DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 July) – The government will set aside a budget worth P10 billion as investments to increase the capabilities of the vulnerable provinces on climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction as “readiness and preparedness is key to resiliency,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.

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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 DelfinLorenzana, 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 dumatingangbagyo,” Cimatu said.

“Sisiguruhinnatinnawalangpamilyang Pilipino angnasapeligrosapanahon 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. #

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu rallied support from his fellow Cabinet members for the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay and Boracay Island as ordered by no less than President Rodrigo RoaDuterte.

“With your cooperation and support, we will win in the twin battles to save our natural resources: saving Boracay, and our national heritage, Manila Bay,” Cimatu told his colleagues during the joint forum of the Cabinet Clusters on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR),and Security, Justice and Peace in Davao City prior to the President’s State of the Nation Address.

Cimatu chairs the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR, being the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Cimatu thanked those who are taking part in the so-called “Battle for Manila Bay” which have so far gathered over 10,000 volunteers since the massive clean up drive was launched in January this year.

The rehabilitation efforts for Manila Bay has gained support from 178 local government units and 5,714 barangays around the bay.

In addition, the private sector has joined the efforts with the signing of partnerships with 32 firms for the adoption of esteros and creeks that drain to the bay. The companies provide dredging equipment and cleaning materials, conduct training and information campaigns and mobilize communities for the clean up of the bay.

However, Cimatu said the bay’s current state “is still far from our dream to make it clean and swimmable.”

“The Battle for Manila Bay is a long-drawn battle that we can only win with deep commitment and tremendous work,” Cimatu pointed out.

Cimatu, who also chairs the inter-agency Manila Bay Task Force, promised to address garbage collection and management, especially in the esteros, with Chairman Danilo Lim of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority as ground commander.

He said the task force plans to construct communal facilities and rehabilitate the breakwater along the mouth of Pasig River and Manila Bay, particularly the one near the Port Area.

Recently, 198 informal settler families (ISFs) from Estero de Magdalena in Malate, Manila were relocated to TreceMartires in Cavite while 50 ISFs from Estero de San Antonio de Abad, also in Manila, were transferred to Tala, Caloocan City.

Informal settlements usually lack sewage facilities forcing ISFs to dispose human waste directly to the esteros which is among the causes of poor water quality in the bay. Relocation is one component of the Manila Bay rehabilitation.

Cimatu said they plan to adopt a two-pronged approach in the restoration of the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard: coastal and marine ecosystems enhancement; and establishment of wastewater treatment facilities, drainage diversion canal and modular sewerage treatment plants.

As for the Boracay rehabilitation, Cimatu said it is far from over as the DENR-led inter-agency task force “will soldier on to complete our mission.”

“Hindi pa tayotapossapagsasagipsa Boracay at iba pang nanganganibna tourist destinations,” the DENR chief declared.

Together with Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Cimatu said he will go after violators, including erring local government officials and establishments.

“We have filed charges and we are ready to file more cases in court,” Cimatu said.

With the help from Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Cimatu said they will put in place all infrastructure needed to bring Boracay back on top of the world’s prime tourist destinations.

Cimatu said the Boracaytask forceand the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples are set to rehabilitate the Ati Core Shelter in SitioLugutan, Barangay Manoc-Manoc for the benefit of the Ati communities.

“More programs will be implemented to promote business and livelihood in Boracay,” Cimatu disclosed.

“Our partners in the private sector have also committed to continue as protectors of the island,” he added. ###

Jun Ramirez | Manila Bulletin

April 21, 2019, 11:29 AM

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is granting a 50 percent income tax discount to businesses that develop, use and distribute technologies that do not harm the environment.

The tax incentive is provided under Revenue Regulations No. 5-2019 signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay.

The guideline was reissued last week implementing the Philippine Green Jobs Law (RA 10771), stressing the role of the business community in reducing pollution and other environmental menace.

Qualified to join the program are businesses engaged in production, manufacturing, processing, repacking and assembly as well as the sale of goods and services.

Specifically, participants are required to come out with the so-called green technologies.

The eco-friendly technologies refer to the development and application of products, equipment and systems used to conserve the environment and natural resources.

To avail of the tax incentives, participants must register with the revenue district office where the business is registered.

The regulations stated the entity “shall be entitled to a special deduction from the taxable income equivalent to 50 percent of the total expense for skills, training and research development expenses.”

Louise Bevan | The Epoch Times

April 3, 2019

It may not sound like a meal plan to aspire towards, but Yale University students made a fascinating discovery in 2012: a rare species of mushroom that can survive purely by feeding on plastic. The extraordinary mushroom that grows in the Amazon rainforest, “Pestalotiopsis microspora,” can feed on polyurethane (the main ingredient in plastic production), transforming the man-made ingredient into organic matter. The university’s research quickly gained traction, and some hugely impactful findings have been shared.

Pestalotiopsis microspora can live without oxygen, which brought scientists to a very interesting conclusion: these mushrooms have the potential to be propagated at the bottom of landfill sites.

The detritus that has amassed from decades upon decades of wasteful plastic usage presents a phenomenal undertaking, but scientists maintain that Pestalotiopsis microspora may, at the very least, change public perception of plastics in a helpful and progressive way, perhaps starting at the level of local community.

If plastic-eating mushroom species were propagated at community composting centers, residents would have the opportunity to come face to face with nature’s very own plastic assailant. But beyond small-scale composting, we know that there’s a literal trash heap twice the size of Texas currently floating in the Pacific Ocean. Laurent Lebreton of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation emphasized a sense of urgency to USA Today: “Unless we begin to remove it,” he said, “some would say it may remain there forever.”

Mother Nature has the answer, and it’s a tasty one: some plastic-eating mushrooms can be eaten by humans.

Katharina Unger of Utrecht University devised an amazing demonstrative model, or “Fungi Mutarium,” a climate-controlled, dome-shaped environment in which agar cups were filled with plastic waste and oyster mushroom spores. Over the course of a month, the mushrooms’ roots consumed and transformed the plastic waste into edible material, without accumulating toxins. The “final product” could even be eaten whole, Unger revealed, tasting “sweet with the smell of anise or licorice.”