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  • Habal

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has found an innovative solution to trash collection problems in estero communities along the Tullahan-Tinajeros River System using its own version of the lowly yet dependable “habal-habal.”

Frequently dubbed as the “poor man’s motorcycle taxi,” habal-habal is a highly improvised two-wheeled single motorcycle usually ridden beyond its passenger capacity.

The DENR has its own version of the utility vehicle that uses an eco-friendly bicycle with automatic foot break and two-by-three feet sidecar, allowing it to carry household waste.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the habal-habal will be used to collect garbage from estero communities that are not reached by dump trucks and whose uncollected trash eventually ends up in Manila Bay.

Citing a recent DENR study, Cimatu said that garbage generated by estero communities with narrow streets or alleys are not regularly collected since these areas are not accessible to dump trucks.

“The accumulated uncollected wastes do not only pose health risks to the communities, but also clog canals, causing flooding in these areas. Uncollected garbage also end up in coastlines and waters of Manila Bay,” Cimatu lamented.

Cimatu, who chairs the Manila Bay Task Force, said proper garbage collection and regular cleanups in esteros are crucial to the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the historic bay.

“Tough problems involving the presence of informal settlers directly dumping to the esteros, non-compliance of industries with discharge permitting regulations and lack of sewage management system are also being addressed under the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program,” he added.

Cimatu said the DENR will be distributing habal-habals to 10 barangays within the Tullahan-Tinajeros River System, which have relatively high number of informal settler families and with areas that are hard to reach by garbage collection trucks.

These are Barangays 160, 162 and 163 in Caloocan City; Potrero, Catmon, Tinajeros, and Maysilo in Malabon City; Ugong and Marulas in Valenzuela City; and Sta. Lucia in Quezon City.

Tullahan-Tinajeros River Commanders and DENR Undersecretaries Jonas Leones and Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, together with DENR-National Capital Region Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan, will lead the turnover of habal-habals to the barangay beneficiaries on Sept. 16.

The turnover ceremony forms part of the local celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup Day, with the theme “Safe Oceans Start at Homes.”

During the event, the DENR will also distribute educational materials on climate and environmental protection, including UNICEF-assisted climate change flip charts and children storybook entitled “Ang Paglalakbay nina Niño at Niña,” as well as hygiene kits in support of the campaign against COVID-19.

The Tullahan-Tinajeros River System measures 36.4 kilometers, traversing 44 barangays, covering the cities of Quezon, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon and Navotas.

Dredging of the 5.25-km portion of the river system has recently started, with help from diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation, yielding about 2,500 truckloads of silt and garbage as of late August 2020. #

The DENR National Gender and Development Focal Point System (GADFPS) has initiated the review of the agency’s six-year strategic plan for proposed enrichments to align planned programs and activities of the environment and natural resources (ENR) sector with the current state of the country as it continues to face impacts and effects of climate change, health and gender issues.

With the hands-on facilitation of the national virtual meeting on August 6, 2020, DENR Undersecretary for Climate Change and the Chairperson of the DENR National GADFPS, Atty. Analiza Rebuelta -Teh, met the GAD Focal Persons and Planning Officers of the different central, bureaus, attached agencies and regional offices of the DENR. Providing inputs were In-house GAD Consultant, Shalimar Vitan (Concerns in the GAD Strategic Plan, and Feedback/Comments to the 2021 Draft GAD Plans and Budgets), DENR Climate Change Service Director and concurrent DENR GAD Office Director, Elenida dR. Basug (Linking ENR with Climate Change, Gender and Health in GAD Strategic and Annual Plans), ERDB Chief, Dr. Marilyn Lalican (Proposed Data sets for Baseline Data Gathering), and GAD External Consultant, Wilma Rojas (Laying Down the Proposed Enrichments to the GAD Strategic Plan).

Earlier, seven-series of webinars on the priority programs of the DENR as these are linked to climate change, gender and health, were conducted from July 8, 2020 to August 12, 2020. Webinars were conducted on “Pursuing Climate-, Gender-, and Health-responsive Programs in the following sectors: biodiversity, forestry, solid waste and hazardous wastes, air quality, water sector, land, and mineral resources development. DENR Undersecretary Teh explained the context of the webinars as to better understanding the links, and identifying entry points in mainstreaming, and emphasized the need to seriously consider going beyond mainstreaming gender in the priority programs of the DENR.

She apprised participants on the potentials of women as “game changers” and “active stakeholders”;
that women can be agents of change for resilient development, and that women-focused investments on resilience remain limited.

The webinars were ably co-facilitated by DENR Assistant Secretary for Climate Change and concurrent Director of Biodiversity Management Bureau, Ricardo Calderon, and the Director of DENR Climate Change Service, and the concurrent Director of DENR GAD Office, Elenida dR. Basug.

Invited DENR and non-DENR resource persons were experts from their field of specialization. They were as follows:

Sectors as linked to Climate Change:
1. BMB Division Chief, Ms. Armida Andres - biodiversity
2. FMB Director Lourdes Wagan – forest
3. EMB Region 1 Director Maria Dorica Naz-Hipe – solid and hazardous wastes
4. EMB Assistant Director Vizminda Osorio – air quality
5. NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David, Jr.- water resources
6. EMB Region 3 Division Chief, Engr. Raldy Pagador- water quality
7. LMB Director Emelyne Talabis – land management
8. DENR CARAGA Director for Mines Glenn Noble - mineral resources development

Sectors as linked to Gender and Development:

9. GAD Expert Katherine Vinegas- biodiversity management, mineral resources development
10. GAD Expert Wilma Rojas – forest management
11. Environmental Planner, and Socio-gender Consultant Grace Sapuay – solid and hazardous waste management, air quality management
12. DENR CAR Regional Executive Director Ralph Pablo – land management

Sectors as linked to Health:

13. Dr. Geminn Louis Apostol – solid and hazardous waste management, air quality management, and mineral resources development
14. Dr. Helen Sigua – forest management, water quality management, and land management

The participants were provided with a briefer, “Beyond Gender Mainstreaming: Linking Environment and Natural Resources (ENR), Climate Change, Health and Gender (Guide to Planning for Gender and Development in the ENR Sector) produced by the Office of the DENR Undersecretary for Climate Change and its Climate Change Service, to aid the participants through their enhancement process.

Deadline for submission of the revised/enhanced GAD Strategic Plans per sector is on August 21, 2020 for consolidation as an Updated DENR National Strategic Plan (2020-2025), and the GAD Plans and Budgets for 2021 by August 27, 2020 before these will be submitted to the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) within September 2020. ###

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said addressing climate change remains a top priority for the government even if it is currently preoccupied on controlling the spread of COVID-19.

Cimatu, who chairs the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), said climate change is a bigger crisis than COVID-19 as it potentially poses existential risks for future generations.

“The climate emergency remains as urgent as ever. It is like the COVID-19 emergency, just in slow motion and much graver,” Cimatu said during his presentation of the 2020 Pre-State of the Nation Address Report of the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR dubbed as “Pagkalinga Tungo sa Katatagan” on July 22.

Changes in climate have a multiplier effect, leading to other problems, from ecosystem stability to food production and human conflict. Ecosystem and biodiversity loss are threatening the planet’s ability to provide goods and services.

Deforestation disrupts weather patterns and the water cycle, contributes to climate change, and destroys the habitats of important species. Chemicals and waste are polluting the air, soil and water, killing millions each year.

As a strategy, Cimatu said the government will use the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to accelerate climate action by formulating “responses to the worst public health crisis of this generation through a climate lens.”

“The government—through the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR—will prioritize actions and investments that will reduce long-term health impacts and increase our resilience and adaptive capacity to both the coronavirus pandemic and climate change,” Cimatu said.

The Cabinet cluster, he said, will continue to respond to extreme weather events and disasters; increase adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities; ensure adequate supply of clean air, water and natural resources; and increase resilience of critical infrastructure.

Cimatu said major environmental protection programs like solid waste management, reforestation and biodiversity conservation, must be consistent with the overall response to COVID-19, future pandemics and climate crisis.

“High volumes of hazardous waste and the dramatic spread of zoonotic diseases account to the growing challenges that the government has to face to help alleviate problems in this deadly pandemic,” he added.

Created under Executive Order 24, Series of 2017, the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR is mandated to focus on the protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources, and serves as a venue for discussing inter-related concerns on climate change and disaster risk management.

The cluster also takes the lead in the effective integration of policies and programs on climate risk management, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development. #

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Last November 16, 2019, the DENR Climate Change Service kicked off the week-long celebration of the National Climate Change Consciousness Week with the Sama-sama sa K5: Kilos sa Klima at Kalamidad tungo sa Kaligtasan at Kaunlaran in five barangays of Caloocan City (Barangay 160, 161, 162, 163, and 164) which the Tullahan River traverses. Simultaneous estero/creek clean up started at about 7:00 A.M.

This was followed by the Art Challenge Contest by participating public school students with the theme, “Save Tullahan River from Plastic Wastes.” This was handled by the Rethink Plastic, Inc., UP Eco-Tour, in cooperation with the DENR.

Rethink Plastic, Inc., GCash , and Green Antz, in cooperation with the DENR Climate Change Service also started the “May Pay sa Sachet” program with the aforecited five barangays of Caloocan City. Deemed as a temporary solution to the plastic waste problem, “May Pay sa Sachet” Program is also an eco-friendly livelihood program for the barangays. For every kilo of clean plastic wastes, cut into smaller portions and put on empty used plastic bottles, every kilo of the ecobrick from plastic bottles is paid Php 7.00 to the resident. The ecobrick is surrendered to the barangay. Ecobricks may be made into   chairs, fences, washing areas, and similar structures.

Talipapa High School, which won the aforecited Art Challenge Contest, will be given a washing area as donation to the school after two months, and after processed by Green Antz in their plant in Bulacan.

Likewise included in the Sama-sama sa K5 activities were discussions on Climate Change, Environmental Management, “Bagyo” and “Lindol” with the Barangay Kagawads, health workers, street sweepers, residents, and children.


Atty. Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, DENR Undersecretary for Climate Change, and DENR Climate Change Service Director Elenida Basug led the DENR’s support activities to the 2019 National Climate Change Consciousness Week during the DENR Flag Raising Ceremony last November 18, 2019.

    The celebration started with the handover of the Storybook "Ang Paglalakbay nina Niño at Niña" to Chair and CEO of National Youth Commission (NYC), Mr. Ryan Enriquez, Director Margarita Ballesteros of Department of Education (DepEd), and Ms. Sharmaine Lizada, director-general of Greenducation Philippines. The story book on climate change, meant for children 7 to 10 years old, is a joint project of the DENR’s Climate Change Service and the Environmental Management Bureau.

      Meanwhile, the winners of the Climate Change Needs Behavior Change Comic Strip-Making Contest were also awarded in the ceremony. This was followed by the ribbon-cutting of the exhibit of the winning and selected entries to the same contest led by the DENR Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, with other officials of the DENR namely: Undersecretary Jonas Leones, Undersecretary Juan Miguel Cuna, Assistant Secretary Corazon Davis, Assistant Secretary Nonita Caguioa, Head Executive Assistant Gavin Edjawan, Director Nilo Tamoria, and DepEd Director Margarita Ballesteros. This contest focused on the so-called 30 behavioral solutions to climate change, which a global civil society organization, Rare, reported may be able to mitigate 19.9 to 36.8 percent of global emissions from 2020-2050. This analysis is built in Drawdown’s work in the evaluation of the role of individual behavior and its potential to reduce emissions.

     The contest was open to college students of Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, and Central Luzon. Winners in this contest were the following: Zyrus Manuel (UP Diliman), first prize; Bryan Sison (Integrated Innovation and Hospitality Colleges, Inc), second prize; Chantal Manalili (University of Assumption), third prize, and consolation prize holders as follows: Cherobelle Manipis (DLSU - Dasmarinas); Keen Brucal (DLSU - Dasmarinas); Kenneth Febrero (UP Los Baños); Angeli Marcon (UP Los Baños); Aildjan Collado (DLSU Dasmariñas); Fatima Ferrer (DLSU - Dasmariñas); and, Alizza Anatan (UP Diliman).

       Prizes were at Php 10,000, Php 7,000, Php 5,000 for first to third placers, respectively, and Php 3,000 for the consolation prizes.

The National Climate Change Consciousness Week is observed from November 19 to 25 by virtue of Proclamation No. 1667 signed on November 18, 2008. DENR-organized activities to the week-long celebration can be accessed here.