Press Releases



The Department of Environment and Natural Resources – National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) has released the updated guidelines and criteria for judging for Gawad Taga-Ilog (GTI): Search for the Most Improved Estero in Metro Manila, an annual environmental competition among local government units (LGUs) in NCR.

Now in its fourth year, GTI will have an upgrade from new methodology and coverage to indicators. Its key message is “Transforming Communities through the Gawad Taga-Ilog program” which will focus on the three (3) concepts of sustainability—economic, enhanced environment, and social.

Transforming communities through sustained solutions and actions addressing the pressing challenges of the waterway and environment, in general. Sustainability is a dedication to a way of life that protects the environment, society, and economy. It should not only be a notion but embracing, practicing, and engaging with a diverse array of best practices in environmental conservation and fostering innovative measures through collaborative efforts.

During the launch of GTI 4.0 held in Quezon City last November 16, the DENR-NCR announced the guidelines and criteria for judging as it urged barangays in all 16 cities and one municipality of Metro Manila to nominate their chosen estero.

Under the guidelines, there will be two categories—Category A is the typical search for the most improved estero in Metro Manila. The battle of new entrants and non-winners from previous GTIs. Target to consist of 17 waterways in total and limited to only 1 nominated estero per LGU. Category B, on the other hand, is the battle of the winners #BattleForSustainability. All winners from the past GTIs will have their battle once again, dubbed the battle for sustainability. This category will consist of 14 Esteros in total.

Nominees will be judged according to the LGUs’ management of their solid and liquid waste, informal settler families and illegal structures, habitat and resources, and sustainability and partnership. This set of criteria was based on the four clusters stated in the Operational Plan for Manila Bay Coastal Strategy.

For Category A, the weights of each criterion and indicators used from the past GTIs will be the same. Whereas for Category B there will be changes in the weights of each criterion and indicators+++ on economic, enhanced environmental, and social will be introduced and used.

For solid waste management, Category A is 25% and Category B is 20%; for liquid waste management, Category A is 15% and Category B is 20%.; for informal settler families and illegal structures management, both categories are 15%; for habitat and resources management, both 20%; and for the sustainability and partnership management, also both categories are 25%.

All nominated esteros will go through a screening process, field validation, and deliberation to be conducted by the DENR National Capital Region with its four Metropolitan Environment Offices and the GTI 4.0 competent, reputable, and experienced board of judges

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan expressed her vision for GTI 4.0. "We will be taking this initiative to the next level as GTI 4.0 aims to ensure the sustainability of the progress achieved in previous years. As the Manila Bay, our rivers, esteros, and other waterways are interconnected, it is vital to possess the ability to maintain and support the ongoing best practices and innovative solutions and actions, to improve the condition of our waterways, ultimately contributing to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay,” she said.

GTI 4.0 will run from November 2023 in line with the celebration of National Environmental Awareness Month up to February 2024. The awarding ceremony will take place on 22 March 2024 coinciding with the celebration of World Water Day.




In a bustling metropolis like Metro Manila, who would have believed that migratory birds still find sanctuary in the National Capital Region concrete jungle’s different conservation sites—these are the Las Piñas – Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP), Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach Roxas Boulevard in Manila City, Tanza Marine Tree Park (TMTP) in Navotas City, and BASECO Beach, Brgy. 649 in Manila City, and Barangay Tagalag and Malanday in Valenzuela City. They often stop briefly at these sites to rest and refuel for their onward journey.

In spite of being highly urbanized composed of residential communities and business districts, Metro Manila still hosts diverse wildlife fauna, as well as migratory bird species, where the region is an essential part of bird migration routes in the East Asia-Australian Flyway.

Regular bird watching and monitoring of specific avifaunal species in the mentioned sites is being conducted by the DENR National Capital Region, through its Conservation and Development Division’s Protected Area Management Office, Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section, and Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Section.

It aims to update data for bird populations in Manila Bay and monitor changes in their number and distribution. Data from the activity is collected, analyzed, and used as a basis for policy formulation and interventions directed at protecting and conserving known bird habitats in Manila Bay.

During the 3rd Quarter Bird Monitoring of the regional office, the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is the most abundant and common bird species, followed by the Common Redshank and an Unidentified Tern.

Birds are recognized as one of the most important indicators of the state of the environment. By studying changes in bird populations, one can learn of changes in the environment. A decline in the number of birds seen in an area usually signifies environmental damage through habitat fragmentation and destruction, pollution and pesticides, introduced species, and many other impacts.

According to the Environmental Management Bureau-National Capital Region (EMB-NCR) Regional Director and DENR-NCR OIC Regional Executive Director, Atty. Michael Drake P. Matias, it is important to conduct monitoring of the sites since these also serve as their habitat.

“To monitor is very crucial but to sustainably conserve and protect these protected and conservation areas are more important. Through this, the migratory birds will freely have their stay to feed and breed without hesitations against several environmental threats such as solid waste,” he emphasized.  

This October, the regional office, reminds the general public to be part of the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day on the need for international cooperation to conserve them. Activities concerning the migratory birds will be a big help.

This year’s celebration is under the theme “Water: Sustaining Bird Life”. This wildlife relies on water and its associated habitats—lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, swamps, marshes, and coastal wetlands—for breeding, resting, refueling during migration, and wintering. Yet increasing human demand for water, along with climate change, pollution, and other factors, are threatening these precious aquatic ecosystems.

It serves as an international call to action for the protection of migratory birds, whose ranges often span multiple countries, and are facing many different threats worldwide.

DENR National Capital Region leads Metro Manila Volunteers to SeatheChange at the 38th Annual International Coastal Cleanup

DENR National Capital Region led the volunteers in Metro Manila to be a part of the global movement for the ocean and #SeatheChange at Ocean Conservancy’s 38th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), the world's largest volunteer effort to remove and record trash from lakes, waterways, and beaches.

“The International Coastal Cleanup shows us that every piece of trash we collect locally adds up globally. Taken together, we can all #SeaTheChange we make, and our ocean life sees a change, too,” said Atty. Michael Drake P. Matias, DENR-NCR’s OIC Office of the Regional Executive Director, in a concurrent capacity.  

Plastic pollution is a massive problem for the oceans, but even small actions can make a big difference. Every bottle, every straw, and every piece of trash you clean up can lead to a cleaner, healthier ocean. Also, when we clean up from the home, all those who live in the ocean can #SeaTheChange.

This year, in Metro Manila, there are ten (10) identified cleanup sites—SM By the Bay, Pasay City; Las Piñas – Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPW); Baseco Beach, Manila City; Tanza Marine Tree Park in Navotas City; Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach; Tullahan River, Brgy. San Bartolome, Quezon City; Shores of Brgys. Tangos North and South, Navotas City; Pasig River Lawton Ferry Station; H20 Hotel in Manila Ocean Park, Roxas Boulevard, Manila City; and at the back of Solaire Hotel and Resort Casino, Brgy. Tambo in Parañaque City.

The theme of this year's ICC in the Philippines is “Clean Seas for Healthy Fisheries”. It aims to renew global efforts to tackle and address marine litter and plastic pollution, now focusing on how individuals can use both national and international laws to drive change. It is something

It is important to understand and solve marine pollution by protecting and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity from it. It provides many benefits and one of them is the sustainable feeding of the global population by providing food supply. We must be responsible for the need to clean and keep the waters clean for the desire to have a healthy and rich fishery, and relatedly a lush supply of fish for all of us.

In NCR, on the other hand, the DENR-NCR is also campaigning for the theme "Fighting for Trash-Free Manila Bay". This is still in support of the continuous cleaning and rehabilitation of Manila Bay. Through the ICC, we in the DENR-NCR, hope that we can encourage more clean-up volunteers for the daily and weekly cleanup activities being conducted by the barangays in their respective areas.

Ultimately, above all, the regional office aims to increase public awareness of the impact of the activities at home or in the community on Manila Bay and to be more responsible in managing their waste—from segregation to proper disposal, and everything in between.

During the ICC event, the DENR-NCR was joined by volunteers from local government units, private organizations, industries, the academe, and other stakeholders in cleaning up Manila Bay and its tributaries.

The type and number of garbage collected from each site are recorded and weighed for submission to Ocean Conservatory, a Washington-based environmental group that spearheaded the first coastal cleanup in 1986. The group will validate the report and consolidate it with those from other participating countries.

Through the annual ICC, Ocean Conservatory hopes to find solutions to threats in oceans and waterways around the world. ###


In celebration of World Ranger Day, on 31 July, DENR National Capital Region honors its Estero Rangers deployed in several waterways in Metro Manila.

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan is very proud of the 1,394 Estero Rangers assigned to 488 out of 734 barangays along waterways in the region. “We, from the DENR National Capital Region, are truly proud and honored to have our Estero Rangers in wholeheartedly doing the enormous tasks in line to the continuous battle for Manila Bay,” Caancan said.

“We highly appreciate all of your untiring sacrifices, from keeping the waterways clean and trash-free, to helping in the dissemination of ENR-related information to the public. We know that it is not easy to clean our waterways on a daily basis, but you still manage to exert extra efforts in contributing to a valuable solution and an important factor of change in the behavior of our kababayans, particularly in Metro Manila, on the proper waste management, among other important activities,” she emphasized.

In a highly urbanized and considered an urban jungle to its limited green space, DENR-NCR, aside from its Forest Rangers, introduced its newborn kind of rangers that are assigned to arduous tasks in line with the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, they are called “Estero Rangers”.

Estero Rangers are tasked to regularly keep the condition of waterways clean, and prevent trash found from reaching Manila Bay. They conduct daily removal of garbage from esteros fitted with trash traps and house-to-house garbage collection in selected alleys for transfer and storage at pickup points accessible to garbage trucks.

Also, they serve as the communication link between the agency and the community in connection with the ongoing cleanup and restoration of the historic bay. They provide information to the residents to be good stewards of the environment by simply, among others, properly segregating and disposing of their wastes.

The ER program was first implemented under the Environmental Management Bureau – NCR in 2019. Administration on the hiring and deployment of Estero Rangers was then transferred from EMB-NCR to the DENR-NCR involving the then four (4) Field Offices, now the Metropolitan Environmental Offices—North, West, South, and East—in the identification of areas for deployment

As we experience southwest monsoon or habagat season to date, the public can assure that the DENR-NCR, together with its MEOs, will not stop implementing programs, projects, and activities to clean the waterways and tributaries of Manila Bay and will continue to raise environment consciousness among Filipinos.

The celebration of World Ranger Day started and was established in 2007 by the International Ranger Federation and the Thin Green Line Foundation as an opportunity to draw attention and to celebrate the significant role they perform in protecting the environment and conserving its natural resources all over the world.



DENR National Capital Region Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan urged to the public to change behavior toward proper solid waste management to address the problem of plastic pollution.

“The issue of plastic pollution might not have worse if first and foremost, people had discipline when it comes to proper waste disposal, otherwise, the issue would almost certainly have not gotten worse,” she emphasized in her opening message during the Solid Waste Management Summit and Exhibit on 19 June 2023 at the Activity Center of Ayala Land Trinoma in Quezon City.

“The public’s behavior continues to be a huge contributor to our plastic pollution. Plastic cups and plastic bags continue to be collected in huge sums in our streets, but if we can balance the penalties for violators and incentives for those who participate in our programs, the public will certainly be motivated to join our cause to achieve a Zero Waste Environment,” she added.

The activity was organized and facilitated by the DENR Environmental Management Bureau – NCR, in line with the celebration of Philippine Environment Month 2023, with the theme “No to Waste: Advancing Circular Economy to #BeatPlasticPollution.” It aimed to serve as a proper venue to discuss further and showcase the best practice of the several organizations helping in implementing efforts to address the pressing challenges of solid waste management, in particular, plastic pollution.

RED Caancan also underscored that the government is not working from scratch to address the problem and it has been implementing programs, projects, and activities to achieve beat the drastic pollution. “We from the government, the DENR National Capital Region, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, in particular, have been undertaking to help address the country's plastic pollution. Challenges certainly remain, but great improvements have also been made. Hence today as we gather in this Solid Waste Management Summit and Exhibit, we will once again show our Best Practices and New technologies that will help us move further towards our goal.”

In recent years, the SWMS put its attention towards the programs and strategies that help to lessen the problems with plastic waste, which pollutes our environment.  Based on the 2022 data, an average of 0.61/kg per capita per day was collected in Metro Manila alone. In order to lower this waste collected per capita per day, projects such as Material Recovery Facility in Barangays were funded by the DENR-EMB-NCR; and with this, as of June 2023, a total of 134 Barangays were funded by the EMB-NCR and is strictly monitored by the region’s Environmental Monitoring Officers (EMOs), together with the river protection officers and information officers from the Metropolitan Environmental Offices (MEOs) of DENR-NCR.