"Changes are unfolding in the Department," says new Regional Director

By: Deniel Salvador B. Morillo

 

“Changes are unfolding in the Department because Secretary Lopez wants a paradigm shift in the agency to improve the quality of life of our people.”

Natividad Yabut- Bernardino highlighted this during the Turnover Ceremony for her designation as the new OIC- Regional Director (RD) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) MIMAROPA Region last February 13, 2017 at the Conference Room of L&S Building, Ermita, Manila.

rd naty-3“We need to change the parameters we use in determining our performance. We need to establish the base line in order to determine if the quality of life of our stakeholders is improving through our programs. We need to look at development in a holistic perspective to achieve the genuine development that we want,” said the newly designated Regional Director.

RD Bernardino also explained that the Department is pursuing the Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD) approach in the implementation of DENR’s projects and programs.

“It is not just ecological integrity that has to be factored in but also how we bring social justice to our people. With the SIAD approach, we will use different methods and get the support of different agencies and stakeholders in order to address the need to provide for the health, livelihood, and necessities of the people living in the areas where we are working,” the former Director III of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) added.

RD Bernardino, who also holds a Master’s Degree in Development Economics from the University of the Philippines Diliman, further expounded on the moral responsibility of the DENR to take care of those who give care for the environment. She stressed that the benefits that the people get from the environment should translate to the improvement of the people’s well-being.

“You are the workforce, the frontliners, you are the walls of this Department. We, in leadership, are just your instruments. We are equal partners. I want us to be together in this journey- trust me in the same way that I am willing to trust you. What I can promise you is my dedication and my willingness to pursue change. I need your cooperation and faith for us to be able to do our mission towards the attainment of our vision,” ended DENR MIMAROPA’s Regional Director

News

DENR slaps criminal charge against Ipilan Nickel Corporation

 

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July 14, 2017. Puerto Princesa City. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through Brooke’s Point Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Conrado Corpuz, files today at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor a criminal charge against Ipilan Nickel Corporation for violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Code of the Philippines.

The case filed by DENR involves a 1.7 hectare area out of the total 24-hectare forest cleared by Ipilan Nickel Corporation in Barangay Maasin, Brooke’s Point which DENR argues to be undoubtedly outside the company’s tree cutting permit.

DENR issued INC a special tree cutting permit in May 2016 as part of its Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA). However, former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez cancelled INC’s environmental compliance certificate (ECC) on December 16, 2016, rendering its tree cutting permit invalid. INC argues its tree cutting permit remains valid.

“Granting without admitting that INC’s tree cutting permit was valid, DENR has a strong case against the company on the 1.7-hectare cleared area,” asserts DENR MIMAROPA Regional Director Natividad Bernardino.

“This is just the first in a series of cases against INC,” says Corpuz. He said that DENR will also file other charges against INC upon completion of the inventory of the trees cut in the remaining 22.3 hectares. The onset of the rainy season and the huge number of felled trees has slowed down the retrieval and inventory of trees.

DENR is also investigating another violation – the construction of a mine yard road without clearance from DENR. Apart from this, Brooke’s Point Mayor Jean Feliciano is also batting to revoke the SEP (Strategic Environmental Plan) clearance issued by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development to INC.

“INC is criminally liable and Secretary Roy Cimatu wants to ensure that irresponsible miners do not get around the law,” says Palawan Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Felizardo B. Cayatoc referring to the Secretary’s instruction to not let INC off the hook.Further, President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced on July 12, 2017 that mining companies must make up for the destructive impact of their operations on the livelihood of farmers and fishpond owners.

“With the string of cases facing INC, there is little chance it will be allowed to continue its mining operations,” adds Bernardino.

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