January 29, 2021

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 29 -- The removal of sandbars to clear the constricted section of Cagayan River, known as the Magapit Narrows, and the massive planting of bamboo along its bank will begin on February 2, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary and Task Force Build Back Better chair Roy A. Cimatu announced on Wednesday.

"This is the culmination of weeks of meticulous planning and detailed coordination to ensure that each of the dredging equipment is safely transported to the sandbar sites and that bamboos are grown at critical portions of the riverbank needing immediate measures to address stream bank erosion and instability.

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Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Build Back Better Task Force (BBBTF) Chairperson Roy A. Cimatu  wants a more pre-emptive approach  in its anti-illegal logging strategies to prevent illegall loggers from cutting trees. 

Cimatu said    “the recent floodings should serve as a wake up call for a re-examination of our models of the forest protection operations which I think have been largely measured  in terms of apprehended undocumented forest products and not in terms of standing trees.” Cimatu said

“My  priority is to prevent the cutting,” Cimatu said, adding that apprehended cut trees reported as accomplishments by DENR field officers is telling of the quality of their forest protection efforts within their respective  jurisdiction.

“Ang trophy ay yung nakatayong mga puno, hindi yung mga putol na,” Cimatu stressed  as a reminder to DENR field officers that apprehended undocumented forest products “should actually be regarded as their failure to prevent these trees from being illegally cut.”  ‘pero kung naputol na yan, hulihin na lang natin , pero hindi pa rin tayo happy nyan.” 

At the same time, Cimatu tasked DENR Undersecretary  for Special Concerns Bernardo Leonardo to  lead the creation and operationalization of three special composite teams that would augment anti-illegal logging operations in Cagayan Valley,  the Bicol Region , including the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape.

Cimatu said the creation of the augmentation teams in these areas is a strategic move on the part of the DENR to shift its orientation in its forest protection operation more towards prevention by “going hard and swift” against the financiers and operators.

The Order is pursuant to Executive Order 23 of 2011 which calls for the creation, from the national to the regional and provincial levels,  of  Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force and composed  of representatives from the DENR as chair; and from the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police as members. Cimatu also said that the pro-active and aggressive  whole-of-society approach in anti-illegal logging campaign will be implemented, highlighting the role of LGUs and strong citizen and community participation.

He  said  “pinpointing”  those  behind illegal logging  activities “is the key,” while noting that  only transporters and buyers in possession of cut undocumented forest products  are oftentimes collared  in  illegal logging operations.

The DENR’s Environment Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) reported that some 40,385 boardfeet of undocumented forest products have been apprehended during the pandemic months between June  to September 2020.

Most of the apprehended forest products were narra, red and white lauan, bagtikan and bitaog.

Five conveyances were also apprehended during the period consisting of  two six-wheeler trucks, two closed vans and a motorcycle.

Cimatu reiterated that he  would not scale down efforts to enforce forestry laws during the pandemic and that field officers would continue to patrol forests.

 "We expect to  increase the intensity in running after  forest crimes as severely as possible so that there is a deterrent effect,” Cimatu said.

2UKPH

 

Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction Chairperson and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu (second row, right) signs the “Partnership Statement” with British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce (1st row, left) signifying the Philippines-United Kingdom (UK) partnership on climate  change and environment during the first Climate Change and Environment Dialogue held virtually last November 27. Joined by COP26 (26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) Regional Ambassador for Asia-Pacific and South Asia Ken O’Flaherty (1st row, right), British Embassy Counsellor Rebecca Shah (3rd row, right), DENR Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change Analiza Rebuelta-Teh (2nd row, left) and DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones as witnesses (3rd row, left), the new partnership aims to strengthen collaboration between both countries towards climate and green issues all in the fight against climate change. It targets effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and convene and establish the annual UK-Philippines Dialogue, among others. ###

Climate change concerns in the Philippines continue to have more focused attention as bilateral cooperation and agreements with the UK are forged.

On 27 November 2020, the Philippines, represented by the DENR Secretary, Roy Cimatu,  as Chairperson of the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM DRR), signed a “Partnership Statement” with Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Daniel Pruce, during the first Climate Change and Environment Dialogue (CCE-D). Ambassador Pruce co-chaired the virtual Dialogue with Ken O’ Flaherty, UK COP26 Regional Ambassador, and Undersecretaries Jonas Leones and Analiza Teh of the DENR.

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In celebration of the upcoming National Climate Change Consciousness Week (NCCCW), the Department of Environment and Natural Resource Climate Change Service (DENR-CCS) pushes through with its fully-loaded activities--most of it to be held virtually--from November 19 to 27, 2020, while the COVID-19 is still present in the country.

With this year’s theme “Adapting for a Sustainable Future”, this annual celebration aims to create awareness on global warming and climate change by pursuing broad and intensive public information and education campaigns to secure the cooperation of the private and public sector.

“The ongoing climate crisis and pandemic has brought profound effects and impacts in our society. Despite limitations, we want to utilize this week to encourage individual actions and convene the public and private sector to address this dual-threat and contribute towards green recovery”, said DENR Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change Analiza Rebuelta-Teh.

Upcoming events open for the public include the webinar on Turning Digital Innovation into Climate Actions on November 19 (9 am to 12 nn); Ang Tinig Klima Special Radio Episode on DZXL on November 20 (3 pm to 4 pm) will tackle Peatlands Conservation, and Climate Change, and a webinar on Resilient Rivers, Resilient Communities on November 23 (1 pm to 5 pm).

Interested individuals who want to attend said events can visit the DENR-CCS’ Facebook page at https://facebook.com/DENRCCS.

“Through these activities, we aim to strengthen DENR’s partnership with the private sector in addressing climate change, especially through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) which is what is vital in these times”, added Rebuelta-Teh.

The DENR, through its CCS  and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) will also be conducting several webinars with targeted attendees from the DENR and EMB Central and Regional offices, government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), and the academe. These are: Re-tooling on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation webinar on November 19 (1 pm to 4 pm); Gender-Responsive Climate Policy webinar on November 20 (1pm to 4 pm); Climate Change and Human Security webinar on November 24 (1 pm to 4 pm); Climate Change with International NGO Clean Air Asia webinar on November 25 (9 am to 12 nn); and Climate Change Adaptation Seminar and Workshop on Site Assessment using Ecosystem-based Adaptation Criteria and Valuation Tools webinar on November 26-27 (1 pm to 4 pm).

Co-organized by the Philippine Association of Tertiary Level Educational Institutions in Environmental Protection and Management (PATLEPAM), the DENR’s  CCS and EMB will also be holding a webinar on Green Recovery Strategies in the Environment and Natural Resources Sector for the Better Normal: Challenges for the Academe on November 26 (1 pm to 5 pm) for educators in the country.

The Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), the inter-agency group headed by the DENR is also set to meet on November 25 to discuss Climate-resilient Urban Plans and Designs, Maximizing ICT for CCAM-DRR Actions,  a proposed bill on Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau, and a Future Philippnes Initiative.

The DENR CCS, through its Facebook page, will soon be featuring the winners of ‘Mga Kwentong KLIMA-likasan’ Photoblog contest showcasing photos from the individual’s and community’s best practices in creating a safe and healthy environment through pursuing behavior change especially during this pandemic.

The week will culminate on November 27 with the launching of the United Kingdom-Philippine Partnership for Climate Change and Environment.

The various bureaus, attached agencies, and regional offices of the DENR all over the country will also mount various activities highlighting climate change, and various ways to address it, in partnership with different stakeholders.

“We hope that through these activities, we will be able to tell everyone that we all can contribute to creating a safe and healthy environment through pursuing behavior change in their communities, especially during this pandemic,” said Rebuelta-Teh.

Tagged as the Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week under Proclamation No. 1667, series of 2008, different agencies and organizations around the country annually conducts different activities to raise awareness on climate change and environmental protection in our communities every third week of  November.

According to the Global Peace Index 2019 Report, the Philippines is the country most at risk from the climate crisis with factors such as extreme weather and climate hazards.###