Photo Releases

In a short yet meaningful ceremony, the DENR National Capital Region and the Rotary Club of Makati Rockwell (RCMR) signed an agreement on the conduct of a communication campaign on the proper disposal of used facemasks and other household medical wastes.

Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan signed the MOA on behalf of the DENR National Capital Region while Ms. Stella Marie B. Ignacio, the current president of RCMR represented the club. DENR National Capital Region Assistant Regional Director for Management Services. Dr. Al O. Orolfo and RCMR Secretary Kristina G. Dancel stood as witnesses.

In her message, Directed Caancan noted how timely the partnership with RCMR is, especially as medical wastes, from both hospitals, households, and other institutions, have been on the rise since the pandemic started early this year.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), for example, estimated an increase of 280 metric tons of medical waste per day for hospitals in Metro Manila, up from the average of 47 metric tons before the pandemic started. This figure, however, only accounts for medical waste generated by hospitals; it does not include medical waste generated from households and other new players, like the quarantine facilities and hotels converted into a temporary shelter for suspected COVID-19 cases or Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs). “All of these new sources of medical wastes”, according to Director Caancan, adds a burden to our “overloaded waste disposal system”.

The top regional official also raised the alarm on reports that discarded facemasks have reached the shores of Manila Bay and feared that “we could have a problem much graver than the amount of fecal coliform found in its waters” if we do not act rapidly on this matter.  “We need to inform and educate the public on the dangers of improperly disposed of facemasks and PPEs, not only to public health but the health of the environment too”, Director Caancan said.

“First off, we need to put our used facemasks, gloves, and PPEs in a separate container. We should avoid mixing it with our regular household wastes”, Director Caancan explained. “Secondly, we must ensure that the garbage bag containing our used PPEs is sealed and properly labeled before handing it out to our garbage collectors just so they know that it must be handled with caution.”

While we need to protect ourselves by using facemasks and gloves, we also need to protect the people around us, Director Caancan insisted. “There is no use protecting ourselves if the people around us keep getting sick because we have been careless in the disposal of our used facemasks.” We must also realize that the state of our health is inextricably linked with the state of our environment. What happens to our environment, necessarily affects us and vice-versa.

According to Director Caancan, one way of reducing the amount of medical waste we generate is to use reusable facemasks and gloves instead. “If DENR and RCMR can successfully convince the public in doing so, limiting the use of medical-grade facemasks to hospital workers and the like, we would be making a great contribution in our fight to beat COVID-19 while protecting the environment".

DENR National Capital Region through its South Field Office (SFO), together with the Paranaque City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO Paranaque) and workers of Barangay Don Galo in the cleanup of Marina Bay on Friday, 4 September 2020.

The team was able to recover 55 sacks of residual waste and 14 sacks of recyclable waste from the shoreline. The DENR is leading efforts to clean, rehabilitate, and make the waters of Manila Bay safe and fit for swimming and other recreational activities.

DENR National Capital Region through its South Field Office (SFO), retrieved a Philippine scops owl (Otus megalotis) in Barangay Sun Valley, Paranaque City on Friday, 4 September 2020.

The owl was found by a netizen hiding in a corner of their terrace and immediately reported it to the SFO for retrieval. The Philippine scops owl is one of the endemic owl species of the country and is listed as “Least Concern” under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

While the bird is usually found in forested areas, it is also known to occur on the outskirts of built-up areas, at times even within cities as in the present case. Other endemic scops owls, however, have been declared as “Endangered” or “Vulnerable” by DENR under DAO No. 2019-09.

The owls listed as “Endangered” are the Giant scops owl (Otus gurneyi) and the Palawan scops owl (Otus fuliginosus). The Luzon scops owl (Otus longicornis), Mindoro scops owl (Otus mindorensis), Negros scops owl (Otus nigrorum) and Mantanani scops owl (Otus mantananensis) are listed as “Vulnerable” due to habitat loss and hunting.

Republic Act 9147, also known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001” penalizes the illegal collection, hunting, possession, and trading of wildlife species and its derivatives.

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan has directed the Administration Division to make the wearing of face shields—on top of face masks—mandatory for anyone entering the vicinity of the regional office.

The move was in keeping with recently issued memorandum circulars by the Departments of Transportation (DOTr), Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Trade and Industry (DTI) making the wearing of face shields in public transportation and workplaces mandatory to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

While the national government has not issued a similar directive for government offices, Director Caancan thought it wise to require employees and guests to wear face shields as an added health safety protocol.

“Our employees and guests are required anyway to wear face shield whenever they take public transportation to visit our office, so we might as well request them to keep their face shields on during their visit”, Director Caancan said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is also in support of the use of face shields. According to Director Caancan, data shows that it can help reduce the virus transmission rate by 93 percent.

Director Caancan pointed out that “Our strict compliance with prescribed public health protocols is probably one of the reasons why the regional office had low infection rates despite our office being near three public health institutions.” Director Jacqueline A. Caancan is a member of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) for Metro Manila.

Nakipagpulong si DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan kay District 2, Makati Congressman Luis Jose Angel M. Campos, Jr., upang pag-usapan ang lalong pagpapabuti ng serbisyong pangkalikasan ng tanggapan sa mga mamamayan. Kasama ni Director Caancan si EMB-NCR Regional Director Atty. Domingo M. Clemente, Jr. sa pakikipagpulong kay Congressman Campos.