The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here in partnership with the provincial government of Bulacan and the local government of Malolos City launched recently the Bulacan River System Cleanup Project in an effort to protect communities from flooding as the onset of southwest monsoon or “habagat” takes place and in support of the cleanup and rehabilitation of the historic Manila Bay.
Paquito Moreno, executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon, said the province-wide project will administer dredging activities in the major river systems and other tributaries in Bulacan.
"Dredging creeks is imperative to sustain the cleanup and rehabilitation efforts of Manila Bay. And through this, we can remove solid wastes at pinch point areas, and allow water to flow freely," he explained.
He said project will start in the 4.6-km Apulid creek in Longos village in Malolos where heavy siltation was observed.
Apulid creek is one of the water tributaries in Malolos which is directly connected to the larger Sto. Niño River, a major river system that drains directly to Manila Bay.
The project will also reduce the risk of flooding in the province especially during habagat season since dredging allows the creeks and rivers to carry larger volume of water, Moreno added.
For his part, Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando vowed his support to the project, adding that the activity will reduce overflowing of water in flood-prone areas and at same time can protect lives, properties and infrastructures.
“The fight to protect the environment does not stop in dredging alone, it also entails self-discipline especially on proper waste management,” he said.
The Governor also urged local residents not to make creeks or “estero” as garbage dumpsites and asked them to help and support the government in the cleaning efforts.
Since the Manila Bay rehabilitation program started on January this year, the DENR has conducted a total of 325 cleanup drives in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan and has collected more than 400,000 kilograms of wastes.
The rehabilitation of 190-km stretch of Manila Bay covers the regions of CALABARZON, National Capital Region and Central Luzon. Of this, 144 kilometers or merely two-thirds of the total stretch is part of Central Luzon.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently opened a 3.7-km access road in Conversion village in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija that will ease in the transportation of products of upland farmers coming from their agroforestry farm and help increase economic productivity, environment official said.
Paquito Moreno, Jr., executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon, said the P23-million worth access road was funded by JICA as an “agroforestry support facility” in the 10-year Forestland Management Project (FMP) in Pantabangan-Carranglan watershed, which will boost the livelihood of some 350 upland farmers and their families managing about 14,000 hectares of agroforestry and forest plantations.
“Our upland farmers can now easily bring their products like mango, cashew, cacao and coffee to the nearby market in the town using this access road. This will serve as a channel to increase local trade and productivity, since it connects farm areas to market towns,” he explained.
He said transportation cost will be reduced and post-harvest losses of local farmers will also be minimized, since the newly newly-opened access road will ensure easier access to social services such as health and education.
Citing the significance of forging alliance towards community welfare, Moreno thanked the JICA for supporting the project aimed at the development, conservation, protection and sustainable use of forest resources.
For his part, Yo Ebisawa, JICA senior representative, said the access road will help local community and their partner people's organization to fast track the reforestation of some denuded portions of the watershed.
“This project is advantageous to our reforestation efforts in the watershed, since it will reduce the cost and travel time in hauling seedlings in the planting site," he said.
Launched in 2012, FMP is a 10-year reforestation project that aims to rehabilitate the Pantabangan-Caranglan watershed, one of the biggest protected areas in Central Luzon, and to strengthen the forestland management through the implementation of collaborative community-based forest management (CBFM) strategy.
FMP also integrates conservation and development-oriented activities with participation and capacity-building of local communities to rehabilitate degraded forestlands in three critical river basins, including Upper Magat and Cagayan in Region 2, Upper Pampanga in Region 3, and Jalaur in Iloilo.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here and the Earth Day Network Philippines (EDNP) urged the public to save plant and animal species from extinction to maintain a well-balanced and functioning ecosystem.
In the message of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, delivered by executive director Paquito Moreno of DENR in Central Luzon during the culminating activity of Earth Day 2019 celebration recently in Obando town, he noted that the problem of biodiversity loss has gone haywire due to irresponsible people, wildlife poachers and traders in cahoots.
“It is the responsibility of the DENR to protect wildlife, but the job may be futile without the participation of the people,” Cimatu said, adding that the Earth Day is an opportune time of environmental consciousness and awareness to tap communities as partners in championing environment and wildlife protection.
On the other hand, EDNP President Wigberto Tañada, Jr. stressed that educating and raising awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon are significant elements to prevent species loss.
He added that the increased rate of extinction of species has been largely attributed to human activities, which have permanently damaged the ecosystem and threatened species.
“Extinction is primarily a result of human activity. Sadly, because of lack of care or even ignorance, human activity has irretrievably upset the balance of nature,” he said.
Statistics from the Earth Day International (EDI) shows that 40% of world’s bird species are in decline with one of eight threatened with global distinction, and the loss of the world’s wild animal population, specifically land animals, has fallen by 40%.
EDI studies likewise prove that quarter of the world’s coral reefs are beyond repair, while 75% are at risk.
This trend, Tañada noted, cannot continue, since nature should not be neglected due to unrestrained economic interests.
“We must adopt policies that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats, and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values,” Tañada added.
Cimatu also appealed to local communities and leaders to work in harness to ensure that all of resources, be it mining, energy or food are sustained.
“Let us keep the spirit of Earth Day every single day of our life, so that we will never lose our focus on the need to conserve and protect Mother Earth,” he stressed.
Celebrated every April 22, the theme of this year’s Earth Day, “Protect our Species,” underscores the need to encourage communities in the global movement to avert the unprecedented environmental adversaries, especially the rapid reduction of plant and wildlife species.
Southeast Asia’s environment, health and climate ministers will gather in the Philippines next week for a high-level roundtable discussion on clean air, health and climate change.
Happening on July 24-25 at The Peninsula Manila, the ASEAN Ministerial Roundtable Discussion on Clean Air, Health and Climate is co-hosted by the Philippine government—through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—together with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition of the United Nations.
DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the roundtable meeting will provide “a platform for an interactive discussion, in a high-level setup, on the opportunities and challenges of coming up with a regional approach to air pollution and climate change.”
The two-day event, he said, will also bring together experts and scientists in the ASEAN region and beyond to share local initiatives and insights toward global climate action, clean air and health that can simultaneously meet the goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of each country.
During the event, ASEAN member-countries will be called upon to respond collectively to the Special Report on Global Warming 1.5°C published by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2018.
The report emphasized the need for early action on all climate forcing emissions, including short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) as part of the pathway to stay well below 2°C as agreed by the parties to the Paris accord.
In terms of air pollution and its effect on public health and development which many of the ASEAN countries still experience as a challenge, the “Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-Based Solutions” report identified 25 clean air measures which if implemented across the region would result in 1 billion people enjoying clean air at the strictest ambient standards of the World Health Organization by 2030.
Further, this would also deliver 0.3°C reduced global warming relative to 2015 – reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 19 percent, methane by 44 percent, and black carbon by 77 percent by 2040-2050.
The event will commence in the morning of July 24 with the ASEAN Ministers Roundtable Discussion to be led by Secretary Cimatu, Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Secretary Emmanuel De Guzman of the Climate Change Commission.
A Senior Officials Workshop will proceed in the afternoon until the following day. It is comprised of four sessions marked with several presentations dealing with scientific studies and findings on the link between air pollution and climate change, clean air measures for Asia and the Pacific, benefits and tools for integrated action and SLCP mitigation, and initiatives on enhancing NDCs from select ASEAN member-states.
Outputs and results arising from the initial discussion are expected to prepare the region to collectively bring forth commitments and potential options to upscale climate actions during the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York and in the 15th ASEAN Plus Three Environment Ministers Meeting, both in September this year.
The discussion is likewise expected to serve as an impetus for greater action and ambition on air pollution, health and climate that could significantly contribute to the High-Level Officials Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on Health and Environment. #
Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has assured that there will be no letup in the fight against climate change and disaster risks as building resilient communities remains a top priority for the government.
“Sa mga darating na araw at buwan, patuloy nating palalakasin ang ating mga programa at polisiya. Patuloy nating titiyakin ang katatagan ng kinabukasan ng ating bansa,” Cimatu said during the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Forum held in Davao City on July 17.
The forum came five days before President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his fourth SONA on July 22.
As a way forward, Cimatu said the Duterte administration will continue to pursue policy reforms that integrate climate and disaster risk considerations into development policies, strategies, plans and programs.
Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will continue to coordinate closely with other line agencies under the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR) to ensure that they work together toward the goal of establishing adaptive and resilient communities.
The DENR chief co-chairs the cluster with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, while the Climate Change Commission acts as the cluster secretariat. The members include the Executive Secretary, the Cabinet Secretary, and the heads of the Presidential Management Staff, the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Finance, and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Other members are the secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Energy (DOE), the chairpersons of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, and the heads of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, Presidential Communications Operations Office, National Security Council, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Cimatu said the Cabinet cluster supports the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience and other legislative proposals that promote disaster and climate resilience, such as the proposed National Land Use Act, Land Administration Reform Act, Integrated Coastal Management Act, and National Building Code of the Philippines.
“With the help of Congress, we intend to adopt a national land use policy that will optimize balanced development,” Cimatu said. “We hope to achieve this through rational and just allocation, utilization, management and development of our country’s land resources under the proposed National Land Use Act.”
This policy, he said, will be complemented by the planned delineation of forest limits, which would enable the DENR to sustainably manage, conserve and protect the country’s remaining forests from further depletion.
Meanwhile, Cimatu said the proposed Land Administration Act seeks to improve the land sector as a driver to sustainable development, economic growth and poverty alleviation.
“Hindi lamang pangangalaga sa kalikasan ang pakay natin,” Cimatu explained. “Misyon din natin na mapakinabangan ng mamamayan ang likas na yaman sa mas mahabang panahon para lalo pang mapabuti ang kalagayan nila sa buhay.”
Cimatu said the cluster will work for the swift enactment of the Integrated Coastal Management Act, which would ensure optimum and sustainable resource utilization of coastal and marine environment.
He said the establishment of a department devoted to disaster resilience is necessary to help the government manage broader climate-disaster governance arrangements, and oversee the implementation of disaster risk and vulnerability reduction and management.
The cluster, according to Cimatu, also supports proposal to prohibit the conversion of irrigated lands as it would address the threats to the country’s food security.
He said that crucial to the government’s strategy was the proposed National Building Code of the Philippines, which aims to provide a framework for minimum standards and requirements for all buildings and structures so that government can regulate and control their location, site, construction, use, occupancy and maintenance.
At the same time, Cimatu said the government will provide the ability to generate, synthesize and disseminate knowledge, methodologies and decision-making tools to ensure climate resilience.
To cite an example, Cimatu said the DOST commits the installation of more than a dozen doppler weather radars and high frequency doppler radar networks in various parts of the country.
The DOST, he added, is also set to install several flood forecasting and warning systems in major river basins, a borehole seismic station in Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Island, and a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis in Metro Davao.
On the other hand, the DICT will implement programs on communications technology to prepare the communities and local government units in case of disasters.
“Lahat po ito ay gagawin natin para mabigyan ng panahon ang ating mga kababayan na lumikas bago pa man dumating ang bagyo,” Cimatu said.
“Sisiguruhin natin na walang pamilyang Pilipino ang nasa peligro sa panahon ng kalamidad,” he added.
Cimatu also revealed that the DOE will intensify development of renewable energy in off-grid areas for wider access of populace.
The government will continue to mainstream the use of alternative fuels and energy technology in the transport sector, as well as monitor the implementation of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, Cimatu said.
To ensure quick restoration of energy services during and after calamities, Cimatu said the government will strengthen energy systems and facilities through the energy resiliency program.
He also said that the government will provide financial assistance for disaster mitigation, preparedness and rehabilitation of damaged electric cooperatives. #