Press Releases

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here and the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) Foundation planted yesterday more than 1,000 propagules of Bakauan babae scientific Rhizophora mucronata in the 10-hectare coastal area of Tibaguin village in Hagonoy town of Bulacan, in a bid to sustain the long-term rehabilitation program of Manila Bay and address the perennial flooding in the province.
Arthur Salazar, deputy director for technical services of the DENR, said the activity aimed to fast-track efforts on reviving water bodies connected to the Manila Bay, while protecting the coastal and inland towns of Bulacan from frequent flooding.
"This was a collaborative undertaking of the public and private sector to sustain and protect our mangrove areas and the lives of communities in these coastal areas of Bulacan from disaster," Salazar said, adding that planting mangroves plays a significant role in reducing flood incidences during habagat seasons and vital in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
He said the DENR provided technical assistance for the mangrove rehabilitation project, while the SMC Foundation provided necessary funding and planting materials.
For his part, Elmer Bohol, representative of SMC Foundation, said the mangrove planting activity is the first part on the 190,000 mangrove propagules to be planted over the 76-hectare coastal area in Hagonoy town and Central Luzon until December of this year.
Aside from being a natural refuge and habitat to several wildlife species and marine life, mangrove forests also stabilize coastline, prevent coastal erosion and protection against threats of water pollution and siltation. They serve as natural flood defense and reduce damages caused by typhoons, tsunami and sea level rise and tides.
In Central Luzon, there are about 1,901 hectares of mangrove forests covering the provinces of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales.
DENR record shows that the Manila Bay cleanup and rehabilitation program, which started on January 2019, has already established 72 hectares of mangrove plantations planted with over 174,000 propagules covering the Manila Bay areas in Bataan, Bulacan and Pampanga.
This is in addition to the more than 1,000 hectares of mangrove plantations established in the region under the Integrated Coastal Resources Management Program (ICRMP) and the National Greening Program (NGP) since 2011. (-30-)
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here recently distributed more than 600,000 assorted vegetable seedlings grown from the 1.26-hectare modernized and mechanized forest nursery (MMFN) in Tarlac, in an effort to support food security in the region, environment officials told.
Celia Esteban, DENR provincial head in Tarlac, said the vegetables, mostly okra, chili, eggplant, string bean, squash, and petchay, were distributed to over 200 local government units, people’s organizations, indigenous people, religous organizations, non-government organizations, and residents and families in Tarlac and Pampanga.
"We used the mechanized nursery to grow these vegetables to provide our people with food during this pandemic,” she said.
She expressed her gratitude to the Department of Agriculture (DA) for providing 11 kilograms of various vegetable seeds for this activity.
According to Arthur Salazar, deputy director for Technical Services of DENR Region 3, the MMFN was mainly intended to produce quality forest tree seedlings for the government’s reforestation program like the National Greening Program.
"We have seen its other potential to produce vegetable seedlings to provide food for our communities," he said.
During this pandemic, the MMFN will not only cater the production of reforestation species, but will also help us in vegetable production to secure our food in the region, he added.
As this develops, the DENR has requested for more vegetable seeds from the DA to support more communities.
“It is better to provide our local communities with vegetable seedlings rather than seed, because seedlings would yield food faster and survive better,” Salazar ended.
The PhP20-million worth MMFN was constructed in 2015 and is the very first in the region in partnership with the provincial government of Tarlac. (-30-)
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here has continued the efforts to clean and restore the historic Manila Bay in Central Luzon amid the dangers of COVID-19, an environment official said.
Cynde Pagador, Manila Bay regional focal person, said over 10,000 kilograms of mixed waste have been collected by DENR river patrollers in various water bodies in the region since March of this year when the community quarantine was first implemented in the entire Luzon.
The wastes collected were brought to the Metro-Clark Sanitary Landfill in Capas, Tarlac for proper disposal.
"Our nearly 300 estero rangers or river patrollers in the region have been critical in our efforts to clean Manila Bay and the rivers draining from it during this quarantine period," she explained, adding that the river patrollers were tasked with monitoring up to ten kilometers of water bodies daily to ensure that these were kept free of solid waste.
She said that it is the commitment of the DENR and the rest of the mandamus agencies to the public to clean Manila Bay.
“Our estero rangers were also kept busy coordinating with the local government units (LGU) to ensure that the collection and segregation of solid waste within their areas of responsibility remained unhampered, even though the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Estero rangers also undertook tasks such as the installation of trash traps in water bodies, eco-bricking, as well as assisted in the distribution of relief goods to communities, Pagador said.
Minimum health standard practices such as wearing of facemasks and social distancing were observed by those involved during cleanup activities to protect them from the virus.
The DENR appealed to the public to dispose of properly their waste, particularly those used facemasks, to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We encourage the public to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste during this community quarantine to minimize generation of solid waste and prevent dumping in rivers and oceans as most of the people are staying at home,” she added.
Of the 190-kilometer coastline of Manila Bay, 142 kilometers fall within Central Luzon, traversing the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan. (-30-)

Operatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently confiscated endangered juvenile Tarantula spiders worth P40,000, which were attempted to be smuggled through a courier service in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

According to Warren Bidaure, wildlife officer of DENR Region 3, the DENR and BOC opened up a package which was sent from overseas and was erroneously declared as containing “plastic parts”.

"The package contained bunches of rubber bands concealing a plastic container and was found to be housing 31 tarantulas wrapped in individual zip-top sachets, " he said.

Eleven of the spiders were discovered to have died during transport because of the inappropriate storage while the live arachnids were transferred to appropriate containers and turned over to the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) for rehabilitation and care, he added.

Michael Lopez, development management officer of DENR Central Luzon said the species included Caribena versicolor, which is prized for its distinct coloration and Poecilotheria regalis, one of the most popular arboreal tarantulas for collectors, with a leg span sometimes exceeding seven inches, and which is classified as endangered based on DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2019-09.

Earlier, the DENR and BOC have also seized a juvenile bearded dragon which was shipped in Clark International Airport without necessary permit and proper documentation.

Illegal importation, collection and trade of endangered wildlife is punishable by imprisonment of up to six years and a fine of up to P200,000 under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act.

According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), black market for tarantula hobbyists has become a threat which, together with deforestation and loss of habitat, may lead to the extinction of the spider. (-30-)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here warned the public against selling of wildlife through social media after operatives of the DENR and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized last week a juvenile Bearded dragon estimated worth over P8,000, which was found and reported by a shipping company in the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

According to the shipping manifest, the wildlife was sent from an online pet seller based overseas to the consignee who had no import permit on record. Authorities have discovered upon opening of the shipped package that the bearded dragon had died during transport, which was shipped in a lidded plastic bowl without food, water or appropriate padding inside the container.

Paquito Moreno, executive director of DENR in Central Luzon explained that transporting and trading of wildlife without necessary permit and proper documentation is prohibited under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

“Our citizens should obtain proper permits and not disregard the regulatory processes required in importing wildlife.” Moreno advised. He also added that these laws are in place to protect the said wildlife and ensure its proper and safe transport, as well as to protect our nation’s ecosystem.

Moreno also expressed his gratitude to the Bureau of Customs and Clark International Airport for their vigilance and support against illegal wildlife trade.

“We have tightened our watch on wildlife trafficking even during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in our airports and seaports in the region, since these are potential gateways for illegal wildlife trade,” he said.

The DENR has placed Clark and Subic Freeport Zones under tight watch as their strategic locations make them irresistible to smugglers attempting to transport wildlife poached from other countries and parts of the Philippines such as Aurora and Palawan.”

Intensified wildlife protection and conservation shows that the DENR has already seized a total of 311 species of reptiles, birds and mammals since 2015.

The Asian Development Bank pegs the illegal wildlife trade in the Philippines at P50 billion a year (roughly equivalent to $1 billion). This includes the market value of wildlife and its resources, their ecological role and value, damage to habitats incurred during poaching, and loss in potential ecotourism revenues.

According to study Bearded dragon scientific Pagona vitticeps is a type of ancient lizard and native from the deserts of central Australia while the "bearded" refers to a flap of skin under the chin that they extend when disturbed and they generally grow up to 30 to 60 cm with life expectancy of 10 years. Pet enthusiasts are fond of keeping this reptile species because it is easy to maintain and has a wide variety of food diets, the study added. (-30-)