Press Releases

The increasing trend of plastic trash collected globally shows the need for everyone to join in clean-up drives like this year’s International Coastal Clean-up Day. More importantly, there is a need to change our lifestyle and consumption habit geared towards a plastic-free debris on our waters, and the environment as a whole,” says Ms. Melecia Sumbeling, Chief, Coastal Resource and Foreshore Management Section (CRFMS) of the DENR Regional Office VIII.

Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit environmental advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., has published their 2019 Ocean Conservancy Report and record would show that there was an upsurge of volume of plastic trash collected from 1992-2019. From that same period, 2019 recorded the largest volume with more than 100 million kilos of plastic trash in more than 40 kilometers of coastlines cleared by over a million volunteers from 154 participating countries.

And while the Philippines is on top of the list of number of volunteers in the annual international coastal clean-up, it is sad to note that the Philippines is one of the top Asian countries that litters plastic debris on our water bodies.

Most of the plastic wastes found on the coastlines, shorelines, rivers, lakes, and waterways all over the country were identified as plastic wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic utensils, food containers made of styrofoams, stirrers, plastic straw, plastic bottles and plastic bottle caps, plastic sachets and the like. Common among them is that they are all single-use plastics.

From that same report, there are around 8 million tons of plastic debris thrown to the waters and that is on top of the 150 million tons of plastic debris already floating on the ocean that results to biodiversity loss and contamination of the food chain.

We hope that this distressing record of plastic trash around us will jostle us from complacency and be active agents of change by taking concrete actions in finally getting rid of these debris from our waterbodies,” says Ms. Sumbeling.

Through Presidential Proclamation 470, series of 2003, every third Saturday of September has been declared as International Coastal Clean-up Day. The theme for this year’s observance is “Safe Oceans starts at Home”.

In particular, employees of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO-Leyte) together with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO-Palo) had their coastal clean-up along the coastline of Red Beach in Palo, Leyte. They were able to collect 10 sacks of trash estimated at 50 kilos and consisting mostly of plastic candy wrappers, plastic bottles, cellophanes and even styfoam food containers.

Rehabilitation Plan of quarry areas should be in the context of the environment, stated Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 8 Regional Director Leo Van V. Juguan.

This, after sand and gravel concessionaires in Ormoc City committed to rehabilitate their quarry sites in compliance to the order of Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.

“The main purpose of the rehabilitation plan should be to bring back the efficiency of the river. It should be in the direction of water flowing naturally and being replenished in a natural way”, RD Juguan said.

The DENR with its Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the Environmental Management Bureau assured that they will work hand-in-hand with the quarry concessionaires in coming-up with an efficient and effective rehabilitation plan favorable to the environment.

“We will be meeting again, so we can guide you in the preparation of your rehab plan and discuss other concerns relating to your operations and the environment”, RD Juguan added.

Mayor Gomez underscored the necessity of the rehabilitation plan for quarry sites and the Executive Order suspending the exportation of the City’s sand and gravel, which he issued earlier this year.

“Ormoc City is a major source of Class A sand and gravel for the construction sector. Our role in the government is to protect our local rivers and the environment so you can continue your operations”, says Mayor Gomez.   

“The moratorium may be temporary. Our goal is to rehabilitate our resources first, and we will do this together, hand-in-hand”, he adds.

Last week, Mayor Gomez convened the quarry operators in Ormoc, officials of the LGU, DENR Regional Office, PENRO Leyte and CENRO Ormoc, MGB, and EMB to discuss issues and concerns relating to quarry operations in the City, particularly on the alleged illegal extraction of sand and gravel at the Panilahan River.

He gave a stern warning to those operating illegally and vouched to seriously run after these violators and impose charges corresponding to their violations.

Meanwhile, DENR Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Jose Elmer Bascos reminded the concessionaires to be mindful of the requirements and permits that need to be secured from authorities such as the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to ensure sustainable use of the country’s environment and natural resources.

“While we are saddened that these trees have been felled down illegally, the timely reaction of our law enforcement officers resulted to its seizure and confiscation. We can say that donating these lumber to victims of Typhoon Ambo is a silver lining to an otherwise unfortunate event,” says Forester Jose E. Bascos, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 8.This was the statement of ARD Bascos during the formal signing of the Deed of Donation of confiscated forest products to the custody of the Provincial Government of Northern Samar which were later distributed to the different local government units  (LGUs) of Northern Samar for the construction of their respective COVID-19 isolation facilities. Other government agencies whose offices were damaged by Typhoon Ambo when it struck Northern Samar in May 2020, were also recipients of the donated lumber. 

Among the recipients were the Department of Education (DepEd) for the construction of classrooms, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Philippine Army (PA) for the repair of their respective offices and camps.

Subject of the Deed of Donation were 1,410 pieces of lauan with a volume of 27,038 bd. ft. and an estimated market value of Php 1, 329,220.00. Also donated were 51 pcs of boat keels with a volume 23,149.145 bd. ft. with an estimated market value of Php1, 152,820.24.

The said forest products were confiscated as a result of the successful anti-illegal logging operation dubbed as the “Battle for San Isidro Forest: Anti-Illegal Logging Operation”. The DENR enforcement team in coordination with elements from the Philippine Army (PA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), acting on information from concerned citizens, conducted operations at Brgy. Happy Valley, San Isidro, Northern Samar on April 24-26, 2020 and May 4-8, 2020 that yielded to the seizure of forest products with an estimated total market value of Php5.4 million.  A portion of which formed part of the donated forest products.

For their part, the Provincial Government of Northern Samar and the concerned law enforcement agencies expressed their appreciation for the donation and made a commitment to continue to answer to the Department’s call in enforcing environmental laws and to go after illegal poachers without let up.

ARD Bascos also extended the Department’s gratitude to all its active partners in the performance of its mandate and hopes to further strengthen the established linkages.

In spite of the pandemic and the economic hardships that affects us all, it is heart-warming to see that there are still people who do not use it as an excuse to slaughter for food or make money from wildlife that they come across with,” says Tirso P. Parian, Jr., Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region VIII.

RED Parian made the statement after another turtle was caught as bycatch by a fisherman along the waters of Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City on August 07, 2020. It was immediately turned-over to the Bantay Dagat of the City Government of Tacloban who then brought it to the DENR Regional Office for assessment and proper documentation.

DENR technical personnel identified it as an Olive Ridley Turtle, classified as an endangered species through DENR Administrative Order 2019-09. While it is not critically endangered, it is unlikely to survive in the wild if threats to its survival continue operating.  The turtle measured about 68 cm. at its Curved Carapace Length (CCL) and 63 cm. on its Curved Carapace Width (CCW).

With the turtle having been out of the water for several hours already, it immediately released back to its nearest natural habitat along the coastline of Balyuan Tower in Magsaysay Boulevard, Tacloban City.

For this year, the Olive Ridley Turtle is the 11th and the first of its kind that has been turned over to the DENR and released back to the sea. The rest of those released were identified as green sea turtles.

There are seven species of marine turtles in the world. Six of these species are found in Southeast Asia and five of these can be found in the Philippines, namely: green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).

The Olive Ridley Turtle is mostly carnivorous, feeding on jellyfish, snails, crabs, and shrimps though it will occasionally eat algae and seaweed. It got its name from the color of its shell which is olive green hue. It can reach a maximum length of 2.5 feet and maximum weight of 50 kilograms. They can be found up to a depth of 150 meters and stays underwater for up to two (2) hours. It has an estimated lifespan of 50-60 years.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Eastern Visayas is deputizing qualified citizens for the protection of the Calbayog Pan-as Hayiban Protected Landscape (CPHPL) in Calbayog City, one of the seven legislated protected areas (PAs) in Region 8.

Regional Executive Director Tirso P. Parian Jr. issued Regional Special Order No. 105 dated July 22, 2020, deputizing thirty-six (36) individuals from the City of Calbayog as Environment and Natural Resources Officers (ENROs).

By virtue of their deputation, the ENROs are authorized to assist in the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations under the jurisdiction of DENR within the territory of the Calbayog Pan-as Hayiban Protected Landscape.

They are authorized to investigate activities violating the NIPAS Act as amended or other laws relating to protected areas and assist in the issuance of apprehension receipts, seizure orders, and administrative hearings.

The order of deputation further authorizes the ENROs to arrest, even without warrant, any person who has committed or is committing an offense within the PA provided in environment and natural resources laws, rules, and regulations.

They are obliged to deliver the offender and the apprehended products and conveyances in coordination with the appropriate official designated by law to conduct preliminary investigation. They shall likewise act as witnesses in court.

The deputation of said ENROs is in effect within a period of one year, unless sooner revoked or terminated by the office.  

“The deputation of individuals from the local community will strengthen the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations that protect the Calbayog Pan-as Hayiban Protected Landscape. We will always value the community as our partner in effectively managing our environment and natural resources”, RED Parian says.

RED Parian administered the oath of the Deputized ENROs during the 2nd Regular Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) meeting of the CPHPL held in Calbayog City on August 7, 2020.