"I cannot do this alone, President Duterte cannot do this alone. We need all hands on deck," Cimatu said in a speech after the DENR leadership was formally transferred to him by outgoing Secretary Gina Lopez.

The new DENR chief specifically mentioned "the men and women of the DENR from the senior officials at the central office to the rangers, foresters, geologists and even janitors on the ground."

He also mentioned the various clients of the DENR, including big and small businesses and all households, as well as agency's international partners.

"We have to work together as a team. With teamwork, we can do so much more in accomplishing the critical responsibilities we carry on our shoulders," he pointed out.

According to Cimatu, his appointment to the DENR has caught him "completely by surprise."

In a gesture of humility, Cimatu asked that he be given time to fully grasp the DENR and all its functions.

He admitted that the DENR is a completely different field for him since he has been known as a former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and later as special envoy for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"Here I am wading in into a field far removed from soldiery. That is why you will please excuse me if I ask that I be given time to scan and study the terrain in an agency which impacts considerably on our very life as a people and the future of our beloved Philippines," Cimatu said.

Meanwhile, Cimatu was all praises to Lopez, saying he wished he could approximate her passion for the environment.

He described his predecessor as a "very passionate and ardent advocate of environmental protection and inclusive growth."

The former military chief said his entry to the DENR was "even more challenging" as it came right after the "very heated confirmation debates" involving Lopez.

Nevertheless, Cimatu said he will try to do his best as "President Duterte's point man in the daunting task of protecting our environment in all its forms."

He vowed to promote the "wise and proper use" of the country's natural resources "for the public good." 

Prior to his appointment as DENR Secretary, Cimatu served as the 29th AFP chief of staff in 2002.

In the 1980s, Cimatu was sent to Northern Panay as Batallion Commander in Aklan province, which was then under the heavy influence of the New People’s Army (NPA).

At that time, the highway of the northern towns, especially in Ibajay, was heavily infested by the NPA. The highway was also a gateway to the present-day Boracay Island, to which his successful efforts to clear the area from threats led to the development of the top tourist destination spot in the country today.

He also became a Brigade Commander in Davao, Cotabato, and Sarangani, where he was promoted as a one-star general after his troops successfully rescued four hostages kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf. ###


DENR spearheads tree planting in celebration of Philippine Arbor Day

ArborDayThe Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in region 8 highlights the celebration of this year’s Philippine Arbor Day by spearheading a tree planting activity at Brgy. Salvacion, Palo, Leyte.

The event was participated by over two hundred (200) volunteers from the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Education (DepEd), local government unit of Palo, barangay local government unit of Salvacion, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Tacloban Chapter, Pepsi Cola, Office of Leyte 1st District Representative Yedda Romualdez, DENR regional office, CENRO Palo, PENRO Leyte, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Read more...

Photo Releases

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez leads employees of DENR region 8 in an oath to take care of the environment and be better stewards of the earth. Employees also committed to work for integrity, public service, and common good. The oath of commitment was made by the employees during the visit of Secretary Lopez to DENR regional office on January 16, 2016.

DENR 8 Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca presents the region’s central nursery and the 12-hectare Leyte Gulf Mangrove Rehabilitation Project site at Brgy. Anibong, Tacloban City to Green Climate Fund (GCF) Director Javier Manazares (seated, 3rd from left) and Demetrio Innocenti (seated, 4th from left). The project implemented in 2014 in the hardest hit provinces of Leyte, Samar, and Eastern Samar by Typhoon Yolanda envisions to restore the lush mangroves in said areas, emphasizing on the crucial role these mangroves play in protecting the coastline, preventing coastal erosion, serving as buffer for tidal currents and storm driven waves, and mitigating the unavoidable impacts of climate change. GCF visited the area for an ocular inspection in response to the request of Secretary Lopez for financial assistance in support to the department’s programs and projects on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Also in photo are (seated L-R) ERDB Director Henry Adornado, ASec Junie Hernandez, Assistant Secretary Evelyn Cruzada of the Performance and Projects Management Office, office of the Cabinet Secretary.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in region 8 recognizes the important role played by indigenous communities in the protection and preservation of the region’s protected areas. In photo is the Mamanwa Indigenous Community in Burauen, Leyte joining this year’s Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park Outdoor Festival held on February 3, coinciding with the declaration of MVNP as a protected area under the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Act. The event intends to showcase the natural park as a home to various species of flora and fauna including the Philippine Eagle, and promote the preservation of the rich biodiversity in the area. 

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