In Our Region


140 sacks of trash collected on El Nido beach 

trash collected on El Nido beach web


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. ### 




DENR-Region 3

DENR identifies 53 cave areas as potential ecotourism sites in Central Luzon 

puning cave web



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. 





DENR kicks off comprehensive cleanup of Zapote river in Cavite 

R4B Zapote River Clean up web


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. ### 





DENR-Region 12

DENR inks MOA with Sarangani Bay business sector

R12 MOA with buss sector web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Region 12 (DENR-R12) has renewed its partnership agreement with three business establishments within the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS).

DENR-Region 12 Director Nilo B. Tamoria signed the memorandum of agreement for joint efforts in the management, protection and conservation of the protected area with Bayani B. Fredeluces, senior vice president of RD Fishing Industry Incorporated; Engracio Sestina, vice president and general manager of Philbest Canning Corporation; and Dr. Delfin Besquillo, Jr., owner of Coco Beach Resort.

Sarangani Gov. and co-chair of SBPS Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) Steve Chiongbian Solon witnessed the signing of the said MOA.

Under the MOA, the DENR and the business enterprises shall jointly manage, protect and conserve as well as develop and enhance the resources potentials of SBPS for the benefit and enjoyment of the communities as well as the general public.

Specifically, the companies shall implement all programs, projects and activities identified in the Comprehensive Development and Management Plan, which was prepared in accordance with the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act.

Tamoria also said the participating establishments will also help in addressing environmental problems facing the Sarangani Bay. “The DENR will strictly monitor the compliance of business establishments and the tourism business providers to environmental laws. We will be issuing Notice of Violations (NOVs) to those who would violate environmental laws,” he said.

SPBS Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Iskak Dipatuan said that prior to the signing of MOA, a series of assessment and re-assessment were conducted by the DENR- PASu team.

“We had conducted appraisal/re-appraisal of the existing land being occupied by them and the improvement and structures introduced. Based on the re-assessment report, we favorably endorsed to SBPS-PAMB, through a resolution, the renewal of the MOA for special uses within SBPS,” Dipatuan said.

The MOA serves as a binding instrument between the PAMB and the owners and operators of business enterprises for the occupation and use of foreshore/coastal areas of SBPS as defined under Presidential Proclamation No. 756, and pursuant to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the NIPAS Act.

Sarangani Bay is known for its rich biodiversity, harboring a wide variety of ecosystems ranging from mangroves to seagrasses to the varying depths of its coral reefs. Sarangani Bay was declared a protected seascape by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 756, dated March 5, 1996. ### 






DENR gives biz owners 30 days to remove illegal structures in Coron, warns them of “DENR” impostors

coron illegal structure web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is giving 75 business owners 30 days to remove and self-demolish their structures built on the waters and within the easement zones of Coron, Palawan.

The directive is cited in the Notices to Vacate served by Task Force Coron on Thursday to erring establishments located in four barangays, namely Tagumpay, Poblacion 1, Poblacion 3, and Poblacion 5. These establishments include hotels, restaurants, dive shops, laundry shops, and lodging and boarding houses.

The Notice to Vacate specified provisions of the Water Code of the Philippines which prohibit occupation of river banks, sea shores and lakes within a zone of three meters in urban areas and 40 meters in forest areas. Barangay Tagumpay is classified as timberland, the rest as urban areas.

The Notice also cited the Civil Code of the Philippines which defines shores “and others of similar character” as property of public dominion. The Civil Code also declares as nuisance “establishment, business or condition of property, or anything else which obstructs or interferes with the free passage of any body of water.”

“Malinaw po sa batas na wala dapat nakatayong mga istruktura sa mga ganitong lugar. Ipinapatupad lang po namin kung ano ang nasa batas para maprotektahan at mapanatiling malinis, maayos, at maganda ang bayan ng Coron,” Engineer Roman Legaspi, head of Task Force Coron said.

Coron is famous for its pristine island beaches and breathtaking landscapes. It receives an increasing number of tourists every year, with an estimate of 178,000 tourists recorded in 2016. The influx of tourists prompted proliferation of business establishments, some of which do not only encroached easement zones, but were also found to have contributed to water pollution by discharging untreated wastewater directly into Coron Bay.

This aggravated Coron’s water problem, which is mainly attributed to the town’s lack of a centralized wastewater treatment facility.

“Kaya hindi lang encroachment ang tinitingnan natin. Sinisiguro rin natin na sumusunod ang mga business establishments sa mga batas ukol sa tamang paraan ng pagtatapon ng basura at maruming tubig, at iba pang batas na nagpoprotekta sa ating kalikasan,” Legaspi expressed.

DENR MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) created Task Force Coron on February 26, 2018 in response to a marching order of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to ensure enforcement of environmental laws in the country’s prime beach destinations. Task Force Coron is composed of representatives from DENR and Environmental Management Bureau and coordinates with the local government of Coron and other agencies, such as Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, Department of the Tourism, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Navy, and Philippine Coast Guard.

In a related development, DENR MIMAROPA cautions establishment owners affected by the cleanup drive in Coron and elsewhere in the region not to deal with impostors posing as DENR officials.

“We urge you not to deal with people who obviously want to extort from business owners,” says DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino.

“The DENR does not authorize anyone to deal with business owners other than members of the Task Forces, which were tasked to lead the cleanup and rehabilitation of beaches in Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Galera,” she adds.

The warning came about following reports that DENR field officials in Oriental Mindoro and Palawan were receiving calls and text messages from unknown persons identifying themselves as Secretary Cimatu, and seeking copies of establishments which were issued Notices.

The Office of Secretary Cimatu has been informed about the incident, which then advised DENR MIMAROPA to take appropriate security measures. ### 





DENR-Region 4B

14 establishments asked to leave Puerto Galera easement zone

puerto gallery web

Moving on with its cleanup of major tourist destinations in the region, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources MIMAROPA on Friday served 14 establishments with notices to vacate and to remove voluntarily the structures they have built on easement zones in Sabang and White Beach, two popular beaches in Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro.

DENR MIMRAROPA Assistant Regional Director and Task Force Galera Chair Dr Vicente Tuddao, Jr. personally served the notices to Tina's Sunset Cottages, Restaurant & Dive Center, Ocean Dream Lodge, Paradise Dive Zone Resort, Corp., Pink & Black Lodging House, Montani Beach Resort, Sabang Inn, Sabang Divers, Mangosteen Restaurant , Dive Dojo, Mermaid Resort Charletan, Inc., Modem Development Company Inc., Captn Gregg, Eddie's Place Bar & Restautant, Marginor Diner & Snack, and I Dive at Casa Mia.

Except for Marginor Diner & Snack and I Dive at Casa Mia which are in Barangay San Isidro, the rest are in Barangay Sabang.

The establishments were given 30 days to comply.

“We hope they will be responsible enough to remove the structures they have built on easement zones within that period. The sooner we can start the rehabilitation of Sabang and White Beach, the better,” Tuddao said.

Apart from clearing up the three-meter easement zone, Task Force Galera also inspected establishments for compliance to environmental regulations such as securing discharge permit, environmental compliance certificate, permit to operate, hazardous waste registration, compliance to solid waste segregation, and having a Pollution Control Officer.

The absence of proper wastewater disposal facility, aggravated by overcrowding of structures along the beaches, is seen as a major source of coliform contamination of Sabang and White Beach. Water quality tests in five sampling stations in Puerto Galera from 2009 to 2017 show high fecal coliform levels.

DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino said notices of violations shall also be served in the coming days to establishments found violating environmental rules.

Bernardino said she hopes people appreciates what DENR is doing is for the long-term good of everyone. “Who would want to visit Puerto Galera in the future if its beaches has become too dirty and hazardous to swim in?” she asks.

Bernardino adds that DENR is trying to rehabilitate Puerto Galera not only for tourism but also for scientific researches.

In 1977, Puerto Galera was declared Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO , an international recognition that it is a model of sustainable development which provides “living observatories.” In 2014, however, UNESCO almost strip Puerto Galera of this recognition after it concluded that the town did not meet the criteria. It was only in July 2017 that the status was affirmed after the local government submitted an Integrated Management Plan. ### 





DENR-Region 7


PANGLAO beach web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to issue Notices of Violations (NOVs) to 87 establishments in Panglao Island whose structures were found to have encroached the 20-meter easement zone.

DENR-Region 7 Director Gilbert C. Gonzales made the announcement following the submission of the Regional Foreshore Area Task Force its initial assessment and inventory, covering five barangays in the municipalities of Panglao and Dauis, in Bohol.

“The report submitted by the composite team revealed that majority of the structures found within easement in Panglao Island are concrete pathways, native cottages, residential cottages, concrete stairs, swimming pools and seawalls owned by business establishments,” Gonzales said.

“We will issue notices of violations to these establishments and they will be given enough time to comply and conduct voluntary clearing of their illegal structures,” Gonzales added.

Article 51 of Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines states that “banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three (3) meters in urban area, twenty meters in agricultural areas and forty (40) meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing and salvage. No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, flotage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of any kind.”

Further, the amended Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Water Code indicates that “all easement of public use prescribed for the banks or rivers and the shores of seas and lakes shall be reckoned from the line reached by the highest flood which does not cause inundation or the highest equinoctial tide whichever is higher”.

Gonzales assured the public that the DENR will soon complete the delineation and assessment of the entire Panglao Island, in partnership with local government units.

Earlier, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-Region 7 has already issued NOVs to 321 establishments in Panglao and 30 in Dauin for operating without wastewater discharge permits. Upon serving the NOVs, EMB 7, together with the Bohol Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, conducted a mass technical conference to require owners to comply with the required permits, which include Discharge Permit, Permit to Operate and Registration as Hazardous Waste Generator.

“This is a good start, we will do our best to implement our mandate to protect and conserve our environment in Panglao Island, including Mactan Island, Bantayan Island, among other popular beach destinations in Central Visayas,” said Gonzales.





NCR Rattan web



The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – National Capital Region has taken custody of three 40-footer container vans containing rattan poles earlier apprehended in Manila last January for lack of documentary requirements.

The ship containing the cargo, declared as a commodity, was reportedly came from the port of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan and docked at Pier 4 at the North Harbor in Manila, when it was opened for inspection by personnel of the Port Integrated Clearing Office (PICO) of the DENR-NCR.

Report indicated that while one container van was accompanied by transport documents, the remaining two container vans were undocumented, in violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree No. 705 as amended.

The apprehended rattan poles will be subjected to administrative adjudication proceedings as part of due process by the DENR. ### 







ncr rescued pyhton web



Personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- National Capital Region rescues a wounded reticulated python (left photo) on Thursday, March 8, 2018,  in Novaliches, Quezon City.   Joseph Lim, a resident of Greenview Executive Village, said he caught the snake near his house, with wounds on head and tail from a fight with a rat, presumably its prey.  Aside from the python, a monkey (right photo) was also turned over to the BMB group during the rescue ops, after Lim succeeded in convincing his friend Edsel Eleoco to turnover his pet monkey of three years.  The two wildlife will be nurtured first at the DENR-BMB Wildlife Rescue Center before they will be re-introduced into their natural habitat to ensure they are in good health and be able to survive in the wild. ### 



DENR-Region 4B


coron structures web


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is bent on clearing the world-famous Coron Bay in Palawan of illegal structures as part of its campaign to address water pollution and other environmental problems facing top tourist destinations.

“This is a very difficult move on the part of the Department, but we have to do it to address the high levels of coliform contamination in Coron Bay,” DENR-MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardo told a crowd of some 250 business owners attending the Stakeholders’ Forum held Tuesday at the Coron Coliseum.

The clearing operations will cover more than 4,000 informal settler families and business establishments that were established either in water or encroaching easement zones and mangrove areas.

The DENR identified a number of factors leading to the deterioration in the water quality of Coron Bay. These include the absence of a centralized sewage treatment facility, discharge of untreated wastewater by various establishments, disposal of informal settlers of their wastes directly into the bay, and discharge of oil into the water by tourists and passenger boats.

“We need to decongest Coron Bay and ensure compliance to environmental regulations. We are appealing to the Provincial Government of Palawan and the local
government of Coron to provide resettlement for the informal settlers who were previously identified as beneficiaries of the typhoon Yolanda relocation program,” explains Bernardino.

DENR MIMAROPA created the Task Force Coron which will inspect more than 750 establishments, about half of them cater to tourists, for compliance to environmental regulations, easement zone provisions of the Clean Water Act, Water
Code, and Forestry Code.

Task Force Coron has started the inspection last week and already found some
hotels, restaurants, and diveshops atop stilts in Coron Bay. The Task Force is recommending the dismantling of these structures.

Bernardino admitted that though Coron Bay is more congested and its rehabilitation may be more difficult because of the presence of a huge number of informal settlers who will need relocation before they can be demolished.

Coron’s iconic islands, lakes, and rich marine resources draw more than 175,000 tourists in the last two years. This has increased the demand for hotels, restaurants, and other services, exerting pressure on this small town’s ecosystem.
During the dry season, supply of fresh water is increasingly becoming a problem for more residents and establishments.

Representatives of the local government of Coron, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Tourism, the Philippine Navy, and the Philippine Coast Guard who were present during the forum expressed full support for DENR’s initiative.

DOT MIMAROPA Regional Director Maria Luisa Diploma says the department is also closely monitoring tourist destinations in the region. She said, “Kung hindi natin aalagaan ang mga ito, ‘di na rin masisiyahang pumunta ang mga turista.” She said that they will now require all tourist establishments to have proper wastewater discharge facilities before they can get DOT accreditation.

Coron Mayor Ajerico Baracoso said that the LGU has already prepared a project feasibility study for the construction of a P400 million-peso centralized sewage treatment plant, and is seeking fund support from DOT and other concerned agencies.

Business owners, recognizing the growing environmental problems and their potential impact to businesses, also express willingness to cooperate with the cleanup of Coron Bay and convey their appeal to DENR and other government agencies concerned.

Francisco Fernandez, president of Calamianes Association of Tourism Establishments (CATE) sought clarification if establishments without proper wastewater treatment facilities will be allowed to operate until the centralized sewage treatment plant is built.

Bernardino explains that as an interim measure, individual businesses should set up their own septic treatment facilities or they can enter into an agreement with companies that can provide desludging and sewage treatment services.

Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Eriberto Saños appreciates the high level of environmental awareness of the people of Coron, but he said, “Environmental awareness is not enough, we need to act to preserve the country’s resources.” ### 








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