BIMP-EAGA hits the road to greener cities

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July 11, 2017. The Brunei Darussalam- Indonesia- Malaysia- Philippine East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) holds today its 6th Environmental Cluster Meeting to discuss the best environmental practices and the challenges faced by each member country in the road towards environmental sustainability and in the creation of green cities.

Recent studies show that Asia’s cities have been drivers of the economy and have lifted millions out of poverty. However, these studies also reveal that the consequence of the rapid development is environment degradation.

Noting this inverse correlation between the economic growth and environmental condition, BIMP-EAGA hopes to shed light on how to accelerate economic development without sacrificing the environment.

The meeting will discuss, among others, the elements of and lessons learned by member countries and the Asian Development Bank in trying to create “green cities.”

“From poachers to guardians of Almaciga trees (Agathis philippinensis),” explains DENR Region 11 Assistant Regional Director Marcia G. Isip, on how communities in Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental were convinced to stop poaching timber and wildlife and cutting almaciga and instead use tools and techniques in resin collection that do not damage the trees.

Nining Ngudi Purnamaningtyas, Head of Bilateral and Regional Cooperation Division, Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Indonesia, cites the conservation efforts in Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua which include the declaration of the island as a Marine Wildlife Reserve and the designation of Misool Eco-resort as a “no take zone” to preserve its coral reef and marine life. The Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Center involves indigenous communities in the tourism sector, and provides assistance in diving and other water activities.

The series of meetings conducted by BIMP-EAGA are anchored on its six strategic pillars: connectivity, food basket, tourism, environment, trade and investment facilitation, and socio-cultural and education.

BIMP-EAGA was launched in 1994 as a cooperation initiative by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines to increase trade, tourism, and investments in areas geographically distant from their national capitals but strategically located proximal to each other. For the Philippines, part of this growth hub are Palawan and Mindanao.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) hosts the 6th BIMP-EAGA Environmental Cluster Meeting being held in Aziza Hotel, Palawan.

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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