Press Releases

A total of Php75 million has been earmarked for calendar year 2021 in the implementation of the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP) using the family approach strategy. It will benefit more than 600 impoverished families from identified municipalities in the province of Northern Samar that includes the municipalities of Palapag, Mapanas, Laoang, San Roque, Catubig, Las Navas, Silvino Lobos and Catarman, among others.

The amount will be distributed to the family-beneficiaries who are tasked to plant an area covering 3, 195 hectares that will be planted with bamboo, agroforestry and indigenous species. On the part of the family-beneficiaries, they will be given a budget for their seedling production, plantation establishment and for the 1st year maintenance activities.

The National Greening Program (NGP) was conceptualized mainly as poverty alleviation and food security initiative by the government. The welfare of the people is given importance and because the program espouses participatory strategy, they are themselves involved in the advocacy for environmental protection and conservation”, says Forester Joselito L. Eco, OIC-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of PENRO-Northern Samar during the signing of the Letter of Agreement (LOA) between the ENGP beneficiaries and the DENR.

In Silvino Lobos, a 4th class municipality in Northern Samar, 50 families recently signed LOAs with the DENR for the implementation of the ENGP in their area. The said family-beneficiaries are under contract with the Department to plant an area comprising of 131 hectares of bamboo and agroforestry plantation with an approximate total budget of Php2.5 million to be distributed to the family-beneficiaries for year 2021 alone.

This family-based approach will directly benefit the families themselves and the plantation will have a greater chance of success because of a higher sense of belongingness coming from the beneficiaries,” says OIC PENR officer Eco.

All islets such as sandbars and delta shall not be subjected to any mode of titling. Islands formed by accretion or gradual process of accumulation of soil within navigable or floatable lakes or rivers, as well as dried creeks and dried river beds shall not be alienated, unless declared as open for disposition through a law enacted by the Congress or a Presidential Proclamation.

This, according to the Department of Environment of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is pursuant to DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2020-16 dated December 10, 2020 entitled “Guidelines on the Disposition of Lands formed by Accretion Adjacent to Agricultural Lands and Management of Islets in River Channels.”

Said policy also mandates DENR regional offices through the CENROs and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the region to assess the physical and biological conditions including exposure to environmental and climate risks of these lands, and to declare whether these lands will be designated as no-build zone.

In instances, where potential and most suitable use are determined, the DENR may recommend the issuance of Presidential Proclamation or enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the local government unit for the proper management and development of the area.

Meanwhile, lands formed by accretion adjacent to agricultural lands (A&D) shall be disposed in accordance with the provisions of CA 141, as amended or the Public Land Act and the Civil Code of the Philippines.

DENR VIII Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr. says, “it is important that individuals adhere to the policies set by the government in managing the land to ensure both the conservation of resources and the safety of everyone”.

On January 16, 2012, Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, issued a memorandum suspending the acceptance and processing of Public Land Applications (PLAs) on lands formed by action of the sea in all waterways and accretion islets in rivers, shores, dried creeks and river beds. This Memorandum mandates the lifting of suspension only upon the review and enhancement of policies and procedures on the survey and disposition of public lands on unstable land forms and those considered impermanent in nature.

Forests and livelihoods: sustaining people and planet” underscores the celebration of World Wildlife Day (WWD) 2021 - an annual event celebrated every 3rd of March to raise awareness on the importance of the world’s wild flora and fauna.

This year, the United Nations (UN) is highlighting the role of forests, forest species and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally, particularly those indigenous and local communities with historic ties to forested and forest-adjacent areas.

DENR VIII Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian, Jr. says this year’s observance challenges everyone in the region to revisit their practices that affect the forests and wildlife species.

He shares that as of 2015, Eastern Visayas’ remaining forest cover is at 182,739 hectares, covering 2.6% of the total 7,014,152 hectares Philippine forest cover. (Philippine Forestry Statistics 2019) This is home to 149 species of forest-dwelling species identified by DENR Region 8 through its Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS).

“These forests and wildlife species are essential to the economic and personal welfare of the people in Region 8. Let us always be reminded that forests provide us with livelihood and the most basic things we need – water, food, shelter, clothing, and medicine”, he stressed.

The UN is making a global call through WWD to promote forest and forest wildlife management practices that accommodate both human well-being and the conservation of forests, forest-dwelling species of wild fauna and flora and the ecosystems they sustain.

Responding to this call, DENR Region VIII is conducting community education and public awareness (CEPA) activities for local communities in sites regularly monitored by the DENR under its Protection and Conservation of Wildlife Program. To reach a wider audience, infographics, news releases, and an online discussion on forests and wildlife will be streamed through DENR VIII’s Facebook page.  DENR is also launching a Campaign Slogan Contest open to DENR Youth Ambassadors to support the advocacy promoted with this year’s World Wildlife Day celebration.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed March 3 as World Wildlife Day on December 20, 2013. This day coincides with the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.

The acceptance of applications for Agricultural Free Patent ended on the last working day of December 2020 pursuant to Republic Act 9176, otherwise known as the Public Land Act of 2002.

However, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will continue to prioritize issuance of free patents to qualified applicants under its Improved Land Administration and Management priority program.

 “For the first quarter of this year, we will continue to process the agricultural free patent applications received by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs) before the deadline set by the law. The office will resume the acceptance of agricultural free patent applications once the bill seeking for its extension will be passed by Congress,” says Marilou Abocot of the Licenses Patents and Deeds Division of DENR Eastern Visayas.

In 2020, the regional office was able to process and issue 1, 210 agricultural free patents with a corresponding area of 1, 231.0553 hectares and 2,200 residential free patents with an equivalent area of 50.2024 hectares. The patents issued by the DENR is then transmitted to the Register of Deeds (ROD) for the issuance of title.

“Our aim is to accelerate the issuance of free patents to qualified applicants so that these land owners could finally attain security in their land tenure,” says DENR Region 8 Regional Executive Director, Tirso P. Parian, Jr.

Through the conduct of Rapid Land Tenure Appraisal (RLTA), the Department seeks to determine the number of workable lots in cities and municipalities covered by Cadastral Survey for the issuance of both agricultural and residential free patents. For 2021, the target municipalities for the RLTA activities are Lapinig in Northern Samar, Villaba in Leyte, Malitbog in Southern Leyte, Culaba in Biliran and Basey in Samar.

Water, wetlands and life, highlights this year’s celebration of World Wetlands Day.

Each year, communities around the world mark the 2nd of February as World Wetlands Day to heighten awareness on the importance of wetlands. This global celebration also commemorates the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar City, Iran on February 2, 1971. In the Philippines, it is observed annually by virtue of Proclamation No. 74 dated February 2, 1999.

This year, the campaign underscores the importance of wetlands as source of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management and protection of this important ecosystem.

In celebrating World Wetlands Day, the DENR emphasizes that water is finite and the current use by communities of this resource is unsustainable. The office shares that only 2.5% of water on earth is freshwater, mostly stored in glaciers, ice caps, and underground aquifers. Of this, less than 1% is usable, 0.3% is in rivers and lakes. The Department stressed that this is all the freshwater we have and wetlands provide most of them.

“Our wetlands are threatened, and these are largely caused by human activities”, says DENR Regional Executive Tirso P. Parian, Jr. “Aside from population growth, urbanization, and consumption patterns, pollution due to improper waste disposal continues to be the biggest threat to our wetlands,” he adds.

Director Parian said, “using wetlands wisely and addressing wetland loss and degradation is an urgent task”. “We need to stop destroying wetlands, address pollution by practicing proper solid waste management, clean-up freshwater resources, avoid over extracting from aquifers, and increase water efficiency,” he stressed.

Commemorating World Wetlands Day is a global reminder to undertake actions aimed at restoring and protecting the wetlands. To highlight the celebration, DENR VIII lined-up activities including distribution of information, education, and communication (IEC) materials on the importance of maintaining healthy wetlands, presentation of wetlands facts and videos, and site visit to Southern Leyte Bird Sanctuary, a wetland in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte.

Wetlands refer to a wide variety of inland habitats such as marshes, peatlands, floodplains, rivers and lakes, and coastal areas such as saltmarshes, mangroves, intertidal mudflats and seagrass beds, and also coral reefs and other marine areas no deeper than six (6) meters at low tide, as well as human-made wetlands such as dams, reservoirs, rice paddies and wastewater treatment ponds and lagoons (bmb.gov.ph).