Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Eastern Visayas is urging everyone in the region to join millions of people around the world in marking Earth Hour on March 27, 2021, 8:30-9:30 P.M.

The Earth Hour campaign encourages people and business establishments to switch off lights and non-essential electrical appliances as a way of speaking up for nature and supporting the global call for action against climate change and its impact to biodiversity and health.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, switching off lights for Earth Hour is a symbolic gesture of our commitment to the planet. Let’s learn our lessons from the pandemic - nature is essential to human existence, we are interlinked. Its state affects our well-being, therefore taking part in collective actions that create a positive impact for the environment should be our concern”, DENR VIII Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr. says.

Observed globally for over a decade, Earth Hour has led successful campaigns towards a healthy and livable planet. This year, the campaign is anchored on a theme “Speak Up for Nature #Connect2Earth”. This carries a vision to always do more for our one and only planet, especially with the urgent threat of biodiversity loss affecting human health.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million residents switched off the lights of their homes and offices in order to pledge their support to saving the environment. The trend soon caught on and several other countries participated across the globe in the initiative. At present, there are more than 180 countries that actively observe Earth Hour every year.

Valuing water”, underscores this year’s observance of World Water Day on March 22. This theme aims to generate global attention on the importance of water and create a deeper understanding of how different people value this precious resource.

“Celebrating World Water Day is a reminder for us to value water for all its uses – for households, health, culture, agriculture, industries, and the environment”, says Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr. of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region VIII.

 To promote the value of water and the advocacy of World Water Day, the DENR Regional Office in coordination with PENRO Leyte and CENRO Palo conducted a community education and public awareness activity (CEPA) for some barangay officials of Pastrana, Leyte. The CEPA highlighted the importance of the Binahaan Watershed as water source of the PrimeWater Leyte Metro, providing potable water to the municipalities of Pastrana, Santa Fe, Palo, Tanauan, Tolosa, Tabon-tabon, Dagami, and Tacloban City.

Director Parian said giving importance to water means valuing its natural sources and ecosystems, valuing water infrastructure and services, valuing water as an input to production and socio-economic activity, and valuing socio-cultural aspects of water.

“If we fail to see the value of water, we risk mismanaging this very important resource”, Director Parian stressed.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

International Day of Forests – March 21 highlights the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability, and food security.

Observed this year with the theme “Forest Restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”, the celebration promotes the valuable benefits of forests in terms of human health, food security, environmental and climatic condition, provision of green jobs, stakeholder engagement, and healing.

In Region VIII, the Department of Environment and Natural and Resources (DENR) promotes the importance of forests by improving the remaining unproductive, denuded, and degraded forestlands through the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP).

DENR VIII Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian Jr. disclosed that in 2020 alone, the DENR in partnership with local stakeholders produced a total of 2,612,189 planting materials and developed 4,021 hectares ENGP plantation. The ENGP also provided jobs to 69 Forest Extension Officers and more members of people’s organizations and local communities last year.

Director Parian also added that in order to encourage wider stakeholders’ engagement in forest restoration, the Department is now directly involving families as immediate beneficiaries and implementers of the Enhanced National Greening Program.

“Restoring our degraded forests is possible if we work hand in hand and contribute to greening efforts in any way we can”, RED Parian said.

“The advocacy of the International Day of Forests reminds us that every tree counts. Let us take part in this celebration and be reminded that our health and well-being depends so much on the condition of our forests. Healthy forests is a formidable shield against our changing climate and the threats that comes with it”, he stressed.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2012 proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests to celebrate and raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests. It encourages countries to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified potential tree planting sites in the region for those who will be complying with a recent policy of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in support to government’s greening program.

The LTFRB, in its Memorandum Circular issued last November 20, 2020, requires operators of public utility vehicles who will apply for an issuance or renewal of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) to plant one tree for every unit applied for.

Per directive from the DENR-Forest Management Bureau, the regional office has drawn up a list of potential areas per province and the seedlings to be planted. A total of 7, 177 hectares were identified in around fifty eight (58) municipalities.

“The potential areas identified were the sites with established plantations under the National Greening Program (NGP) with low survival rates. These will be replaced by the seedlings that will be planted by the franchise applicants from the LTFRB,” says Forester Mirasol Melgazo, Forest Management Specialist II.

“The applicants are advised to coordinate with their respective Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs) for the planting site and the appropriate seedlings to be planted. They are likewise advised to secure their own planting materials which will not be provided by the DENR” added Melgazo.

The LTFRB Circular requires the operators to coordinate with the concerned local government unit where they hold business or the concerned DENR office on the area allowed for tree-planting activity and shall secure proof of compliance from the LGU or DENR. Said proof and corresponding photographs shall be attached to their application for issuance or extension of CPC. Failure to attach said requirement shall cause non-acceptance of their application.

 “We welcome this laudable initiative of the LTFRB which supports the greening program of the government. May this practice become a habit for everyone even if not required by any government agency,” says Regional Executive Director, Tirso P. Parian, Jr.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now adopting the “family approach” as one of the modes in implementing the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP). Under this program, families are allowed to establish forest plantations composed of timber and non-timber species like rattan. Within production zones, beneficiary families can also establish agroforestry plantations composed of timber, non-timber, and high-value crops such as coffee, cacao, rubber, and other fruit trees, provided that the area must be planted with more forestry species than high-value crops.

In adopting the family approach, the families themselves will directly benefit from the program. Implementing this approach is guided by Technical Bulletin No. 30 issued by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB),” says Forester Crisostomo E. Badeo, Jr., Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Palo.

Technical Bulletin No. 30 was issued by the FMB to facilitate the participation of families in the National Greening Program as partners of the Department when developing plantation or rehabilitating qualified areas.

Recently CENRO Palo, identified 122 families as beneficiaries of this program. They will be planting an aggregate area of 763 hectares with different commodities. This is divided into 200 hectares for bamboo trees, 63 hectares for fruit-bearing trees and another 469 hectares for indigenous species.

“We encourage the family-beneficiaries to put to heart the implementation of this program and for our part, the DENR commits to provide the technical and financial assistance as long as your claim is valid and with complete requirements. Let us help each other on this program,” says Moises de la Cruz, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Leyte who affixed his signature on the LOAs for the Department.