History

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had its beginnings in the old Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR). In May 1974, the DANR was split into two departments through Presidential Decree (P.D.) 461 in recognition that natural resources and agriculture are broad and differing concerns. As such, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was mandated to ensure the conservation, optimum utilization, and programmed exploitation of the country's natural wealth including the aquatic resources. With the shift to a parliamentary form of government in 1978, the DNR became the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). In 1984, by virtue of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 697, the management of the fisheries sector through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), was transferred from the MNR to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The events of February 1986 brought social awareness among the Filipino people that altered the character of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). The creation of DENR under E.O. No. 131 on January 30, 1987 and the issuance of E.O. 192 on June 10, 1987 better known as the "Reorganization Act of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources" brought a radical shift in the Department's structure and functions. Pursuant to the EO, the DENR became the primary government agency responsible for the conservation, development and optimum use of the natural resources as well as the protection and development of a sustainable environmental management system for the benefit and welfare of the Filipino people.

The approval of the Philippine Mining Act or R.A. 7945 and implementation of DAO No. 97-11 brought changes to the structure of the Regional Office, relieving Mines and Geo-Sciences Sector from the Region and authorizing this Sector to perform line function.

Changes were brought by the passage and approval of the Clean Air Act or R.A. 8749 mandating the Region's Environment Sector to operate as a line Bureau.

DENR Region VIII was part of this historic evolution.  The history of this office can be traced back when it was still the Bureau of Forestry District Office No. 41 which was first headed by District Forester Patricio Banayat.  Bureau of Forestry District 41 was still under the management and supervision of BF Regional Office No. VII in Cebu City headed by Regional Director Gabino Montillo. 

The creation of additional regional offices throughout the country resulted in the dissolution and creation of some district offices.  The Tacloban district office 41 separated from Cebu and became the Bureau of Forest Development Regional Office 8 in Tacloban City. Forester Fernando Atmospera was the first Acting Regional Director in Region 8.  Initial personnel component of the BFD Regional Office in Tacloban came from dissolved offices in Butuan, Cagayan de Oro and others.

BFD District Offices were then created in Region 8:  Leyte including Biliran Sub Province District Office was headed by District Forester (DF) Patricio Banayat; Southern Leyte District Office headed by DF Mico; Samar District Office headed by DF Castro; Eastern Samar headed by DF Renato de Rueda; Northern Samar headed by DF Arcadio Calabas.

The year 1970s to 1980s saw the logging boom in Region 8.  Ordinary timber concessions were consolidated into bigger areas and awarded as Timber License Agreements to big time concessionaires who harvested timber for export.

Forester Arcadio Calabas succeeded Fernando Atmospera in the regional leadership which was later passed on to Regional Director Faustino Cabrido,  Isidoro Siapno, Honorato Esteves and Mariano Machacon, respectively.

It was during RD Machacon’s time that the Wood Industry Development Authority (WIDA) was created in 1985.  Forester Francisco C. Manaog was designated as OIC Regional Director of WIDA covering the island provinces of Samar and Leyte in Region 8.  Later on, four (4) WIDA Sub-district offices were created in provinces with operating timber licensees.  These were: Dolores, Eastern Samar; Basey, Samar; Laoang, Northern Samar; and San Juan, Southern Leyte.  This set-up was shortlived when the EDSA revolution happened in Feb.25, 1986.

Since its reorganization on June 10, 1987 as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the management of the office had been entrusted to the following Regional Executive Directors:  Marcelino V. Dalmacio – July  22, 1987 to February 1988; Fortunato s. Arcangel – February 1988 to February 1989; Leopoldo L. Ulanday – March 1989 to March 1990; Rosalio B. Goze – March 28, 1990 to January 22, 1992; Augustus L. Momongan – January 23, 1992 to January 1996; Israel C. Gaddi – January 18, 1996 to April 22, 1999; Al Rashid  Ishmael – January 18, 1999 to July 27, 1999; Wilfredo Pollisco – July 28, 1999 to August 24, 1999; Pedro B. Calixto – August 25, 1999 to January 18, 2000; Oscar C. Dominguez – January 21, 2000 to April 23, 2001; Pedro V. Calixto – April 23, 2001 to July 7, 2003; Leonardo R. Sibbaluca – July 7, 2003 to December 15, 2006; Alfredo S. Pascual – December 2006 to January 12, 2009; Regidor M. De Leon – January 12, 2009 to November 10, 2009; Primitivo C. Galinato, Jr. – November 10, 2009 to June 22, 2011; Rogelio T. Trinidad – June 27, 2011 to June  8,  2012; and Manolito D. Ragub – June  9, 2012 to present.