Press Releases

As one of the Priority Thrusts and Programs of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), PENRO Kalinga gave its full support to the improved Land Administration and Management Program of the agency, in which, it is responsible in the disposition of Alienable and Disposable land of the Public Domain to qualified land owners.

For the year 2018, DENR-PENRO Kalinga processed and transmitted 238 Residential Free Patents to the Registry of Deeds exceeding its total target of 221.  It also transmitted 164 Agricultural Free Patents transmitted out of the total target of 150.

The applications were received from the field offices of CENRO Pinukpuk and CENRO Tabuk, who are responsible in the processing and evaluation of applications and forward the same to the PENR Office for final verification and transmittal to the Registry of Deeds for the registration of land titles.

On the conduct of Public Land Survey, DENR Kalinga was able to survey 268 lots for Residential and surveyed 185 Agricultural lots The survey activities were conducted by the Licensing Patents and Deeds Sections in the field offices who are responsible in the ground investigation and inspection; afterwhich the survey returns are forwarded to the regional Office for their approval.

As a result of the teamwork of the DENR-PENRO Kalinga personnel through the leadership of the OIC, PENR Officer Noel M. Barrientos and in coordination with the Registry of Deeds of Kalinga,18 Certificate of Titles were awarded to the beneficiaries under the Handog Titulo Program at Barangay Malin-awa, Tabuk City, Kalinga.

During the awarding, PENRO Barrientos explained the 10 Priority Programs of the DENR particularly on the Improved Land Administration and Management relating it to the distribution of land titles to the beneficiaries at Malin-awa. He encouraged the community people to apply for titles on their lands that are alienable and disposable and introduce improvements according to their land uses.

The distribution of titles was witnessed by the barangay officials led by Barangay Captain Antonio Pagtan, the community residents, the Military personnel of the 503 Brigade, 77 IB, and CMO Battalion and some students of Kalinga State University who on the same day were on the site to participate in the water body clean-up which was also initiated by PENRO Kalinga Office.

With these activities, the services of the DENR are brought closer to the people.  They are given the titles of their land which they could hold on to as a legal proof of ownership of their land.

As President Rodolfo Duterte mentioned in one his speeches after distributing land titles, “To our hardworking farmers: You are no longer just tillers. You are now proud owners of your own land. I also encourage you to continue your noble duty of tilling our fields and bringing food on the table of every Filipino.”|P. Kalinga, DNDasayon

Bangued, Abra – The DENR is the primary agency tasked to enforce environmental protection, conservation and management.  In DENR-Abra, the top officials called on the youth of Abra to be the eco-ambassadors who will work with the office to attain its vision to have a sustainable and clean environment. A total of fifty (50) students from the different schools in Abra attended recently the Lecture on Environment and Natural Resources Programs at the CENRO Bangued conference Hall. Forester Shirley T. Leaño, the CENR Officer – CENRO Bangued welcomed the students and inspired them to become more sensitive on environmental matters. She said that they can make their homes and schools more environmental friendly by adopting eco-friendly practices such as recycling of different materials, tree planting and clean-up drives Ianne April P. Bello, the Human Resource Management Officer discussed the vision, mission, mandate and the sustainable development goals of the DENR. Likewise, Rex B. Ballacillo, Ecosystems Management Specialist II, discussed the topic protected area and biodiversity, its importance and how to protect and manage them. When the students were asked about Casamata Hill being a protected area, most of them were unaware of its proclamation. Mr. Ballacillo showed photos of endangered floras and faunas in the Philippines and cited mitigating measures. Meanwhile, Kevin Haji F. Aguinaldo, the Youth Desk Officer of CENRO Bangued concluded the activity by discussing climate change and presented a video clip on its causes and effects. He encouraged the students to put into heart and mind all the lessons they have learned from lecture and to apply and enforce them at home and in school. The youth are essential in the management of the environment. They represent almost half of the world’s population. Educating and engaging them in environmental protection not only creates direct impact on changing youth behaviors and attitudes, but possibly influences their parents, relatives and other community residents.|P. Abra, KHFAguinaldo

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu expressed hope the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) would receive the P3.036 billion additional funding it needed to bankroll three crucial programs the agency will start to implement next year.

“We are hopeful the budget augmentation will be included in the final version of the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) to be passed by Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate—and signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Cimatu said.

The proposed funding increase includes P1.2 billion for the Enforcement Bureau; P1.8 billion for the full implementation of the Republic Act No. 11038 or the “Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (E-NIPAS) Act of 2018” ; and P36 million for land titling.

During the budget deliberation at the House Appropriations Committee held last September 6, both the Majority and Minority blocs threw their support behind Cimatu’s plans to create an Enforcement Bureau with the assurance that they would push for the augmentation of the DENR budget during the bicameral conference on the 2020 GAB.

He explained that with its own Enforcement Bureau, the DENR could effectively enforce environmental laws and protect its workers who have been the vicious targets of illegal loggers and other environmental criminals.

The environment chief made the appeal a few days after Bienvenido Veguilla Jr., a DENR forest ranger, was brutally killed by suspected illegal loggers in El Nido, Palawan.

The deliberation likewisetackled the need for the additional funds for the full implementation of and the acceleration of land titling and distribution of public lands.

Last Sept. 20, the House approved on third and final reading the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, including the P25.5 billion allocation for the DENR which is 16 percent higher than the P21.96 billion it got for this year.

The Senate had already started its own review of the government’s spending plan for next year and is expected to come up with its own version of the GAB.

“We are hoping that the DENR would get the same extent of support from the senators just like their counterparts in the House when they meet at the bicameral conference committee,” Cimatu said.

“Representatives crossed party lines in casting their support,” Cimatu said, referring to the commitment of support given by House Majority Floor leader Martin Romualdez, House Minority leader Manila 6th District Rep. BienvenidoAbante Jr., and independent opposition Albay 1st District Rep. EdcelLagman.

At the deliberations, Romualdez assured Cimatu of joining “the minority in the proposals to support the department all out” in response to Abante’s assurance of the minority block’s support to the DENR’s appeal to increase its proposed 2020 budget

“Kung hindi pa kayo masyadong Masaya dyan, andito po kami,” Abante said, responding to Cimatu’s appeal on the need to increase the proposed DENR P25.5 budget.

For his part, Lagman said that “the independent minority will join the majority” in pushing for the increase in the DENR’s budget.

“Mr. Chairman. At the proper time, if the Majority in the Committee or at the Plenary would consider a justified augmentation of the proposed budget of the DENR, the independent opposition will join the majority in making this allocation,” Lagman said.

The DENR—through Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones—submitted to Congress the proposed augmentation budget of the agency last Sept. 16.

In a letter addressed to House Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Leones said the DENR would need P1.2 billion for the establishment and initial operation of the proposed Enforcement Bureau in 2020.

Leones said the agency would also need P1.8 billion for the full implementation of E-NIPAS law, and P36 million to fast track the issuance of titles for alienable and disposable public lands.

According to Leones, the creation of an Enforcement Bureau within the DENR is in line with the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda, particularly peace and order, as it would enable the department to “fully implement and enforce laws on environment and natural resources (ENR) with full authority to police illegal loggers and ENR violators.”

The DENR official also cited the need for “full logistic support” for the implementation of the E-NIPAS law and the acceleration of public land distribution.

“Still, under the 10-point agenda of the President, to be specific, is to ‘ensure security of land tenure’ to encourage investments and address bottlenecks in land management and titling,” Leones pointed out.

The E-NIPAS law expands NIPAS Act of 1992 to cover broader range of protected areas (PAs) safeguarded under the law. The new law adds 94 more legislated PAs in the country, and bolsters the security of previously declared PAs.

The law allows the DENR to strengthen the management of PAs, which are widely considered essential for biodiversity conservation. PAs are frequently home to irreplaceable and threatened species. ###

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has announced the temporary suspension of all dragon boat race activities in Boracay in the wake of a deadly accident that claimed the lives of seven members of a local-based dragon boat group.

Cimatu, who chairs the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), said that such activities are “postponed for the time being until emergency protocols are thoroughly scrutinized.”

“We are temporarily suspending all dragon boat race activities in Boracay, including practice and training, until we have assessed their practice protocols,” Cimatu said.

All agencies involved in emergency rescue and response are scheduled to meet on Monday, Sept. 30 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of protocols, logistics and resources, and to come up with recommendations to address gaps subject to the approval of the BIATF.

These agencies include the local government of Malay and its Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Philippine National Police Maritime Group, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, the local dragon boat associations and other water sports associations in the Philippines.

On Sept. 25, seven members of the Boracay Dragon Force died, while 14 others were injured when the boat they were rowing capsized off Boracay Island. The group was then training for an upcoming international competition in Taiwan.

Upon learning of the incident, Cimatu expressed his sympathy to the victims and their families, as he promised that emergency response programs will be strengthened in Boracay to prevent a similar incident in the future.

According to reports, the boat capsized after it was hit by large swells of waves originating from the sudden violent gusts of wind before the dragon boat racers reached the third bay of Tulubhan Beach in Barangay Manocmanoc.

Members of the team were not wearing life vests during that time, while one of the paddlers did not know how to swim, the reports added.

The local government of Malay, Aklan and partner agencies have extended their support to the bereaved families by offering them services, such as financial assistance, stress debriefing, cadaver management, and security. ###

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu hit the ground running Wednesday as the newly appointed chair of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) in answer to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call to clean the Pasig River.

The environment chief led atechnical inspection of Pasig River and pledged to get rid of informal settlers and go after pollutersof the historic river.

Cimatu was joined in the more than two-hour inspection tour of the river by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Danilo Lim, and officials of the PRRC, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

As they traversed the length of Pasig River from Manila to Makati, Cimatu noted several violations including the three-meter easement from the riverbanks.

"We have the authority to restore the three-meter easement, and MMDA and PRRC are working on this," Cimatu said.

Based on Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, banks of rivers and streams and shores of seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage.

However, MMDA Resolution No. 3, series of 1996 adopts the uniform 10-meter easement from the existing shoreline, banks or streams along the Pasig River.

According to Cimatu, the 10 meter easement along the Pasig River is subject to expropriation.

The environment chief also saw some 1,000 informal settler families (ISFs) near Del Pan Bridge and vowed to relocate them.

"Relocation is our priority. We will take immediate action. We will remove and relocate the ISFs in coordination with the National Housing Authority,” he said.

Cimatu said that during his recent meeting with local government officials, including barangay captains, he warned them of administrative and criminal charges should they allow relocated ISFs to return to their previous settlements.

The DENR chief said that outfalls discharging wastewater into the river will be checked to monitor water quality, as well as illegal discharges.

“The moment we see a private outfall whose discharge is not according to standards, we will issue them a Notice of Violation (NOV),” Cimatu warned.

He noted that establishments which were earlier issued NOV have been made to pay fines for every day that they did not comply. “We will not let this pass. We will bring these to the Pollution Adjudication Board,” he added.

Cimatu also said the regulated and proper use of the river will be observed, referring to the barges docked along the river that deliver raw materials to the factories, and to the makeshift junkshops along the riverbanks.

“We have to move them out because they contribute to the low quality of the water in the river,” said Cimatu.

The DENR chief said that immediate action will be taken on the large amount of water hyacinths in the river.

MMDA Chair Lim said a 600-meter trash trap has been installed to prevent water hyacinths to reach Pasig River from Laguna Lake but this was destroyed by the continuous rains, thus will have to be replaced.

Cimatu also stressed the need to clean the esteros simultaneously and continuously to prevent the garbage from flowing to the river and then to Manila Bay.

The Pasig River tour gave Cimatu a picture of the water body’s physical condition, as well as the structures and establishments in the riverbanks that affect the river’s water quality.

On August 28, President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 90 transferring the PRRC Chairmanship from the PRRC to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with hopes to revive the river with Cimatu at the helm.

The President recently expressed dismay over the river’s water quality describing it as “uncleanable” because the lack of zoning caused factories and houses along the river to discharge their waste to it.

Last year, Cimatu delivered on the President’s directive to clean Boracay in six months. Early this year, he was tasked to spearhead the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay which has gained ground with the cleanup of esteros, the resettlement of informal settler families (ISF) and the improving water quality readings in major outfalls.

Pasig River is approximately 27 kilometers long and connects Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay. The main Pasig River passes through the cities of Taguig, Pasig, Makati, Mandaluyong and Manila, and the municipality of Taytay in Rizal.

The river system has four major tributaries—Marikina, Pateros-Taguig, Napindan and San Juan—and 43 minor tributaries mostly located in Manila. ###