inexperienced visitors with no known threatened species, archeological, geological, natural history, cultural and historical values. These caves may also be utilized for economic purposes such as guano extraction and edible birds nest collection.

“We urge the public especially those cave enthusiasts, mountain climbers and eco-tourist to protect and conserve our cave areas in the region because this is one of our pride and natural heritage,” Moreno said.

Section 7 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9072 or the National Caves and Cave Resources Management Act, prohibits the destroying, disturbing, defacing, marring, altering, removing, or harming the speleogem or speleothem of any cave or altering the free movement of any animal or plant life into or out of any cave.

The law also prohibits the gathering, collecting, possessing, consuming, selling, bartering or exchanging or offering for sale without authority any cave resources.

Anyone found guilty of violating Sec. 7 of RA 9072 shall be punished by up to six years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of P500,000.

DENR defined cave as any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess or system of interconnected passages beneath the surface of the earth or within the cliff or ledge and which is large enough to permit an individual to enter whether or not the entrance, located either in private or public land, is naturally formed or manmade. It also includes cave resources therein, but not any vug, mine tunnel, aqueduct or other man-made excavation. 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – MIMAROPA kicked off the comprehensive cleanup of the Zapote river in Brgy. Molino 3, Bacoor City on Wednesday (May2), at the start of the local celebration of May as Month of the Ocean.

“Today marks not only the start of our celebration of May as the Month of the Ocean but also to kick off the comprehensive clean up of the Zapote River. Pag sinabing comprehensive cleanup, talagang ‘yan ay matindi,” DENR-Region 4A Director Sofio B. Quintana said as he addressed the participants to the cleanup activity.

Quintana said that he was supposed to join President Duterte to Bondoc Peninsula in Mulanay, Quezon to distribute Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) but he opted to join the cleanup, saying “It is but my official and moral obligation to be here. Kasi ito pong usapin sa Zapote River ay nasimulan noong isang taon, July 2017, noong ako’y nasa National Capital Region kasama ng ating mahal na kalihim, Secretary Roy A. Cimatu,” Quintana explained.

During that time, Quintana said, Sec. Cimatu had instructed him to clean the filthy river. And since the river, according to him, is the boundary between the National Capital Region and the CALABARZO Region, he immediately contacted Bacoor City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (ENRO) Rolando Bucalan, who agreed to undertake a joint comprehensive clean up of Zapote river.

Bucalan, who was also present in the cleanup activity, called on the residents of Brgy. Molino 3 to have a sense of responsibility to maintain the cleanliness of the river once it is cleaned.

“Hindi dahil may pumupulot ng basura ay may karapatan na ang mga tao na magkalat. Sana naman po, pag-alis namin dito, meron po kayong responsibilidad na panatilihing malinis ‘yong aming mga nilinis,” Bucalan said.

He added: “Kasi ang pagtatapon po sa ilog ay seconds lang, pero araw po ‘yan para angatin, para mawala. Ganoon po kahirap ‘yan, kaya sa komunidad po, napakasuwerte ng barangay na ito na mayroong maglilinis ng manwal ditto. Ito po ay isang goodwill at example po. Sana po sa mga taga-rito, i-maintain nyo po ang mga nilinis ng ating mga kasama.”

Meanwhile, DENR-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) for Cavite Reynaldo Belen emphasized the importance of discipline in maintaining the cleanliness in the area. He also appealed that the clean-up be done not only in the barangay but also in the whole province as the wastes disposed at the upper areas will eventually flow down the low-lying ones. ###