Press Releases

 

DENR extends ‘forest’s gifts’ to frontliners. Personnel from CENRO Sablayan headed by CENR Officer Ceasar Quebec (second from right) prepare and scale 78 pieces of hard wood for donation to Occidental Mindoro Provincial Hospital. The lumber shall be used to make beds, tables, chairs and cabinets for the hospital’s new dormitory that is expected to house around 20 medical staff and COVID-19 frontliners.

Amid the country’s battle against COVID-19, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in MIMAROPA Region extends its full support to Occidental and Oriental Mindoro’s efforts to ease the burden of medical frontliners and further prevent the spread of the disease in the provinces.

On April 22, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) in Oriental Mindoro donated to the Provincial Government, 109 pieces (1,589.32 bd ft) of assorted lumber which shall be used by the provincial hospital to expand and improve its services for COVID-19 patients. The PENRO also sent out 20 pieces (344.66 bd ft) of hardwood to the Philippine Coast Guard to help them construct a quarantine facility at the port. The total market value of the donated lumber is Php 96, 699.

Meanwhile, PENRO Occidental Mindoro, together with CENRO Sablayan Coordinating Office, also donated lumber to the Provincial Hospital to help furnish its newly constructed dormitory for medical staff and COVID-19 frontliners.

On April 17, the team facilitated the signing of Deed of Donation and handed over to the hospital 78 pieces of lumber which have a total volume of 2,018.49 bd ft and an estimated market value of P70,000.

According to Chief of Hospital Dr. Reynaldo Feratero, the hard wood shall be used to make beds, cabinets, tables and chairs for the dormitory that is expected to house around 16 - 20 doctors and ancillary staff.

As of this writing, the Department of Health reported that Occidental Mindoro has four confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 21 suspect cases.

“We understand that some of our doctors and nurses need to stay at the dorm to attend to these patients. That is more than enough reason for us to mobilize our team and help the hospital furnish its dormitory,” PENR Officer Ernesto Tañada said

DENR MIMAROPA Executive Director Henry Adornado expressed that the agency recognizes the role of the frontliners in fighting the disease and helping not only the patients but the whole community to recover from it. It is but apt for the DENR to extend all possible help to support them.

“We hope that through the donated forest products, we are able to provide our doctors and nurses sturdy beds to sleep on; and other furnishings that could give them some respite after an exhausting day of work,” the Director noted.

“Besides staying at home, it (donation of lumber) is perhaps the least that we could do in exchange for all the sacrifices that our frontliners have made in this very difficult time,” he concluded. (With reports and photo from PENRO Occidental Mindoro and PENRO Oriental Mindoro.) ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources served on Wednesday, Cease and Desist Orders to 10 hotels and restaurants which were found gravely polluting Bacuit Bay in El Nido, Palawan, one of the country’s tourism hot spots undergoing massive rehabilitation.

The CDO, signed by Environmental Management Bureau - MIMAROPA Regional Director Atty. Michael Drake Matias, stated that the following hotels discharge wastewater continuously without valid permits, a clear violation of Rule 14.12 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9275 or The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004-El Nido Sea Shell Resorts and Hotel in Brgy. Buena Suerte; Doublegem Beach Resort and Hotel, Buko Beach Resort, Panorama Resort (Mangonana Inc.), Four Seasons Seaview Hotel, and Stunning Republic Beach Resort, in Brgy. Corong-corong; and Sava Beach Bar/Sava Nest Egg Inc., El Nido Beach Hotel, and The Nest El Nido Resorts and Spa, Inc. in Brgy. Masagana.

Under the said law, “Disapproved applications or suspended or revoked wastewater discharge permits shall not grant any right or privilege to the applicant or former permit holder to discharge its waste water into any body(ies) of water and /or land. Any discharge shall be a ground for the immediate issuance of a cease and desist order.”

The CDO further noted, the hotels discharged wastewater that are greatly exceeding the allowable DENR standards “without any consideration of its impact and effect to the receiving body of water,” in this case, Bacuit Bay.

The Order specified that the result of the laboratory analysis on the wastewater taken from said establishments went beyond the DENR General Effluent Standards for Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD). BOD is a measure of the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms when decomposing organic materials present in water. It provides an index on how discharged wastewater affects its receiving environment. A high BOD indicates high amount of organic matter present in the water sample.

Meanwhile, under orders from the Pollution Adjudication Board, the DENR also served a CDO to Cuna Hotel in Brgy. Maligaya, which has an existing complaint of discharging blackish and foul smelling wastewater. Likewise, effluent sample taken from the said hotel has greatly exceeded the water quality standard set by the Department. The CDO issued to Cuna Hotel shall remain in force and in effect until modified or lifted by the Board or the DENR Secretary.

To ensure erring establishments refrain from discharging wastewater, a team from DENR MIMAROPA spearheaded by its regional EMB, implemented the CDO by sealing all identified 10 hotels’ water line and facilities from their kitchens to the comfort rooms (faucets, kitchen sinks, lavatory, sewer lines, outlet pipes,etc); and by posting a notice of their violations to the public.

“It is a tedious process but that is what the law prescribes,” RD Matias remarked. “We make sure all our actions are done in due process,” he pointed out.

The establishments are placed under close watch to ensure their compliance with the Order. Nonetheless, the DENR team is also monitoring the rest of business structures in El Nido by continuously checking their wastewater discharges.

“We have initial investigations done on other hotels and restaurants and we are just waiting if results of their effluent samples would merit issuance of CDO,” MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado announced.

“Until these erring establishments have shaped up, we have no other choice but to enforce the law and stop them from polluting El Nido,” he remarked.

The ongoing rehabilitation of El Nido forms part of the strong directive of Secretary Roy Cimatu to protect all bodies of water in the country so that the people may enjoy their most beneficial use. The DENR has likewise called for solidarity of public and private sectors in environment protection initiatives to achieve and ensure clean water for all.

“We have longed benefited from El Nido. It is about time we all realize that we have a shared responsibility to protect and save it from degradation so that we and the generations to come can still savor the beauty and natural resources that this wonderful island has to offer, ” the director concluded. (Photos and reports from EMB MIMAROPA and El Nido PAO.) ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources served recently Cease and Desist Orders against business establishments found violating Clean Water Act and contributing to the failing water quality of Bacuit Bay in El Nido and Coron Bay in Coron, two of the country’s prime tourist destinations undergoing massive rehabilitation.

The CDO stated that the hotels have discharged wastewater that greatly exceeded the allowable DENR effluent standards, which is a violation of Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

Ordered to cease and desist from undertaking any activity and/or operating machines and equipment generating pollution were five establishments in El Nido, namely View Deck Cottages, Lagun Hotel, Spin Designer Hotel, La Casa Teresa Tourist Inn, Inc., and Mansion Buenavista Guest House.

The wastewater of these hotels, the CDO further stated, drains to Bacuit Bay through Masagana, Buena Suerte, Maligaya and Corong-corong outfalls, which were likewise recorded with soaring fecal coliform count.

As this develops, Secretaries Roy Cimatu (DENR), Eduardo Año (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (Department of Tourism) announced on August 1 that while El Nido shall remain open during its rehabilitation, a swimming ban shall be imposed on selected areas in Bacuit Bay particularly those near the aforementioned outfalls.

At present, the identified beach areas are cordoned off and signages are installed to remind the public of the no swimming policy.

Meanwhile in Coron, the DENR also served CDO against Busuanga Sea Dive Resort, Corto Del Mar, Coron Gateway Hotel, Sophia’s Garden Resort, and Pearl Vista De Coron Resort.

Similarly, these hotels were found to have released wastewater into Coron Bay, contributing to the presence of high coliform count in some portions of it.

Coron and Bacuit Bays are two significant bodies of water identified as Class SB or suitable for ecotourism and recreational activities, such as bathing, swimming and skin diving. Unfortunately, various factors, such as encroachment of easement zones and waterways by business structures and households, degrade the quality of these water bodies, and keep the public from enjoying their most beneficial use.

“Makikita po natin na kagagawan din ng tao kung bakit marumi ang ating mga katubigan at hindi natin ito napapakinabangan ng husto,” DENR MIMAROPA Regional Executive Director Henry Adornado stated.

“Kung tao ang dahilan, tao rin ang makakagawa ng paraan para malinis ang ating karagatan. At gagawin natin ‘yan sa pagpapatupad ng batas sa sinuman napatunayang lumapastangan sa ating kapaligiran, tulad nga ng paghahain nitong mga CDO,” he remarked.

Besides enforcement of environmental laws, other measures are put in place to save problematic water areas. In 2016, Coron Bay was designated as a Water Quality Management Area (WQMA), an integrated water quality management system designed to protect and save bodies of water through the collaborative efforts of the government and various stakeholders.

Bacuit Bay, on the other hand, is undergoing preparations for its establishment as WQMA. EMB MIMAROPA has conducted this year four orientation meetings so far, on January 29, March 27, May 29, and recently last August 2, to orient stakeholders on the stages of establishing a WQMA as well as the water quality status of Bacuit Bay.

“We have to start at educating our stakeholders on their duties in protecting the environment, and the accompanying sanctions should they fail to fulfill such,” EMB MIMAROPA Regional Director Michael Drake Matias said.

“We hope that the public, especially the business sector, would understand that what we are doing, the stakeholders forum as well as the issuance of the CDO against erring establishments, form part of our shared responsibility to protect nature and preserve it for future generations,” he concluded.

The CDO was served and implemented by a team from EMB MIMAROPA, PENRO Palawan, CENRO Taytay, CENRO Coron, and El Nido Protected Area Management Office, assisted by the Municipal Governments of El Nido and Coron. Part of the implementation included posting of a public notice on the violation of the concerned establishment and sealing of all its water lines and facilities to prevent it from releasing wastewater. (With reports and photos from EMB MIMAROPA and El Nido PAO) ###

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu hit the ground running Wednesday as the newly appointed chair of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) in answer to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call to clean the Pasig River.

The environment chief led atechnical inspection of Pasig River and pledged to get rid of informal settlers and go after pollutersof the historic river.

Cimatu was joined in the more than two-hour inspection tour of the river by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Danilo Lim, and officials of the PRRC, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

As they traversed the length of Pasig River from Manila to Makati, Cimatu noted several violations including the three-meter easement from the riverbanks.

"We have the authority to restore the three-meter easement, and MMDA and PRRC are working on this," Cimatu said.

Based on Presidential Decree 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, banks of rivers and streams and shores of seas and lakes throughout their entire length and within a zone of three meters in urban areas are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage.

However, MMDA Resolution No. 3, series of 1996 adopts the uniform 10-meter easement from the existing shoreline, banks or streams along the Pasig River.

According to Cimatu, the 10 meter easement along the Pasig River is subject to expropriation.

The environment chief also saw some 1,000 informal settler families (ISFs) near Del Pan Bridge and vowed to relocate them.

"Relocation is our priority. We will take immediate action. We will remove and relocate the ISFs in coordination with the National Housing Authority,” he said.

Cimatu said that during his recent meeting with local government officials, including barangay captains, he warned them of administrative and criminal charges should they allow relocated ISFs to return to their previous settlements.

The DENR chief said that outfalls discharging wastewater into the river will be checked to monitor water quality, as well as illegal discharges.

“The moment we see a private outfall whose discharge is not according to standards, we will issue them a Notice of Violation (NOV),” Cimatu warned.

He noted that establishments which were earlier issued NOV have been made to pay fines for every day that they did not comply. “We will not let this pass. We will bring these to the Pollution Adjudication Board,” he added.

Cimatu also said the regulated and proper use of the river will be observed, referring to the barges docked along the river that deliver raw materials to the factories, and to the makeshift junkshops along the riverbanks.

“We have to move them out because they contribute to the low quality of the water in the river,” said Cimatu.

The DENR chief said that immediate action will be taken on the large amount of water hyacinths in the river.

MMDA Chair Lim said a 600-meter trash trap has been installed to prevent water hyacinths to reach Pasig River from Laguna Lake but this was destroyed by the continuous rains, thus will have to be replaced.

Cimatu also stressed the need to clean the esteros simultaneously and continuously to prevent the garbage from flowing to the river and then to Manila Bay.

The Pasig River tour gave Cimatu a picture of the water body’s physical condition, as well as the structures and establishments in the riverbanks that affect the river’s water quality.

On August 28, President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 90 transferring the PRRC Chairmanship from the PRRC to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with hopes to revive the river with Cimatu at the helm.

The President recently expressed dismay over the river’s water quality describing it as “uncleanable” because the lack of zoning caused factories and houses along the river to discharge their waste to it.

Last year, Cimatu delivered on the President’s directive to clean Boracay in six months. Early this year, he was tasked to spearhead the ongoing rehabilitation of Manila Bay which has gained ground with the cleanup of esteros, the resettlement of informal settler families (ISF) and the improving water quality readings in major outfalls.

Pasig River is approximately 27 kilometers long and connects Laguna de Bay and Manila Bay. The main Pasig River passes through the cities of Taguig, Pasig, Makati, Mandaluyong and Manila, and the municipality of Taytay in Rizal.

The river system has four major tributaries—Marikina, Pateros-Taguig, Napindan and San Juan—and 43 minor tributaries mostly located in Manila. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) has issued an interim Cease and Desist Order (CDO) to BoracayTubi Systems, Inc. (BTSI) for discharging wastewaterthat tested positive for fecal coliform in the waters of Boracay Island.

The wastewater discharge was traced from BTSI’s one (1) kilometer outfall pipe from Lugutan area in BrgyManoc-Manoc in the island to Sibuyan Sea. Sinkers were placed on the outfall pipe to secure it and prevent it from floating. It was found to be almost 13 kilometers below the water surface.

The interim CDO was issued on Sept. 21,2019 by EMB Western Visayas Regional Director Atty. RamarNiel V. Pascua and shall be effective for seven (7) days unless confirmed by the Pollution Adjudication Board in such case it shall become a regular CDO.

“I have made it clear from Day 1 that no one is above the law,” said Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu adding that,“all environmental laws have to be strictly enforced because their primary purpose is to protect our environment and natural resources.”

“We will appropriately deal with the people responsible for this violation,” stressed Cimatu who is chair of the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force created by President Rodrigo RoaDutertethrough Executive Order 53 to reverse the degradation of Boracay Island.

In an inspection conducted by personnel of EMB, an outfall pipe was seen to be discharging a large volume of yellowish water.

Laboratory Analysis results revealed that fecal coliform and phosphate from the water sample and residue taken have exceeded the General Effluent Standards maximum allowable limit for Class SC marine water body per DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-08 or the Water Quality Guidelines and Effluent Standards of 2016.

The sample collected had a fecal coliform of 3,500 most probable number per 100 ml (MPN/100ml) against an effluent standard for Class SC water of 400 MPN/100ml. On the other hand, Phosphate was at 2.250 mg P/L against the standard of one (1) mg P/L level.

Earlier, a video of a pawikanor sea turtle sticking its head into the pipe outlet was posted in social media by a Korean diving instructor.

On August 14, 2019, DENR Secretary Roy A.Cimatu gave instructions to cordon off the beachfront area in Station 1 after two female foreign nationals—one allowing child to defecate in Boracay’s waters and the other burying a used diaper in the white sand – also circulated on social media.

BoracayIsland was ordered closed by President Rodrigo RoaDuterte in April 2018 after he described its water as a cesspool. The famous island reopened in October 2018 after a six-month rehabilitation.

Boracy Island is surrounded by Sibuyan Sea in the east and Sulu Sea in the west.

BTSI is one of the two water utility companies in Boracay Island. ###