Press Releases

Hiniling ni Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu sa top forestry officials ng Southeast Asia na gumawa ng paraan upang maging balanse para maipreserba ang forest resources sa rehiyon at ang pangangailangan ng mga tao na patuloy ang paglaki ng bilang.

“We need to strike a balance between meeting the demands of the people and stability of the environment,” ayon sa mensahe ni Cimatu na binasa ni DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Internal Affairs Jonas Leones sa ginanap na 22nd meeting ng ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) na idinaos sa Makati City nitong Hulyo 18.

Sabi pa ni Cimatu sa ASEAN forestry leaders, “ You must transform into actions the strategic direction of sustainable forest management, competitiveness for foreign products, forest rectification, forest law and enforcement in government, and other forestry concerns.”

Ang ASOF ay isang multinational body na layuning tumalakay sa mga polisiya, gumawa at magpatupad ng regional cooperation activities para sa international at regional forestry.

Layon din nito na mapalakas ang international competitiveness ng ASEAN forestry products at maisaayos ang pagkakaroon ng pinagsamang posisyon sa international fora.

Ayon kay Cimatu, mahalaga ang kagubatan para sa global sustainable development goals (SDGs), partikular na ang SDG 6-Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 13-Climate Action at SDG 15-Life on Land.

Ang SDG ay ang pinagsama-samang 17 global goals na may kanya-kanyang hangarin. It ay binuo ng United Nations General Assembly noong 2015 at “target” ang katuparan nito sa taong 2030.

“Forests will lead to the achievement of multiple SDGs, including poverty alleviation, food security, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources,” pagdidiin pa ni Cimatu.

“Accordingly, SDGs require stronger commitment to restore, protect, and promote sustainable management of forests and other terrestrial ecosystems,” dagdag nito.

Samantala, sinabi naman ni DENR OIC Assistant Secretary for Staff Bureaus at kasalukuyan ding Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Ricardo Calderon na kahit na “ASEAN forestry continues to grow because of the integration and cooperation,” it is “somehow overshadowed by the growing concern on biodiversity conservation.”

Aniya, malaking bagay ang naitutulong ng mga kagubatan partikular na sa pagbibigay ng pangangailangan ng mga tao at ito rin ay isa sa tinatawag na “backbone” kung ang pag-uusapan ay ang ekonomiya ng ASEAN member-countries.

Binigyang-diin pa nito na ang deforestation at ang pagkawala ng biodiversity sa Southeast Asia ay hindi dapat ikahina ng ating loob bagkus ito pa ang gawing batayan para sa malaking pagbabago sa hinaharap.

“This is a major challenge to ASOF, the ASOF leaders, and our dialogue partners to work harder and walk the extra mile towards achieving the strategic direction and action plans and operationalize these at a national level,” sabi ni Calderon. ###

Southeast Asia’s environment, health and climate ministers will gather in the Philippines next week for a high-level roundtable discussion on clean air, health and climate change.

Happening on July 24-25 at The Peninsula Manila, the ASEAN Ministerial Roundtable Discussion on Clean Air, Health and Climate is co-hosted by the Philippine government—through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—together with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition of the United Nations.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the roundtable meeting will provide “a platform for an interactive discussion, in a high-level setup, on the opportunities and challenges of coming up with a regional approach to air pollution and climate change.”

The two-day event, he said, will also bring together experts and scientists in the ASEAN region and beyond to share local initiatives and insights toward global climate action, clean air and health that can simultaneously meet the goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of each country.

During the event, ASEAN member-countries will be called upon to respond collectively to the Special Report on Global Warming 1.5°C published by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2018.

The report emphasized the need for early action on all climate forcing emissions, including short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) as part of the pathway to stay well below 2°C as agreed by the parties to the Paris accord.

In terms of air pollution and its effect on public health and development which many of the ASEAN countries still experience as a challenge, the “Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-Based Solutions” report identified 25 clean air measures which if implemented across the region would result in 1 billion people enjoying clean air at the strictest ambient standards of the World Health Organization by 2030.

Further, this would also deliver 0.3°C reduced global warming relative to 2015 – reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 19 percent, methane by 44 percent, and black carbon by 77 percent by 2040-2050.

The event will commence in the morning of July 24 with the ASEAN Ministers Roundtable Discussion to be led by Secretary Cimatu, Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman of the Climate Change Commission.

A Senior Officials Workshop will proceed in the afternoon until the following day. It is comprised of four sessions marked with several presentations dealing with scientific studies and findings on the link between air pollution and climate change, clean air measures for Asia and the Pacific, benefits and tools for integrated action and SLCP mitigation, and initiatives on enhancing NDCs from select ASEAN member-states.

Outputs and results arising from the initial discussion are expected to prepare the region to collectively bring forth commitments and potential options to upscale climate actions during the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York and in the 15th ASEAN Plus Three Environment Ministers Meeting, both in September this year.

The discussion is likewise expected to serve as an impetus for greater action and ambition on air pollution, health and climate that could significantly contribute to the High-Level Officials Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on Health and Environment. #

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has assured that there will be no letup in the fight against climate change and disaster risks as building resilient communities remains a top priority for the government.

“Sa mga darating na araw at buwan, patuloy nating palalakasin ang ating mga programa at polisiya. Patuloy nating titiyakin ang katatagan ng kinabukasan ng ating bansa,” Cimatu said during the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Forum held in Davao City on July 17.

The forum came five days before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his fourth SONA on July 22.

As a way forward, Cimatu said the Duterte administration will continue to pursue policy reforms that integrate climate and disaster risk considerations into development policies, strategies, plans and programs.

Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will continue to coordinate closely with other line agencies under the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR) to ensure that they work together toward the goal of establishing adaptive and resilient communities.

The DENR chief co-chairs the cluster with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, while the Climate Change Commission acts as the cluster secretariat. The members include the Executive Secretary, the Cabinet Secretary, and the heads of the Presidential Management Staff, the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Finance, and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Other members are the secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Energy (DOE), the chairpersons of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, and the heads of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, Presidential Communications Operations Office, National Security Council, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Cimatu said the Cabinet cluster supports the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience and other legislative proposals that promote disaster and climate resilience, such as the proposed National Land Use Act, Land Administration Reform Act, Integrated Coastal Management Act, and National Building Code of the Philippines.

“With the help of Congress, we intend to adopt a national land use policy that will optimize balanced development,” Cimatu said. “We hope to achieve this through rational and just allocation, utilization, management and development of our country’s land resources under the proposed National Land Use Act.”

This policy, he said, will be complemented by the planned delineation of forest limits, which would enable the DENR to sustainably manage, conserve and protect the country’s remaining forests from further depletion.

Meanwhile, Cimatu said the proposed Land Administration Act seeks to improve the land sector as a driver to sustainable development, economic growth and poverty alleviation.

“Hindi lamang pangangalaga sa kalikasan ang pakay natin,” Cimatu explained. “Misyon din natin na mapakinabangan ng mamamayan ang likas na yaman sa mas mahabang panahon para lalo pang mapabuti ang kalagayan nila sa buhay.”

Cimatu said the cluster will work for the swift enactment of the Integrated Coastal Management Act, which would ensure optimum and sustainable resource utilization of coastal and marine environment.

He said the establishment of a department devoted to disaster resilience is necessary to help the government manage broader climate-disaster governance arrangements, and oversee the implementation of disaster risk and vulnerability reduction and management.

The cluster, according to Cimatu, also supports proposal to prohibit the conversion of irrigated lands as it would address the threats to the country’s food security.

He said that crucial to the government’s strategy was the proposed National Building Code of the Philippines, which aims to provide a framework for minimum standards and requirements for all buildings and structures so that government can regulate and control their location, site, construction, use, occupancy and maintenance.

At the same time, Cimatu said the government will provide the ability to generate, synthesize and disseminate knowledge, methodologies and decision-making tools to ensure climate resilience.

To cite an example, Cimatu said the DOST commits the installation of more than a dozen doppler weather radars and high frequency doppler radar networks in various parts of the country.

The DOST, he added, is also set to install several flood forecasting and warning systems in major river basins, a borehole seismic station in Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Island, and a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis in Metro Davao.

On the other hand, the DICT will implement programs on communications technology to prepare the communities and local government units in case of disasters.

“Lahat po ito ay gagawin natin para mabigyan ng panahon ang ating mga kababayan na lumikas bago pa man dumating ang bagyo,” Cimatu said.

“Sisiguruhin natin na walang pamilyang Pilipino ang nasa peligro sa panahon ng kalamidad,” he added.

Cimatu also revealed that the DOE will intensify development of renewable energy in off-grid areas for wider access of populace.

The government will continue to mainstream the use of alternative fuels and energy technology in the transport sector, as well as monitor the implementation of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, Cimatu said.

To ensure quick restoration of energy services during and after calamities, Cimatu said the government will strengthen energy systems and facilities through the energy resiliency program.

He also said that the government will provide financial assistance for disaster mitigation, preparedness and rehabilitation of damaged electric cooperatives. #

Magiging magkatuwang ang Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Compostela Valley para sa isasagawang rehabilitasyon ng Naboc River na matatagpuan sa Barangay Mt. Diwata, Compostela Valley na naging madumi dahil na rin sa mga latak na nagmula sa pagmimina.

Noong Hulyo 17, nilagdaan ang Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) sa pagitan nina DENR OIC Assistant Secretary for Field Operations-Eastern Mindanao at kasalukuyan ring Region 11 Executive Director Ruth Tawantawan at Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy sa opisina ng DENR Region 11 sa Davao City.

Sa kanyang mensahe matapos ang MOA signing, sinabi ni Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu na huhukayin ang ilog (dredging and desilting) upang matanggal ang dumi dulot ng pagmimina sa naturang lugar. Sa pamamagitan nito ay maisasaayos ang daloy ng tubig at matatanggal ang mga dumi na sanhi ng polusyon.

“We will not allow this river to die and we will relentlessly exhaust all means to bring it back to life, just as what we have successfully done in Boracay,” sabi pa ni Environment Secretary Cimatu.

“At the same time, never again shall we allow irresponsible mining operations to thrive in the area,” dagdag pa nito kasabay ng pagsasabi na ang rehabilitasyon ng Naboc River ay isa sa kanyang prayoridad na programa bilang kalihim ng DENR.

Sinabi pa ni Cimatu, na sa nakalipas na 25 taon ay naging catchment basin ang ilog ng mga nakalalasong kemikal mula sa gold mining at iba pang gawain ng mga tao sa Mt. Diwalwal. Dahil din sa abusadong paggamit ng ilog ay nalason ito ng kemikal partikular na ng mercury. Mayroon na rin itong fecal coliform o dumi ng tao at hayop.

Ang Naboc River ay nagmumula sa itaas na bahagi ng Mt. Diwata at dumadaloy sa anim na barangay sa mga munisipalidad ng Monkayo at Compostela. Kabilang dito ang mga barangay ng Babag, Mt. Diwata, Naboc, Tubo-Tubo, Upper Ulip at Mangyan.

Ayon pa kay Cimatu, ang Mt. Diwalwal ay naging biktima ng kasakiman at iresponsableng pagmimina ng mga tao sa naturang lugar sa loob ng dalawang dekada.

“The system goes green and in full swing. I have no doubt we will succeed in the same way we succeeded in rehabilitating Boracay,” sabi ni Cimatu matapos ang paglagda sa MOA.

Sa kanyang State of the Nation Address noong 2017, hinikayat ni Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte ang mga mambabatas na bisitahin ang isang ilog sa Diwalwal, bilang pagtukoy sa Naboc River, na dating napakalinis ngunit naging kulay itim na.

Bilang tugon sa pangulo, sinabi ni Cimatu na bumuo ng plano ang DENR upang mabigyan ng solusyon ang problemang ito.

Inatasan na rin ang Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) na magsagawa ng 500-meter sampling interval mula sa Barangay Diwata hanggang sa Barangay Babag sa Monkayo upang matukoy ang kalagayan ng ilog. Nakumpirma din sa pag-aaral ang mataas na antas ng mercury at fecal coliform sa kahabaan ng ilog.

Noong Hulyo ng nakalipas na taon ay naglabas ng Special Order No. 2018-593 ang kalihim na bumubuo sa Provincial Task Force Naboc River (PTFNR) sa Region 11. Ito ay bahagi ng Executive Order No. 217 ni Pangulong Duterte na nagtatatag sa National Task Force Diwalwal.

Ang PTFNR ay nakapag-bigay na ng 1,797 cease and desist orders sa mga may-ari ng ball mills at planta ng carbon-in-pulp nitong nakalipas na Marso. Dahil naman sa “Lihok Alang sa Naboc” ay naging madali ang operasyon sa paglipat ng mga informal settlers at processing plants mula sa Mt. Diwata patungo sa Sitio Mabatas upang matugunan ang environmental concerns sa Diwalwal.

Bukod sa paglilinis ay nagkaroon na din ng information, education at communication activities sa nasabing lugar.

Nagpasalamat din si Cimatu sa mga barangay officials sa lugar na tumutulong sa kampanya upang malinis ang Naboc River sa pamamagitan ng kanilang solid waste management.

Nakapaloob sa MOA na ang DENR at ang Compostela LGU ay magtataguyod at pananatilihin ang pag-unlad ng komunidad sa pamamagitan ng “rational exploration, development, utilization at conservation” ng mga mineral resources sa ilog.

Pangagasiwaan din ng DENR ang lahat ng aktibidad para sa rehabilitasyon ng ilog upang matiyak na sumusunod ang mga ito sa environmental laws, rules and regulation at sa rehabilitation Master Plan sa pakikipagtulungan sa DPWH.

Regular ding magsasagawa ng periodic monitoring ng ilog bilang Water Quality Management Area na nakapaloob sa Republic Act 9275 (RA) o mas kilala sa tawag na Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 upang masuri ang epekto ng gagawing paglilinis sa ilog.

Titiyakin naman ng MGB at ng provincial local government na ang lahat ng buhangin at graba kabilang na ang metallic materials na makukuha sa ilog na may kaukulang permits ay maitatapon ng maayos batay sa RA 7942 o Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Department Administrative Order 2010-21 o ang Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7942 at iba pang kahalintulad na batas. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with the provincial government of Compostela Valley (ComVal) for the intensified rehabilitation of the mine-waste contaminated Naboc River in Bgy. Mt Diwata, Compostela Valley.

The Memorandum of Agreement was signed Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by DENR OIC Assistant Secretary for Field Operations-Eastern Mindanao and concurrent Region 11 Executive Director Ruth Tawantawan and Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy at the regional office of the DENR.

Following the MOA signing, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the river will be dredged and desilted after it has been heavily silted and poisoned due to irresponsible and abusive mining operations in the area. This will address pollution in the river and improve the flow of water on its channels.

“We will not allow this river to die and we will relentlessly exhaust all means to bring it back to life, just as what we have successfully done in Boracay,” said Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

“At the same time, never again shall we allow irresponsible mining operations to thrive in the area,” he said, adding that the rehabilitation of Naboc River is among his priority programs as DENR secretary.

According to Cimatu, for the past 25 years, the river has been the catchment basin of all toxic wastes coming from gold mining and human activities in Mt. Diwalwal. Years of abuse and misuse have resulted to the deterioration of the river’s water quality. It is now heavily poisoned by mercury and tainted by fecal coliform.

Naboc River originates from the uppermost slope of Mt. Diwata and traverses through the six barangays in the municipalities of Monkayo and Compostela – Babag, Mt. Diwata, Naboc, Tubo-Tubo, Upper Ulip and Mangyan.

Cimatu further said Mt. Diwalwal “has been the pet prey of man’s insatiable greed – the wanton and irresponsible mining activities in the area” for over two decades.

With the signing of the MOA, “the system goes green and in full swing,” said Cimatu. “I have no doubt we will succeed in the same way we succeeded in rehabilitating Boracay.”

In his 2017 State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called upon lawmakers to visit the river in Diwalwal, in reference to Naboc River, whose waters he described as turning from pristine to black.

In response to this, Cimatu said, the DENR has crafted a plan of action to “once and for all address the problem.”

On orders of Cimatu, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has conducted a 500-meter sampling interval from Bgy. Diwata down to Bgy. Babag in Monkayo to assess and evaluate the condition of the river. Results confirmed that the whole stretch of the river has exceeded the standard level of mercury and fecal coliform.

The environment chief also issued Special Order No. 2018-593 on July last year which created the Provincial Task Force Naboc River (PTFNR) in Region 11. The task force was pursuant to the Executive Order No. 217 of President Duterte which created the National Task Force Diwalwal.

The PTFNR has served 1,797 cease and desist orders (CDOs) to ball mills and carbon-in-pulp plant owners on March this year. It also undertook the “Lihok Alang sa Naboc” operation which aimed the immediate transfer of informal settlers and all processing plants from Mt. Diwata to Sitio Mabatas in Bgy. Upper Ulip in Monkayo to address Diwalwal’s environmental concerns.

Clean up, information, education and communication activities were also conducted in the area.

Cimatu thanked barangay officials in the area who have campaigned to clean Naboc River through solid waste management.

Under the MOA, DENR and the Compostela LGU commit to promote sustainable community development through the rational exploration, development, utilization and conservation of mineral resources in the river.

For its part, the DENR shall have supervisory authority in all activities over the course of the rehabilitation of the river and ensure strict adherence to all relevant environmental laws, rules and regulations and the rehabilitation Master Plan in collaboration with Department of Public Works and Highways.

It shall also conduct periodic monitoring of the river as Water Quality Management Area under Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 to evaluate the effects of the clean up on the river.

The MGB and the provincial local government shall also ensure that all sand and gravel materials, as well as metallic materials extracted from the river, pursuant to mining permits are disposed of in accordance with RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Department Administrative Order 2010-21 or the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7942, and relevant laws, rules and regulations. ###