DENR National Capital Region through its Regional Public Affairs Office (RPAO), conducted a webinar on the State of Manila Bay and related environmental laws on Wednesday and Thursday, 19-20 August 2020.
The online learning activity was attended by various participants, representing the student sector, the academe, private institutions, and Local Government Units (LGUs). The webinar is part of the series of Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) activities of the regional office aimed at raising awareness and participation of the public in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
In addition to the discussion on Manila Bay, the webinar also touched on the salient points of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (Republic Act No. 9003) and the role of LGUs in its implementation. The above mentioned ENR laws are needed to be implied to the general public as these are the keys that will contribute to the success of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program
DENR National Capital Region, through its South Field Office (SFO), responded to a netizen’s request for retrieval of a young Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) in Muntinlupa City.
The raptor was handed-over by Mrs. Lea Nidoy, a resident of Barangay Putatan, Muntinlupa City on Tuesday, 18 August 2020. She said the bird was caught by her husband after he saw it flying around their residence. She has since then asked the help of her friends in reporting the bird to the DENR National Capital Region as they know that keeping a wild animal without a permit is illegal.
Brahminy Kites are medium-sized birds of prey seen throughout South East Asia, and the northern parts of Australia. The bird feeds mainly on fish and insects, but are known to steal food from other birds. While the population of the bird is declining in the wild, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the bird as Least Concern owing to its wide distribution.
DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan advised the public against capturing any wildlife species. “If the animal looks good and healthy, let it fly or run freely. If the animal is injured, immediately contact the nearest DENR office. Let our veterinarians assess the situation and take the animal in for proper care and rehabilitation”, Director Caancan said. She likewise warned the public on the dangers of handling wild animals. “We simply don’t know if the animal is infected with a disease, so we unnecessarily expose ourselves when we touch or hold them.”—“If there’s anything that this pandemic has taught us to be conscious of, is that zoonosis is real, and can be very fatal”, Director Caancan explained.
Zoonosis refers to diseases that can be passed from animals to humans. Animals, especially those that came from the wild can carry harmful germs such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. These germs, given the right conditions, may be transmitted to humans who unknowingly handle infected animals.
Health experts suspect that the novel coronavirus—which causes COVID-19—may be zoonotic in origin. Other known zoonotic diseases that affected humans are rabies, ebola, Avian Flu (H5N1), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Proving that the pandemic is no excuse for delaying employee training, DENR National Capital Region decided to push through with its ENR Frontline Course on Monday, 17 August 2020, via video communications app.
Originally scheduled early this year and designed as a live-in seminar at the Environment and Natural Resources Academy (ENRA) in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, the training was delayed as quarantine measures were imposed in Metro Manila and parts of Luzon.
DENR National Capital Region Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan graced the opening ceremonies for the 7-day online training course aimed at acquainting participants—employees doing frontline work—with the core values of DENR and develop, enhance, and strengthen their leadership skills.
Director Caancan reminded the participants of their role as public servants, and to put the interest of the people above all, especially during these trying times. She said all employees of the regional office, officials and rank-and-file alike, should step up their game and move forward as people expect more from us with the pandemic. “You need to make a difference, whatever your assignment. That’s the essence of a true public servant”, RED Caancan concluded.
The ENR Frontline Course is part of the “Environment and Natural Resources Learning Program” (ELP) of DENR, a comprehensive training program that DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu launched in 2018 to hone the executive leadership and administrative competencies of frontline officers. The other modules under the ELP are the ENR Management Course and ENR Leadership Course.
Planning and Management Division (PMD) Chief Eduardo Calzeta, Ph.D.; Enforcement Division (ED) Chief Forester Orly Cariazo; and, Licenses, Patents, and Deeds Division (LPDD) Chief Atty. Alvin Constantino served as resource persons for the first day of the learning activity. The Human Resources Development Section (HRDS) served as learning facilitators.
DENR National Capital Region, through its East Field Office (EFO), successfully retrieved a Visayan tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini) in Pasig City on Monday, 17 August 2020.
An informant reported the presence of the bird to the EFO which immediately dispatched a team for the retrieval operation. The team tracked the location of the bird in Barangay Malinao, Pasig City, and was able to retrieve it.
The Visayan tarictic hornbill is a type of bird found only in the Philippines—particularly in the islands of Negros, Panay, and Masbate. It is listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, while DENR Administrative Order No. 2019-09 puts it under the “Critically Endangered” category. Of the 55 recognized hornbill species in the world, eleven (11) are found only in the Philippines. Nine (9) of which, however, are in danger of going extinct due to habitat loss.
A subspecies of the bird—the Ticao hornbill (P. p. ticaensis)—was declared extinct in 2013 after it disappeared completely from the island with the same name. Apart from habitat loss, hornbills are victims of poaching and hunting as these birds are preferred by illegal wildlife keepers. The bird was brought to the Wildlife Rescue Center of DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau in Quezon City for rehabilitation and possible release back in the wild.
The Environmental Personnel of Barangay Cembo, Makati City, conducted a cleanup on the shores of Pasig River on Friday, 14 August 2020.
The activity, led by Kagawad Kalmi Agpay Boregas, was mostly participated by women. They were able to recover 25 sacks of wastes, mostly composed of discarded plastic food and beverage containers.
Pasig River is one of the main tributaries of Manila Bay. Its waters come from three (3) sources: the upper Marikina River System; the San Juan River System; and the Laguna Lake. Trash that is thrown upstream and midstream of the river system, when left uncollected, end up in Manila Bay and contribute to its degradation.
DENR is leading efforts to clean, rehabilitate and preserve the Manila Bay. Its success, however, is largely dependent on the active participation of all barangays of Metro Manila in keeping their waterways trash-free.
(Pictures courtesy of Kag. Boregas, obtained through coordination by DENR-NCR West Field Office personnel)