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DENR beefs up environmental law enforcement

 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 2 has set the ground for intensified environmental law enforcement following the Expanded Regional Management Conference held on Feb. 5-6, this year at the Narra Hall, DENR Regional Office, Tuguegarao City.

Setting the policy directions for 2018, DENR Regional Director Atty. Gil A. Aromin enumerated the 10 priority programs of the Department under Secretary Roy A. Cimatu: clean air; clean water; solid waste management; geo-hazard, groundwater assessment and responsible mining; forest and watershed management (National Greening Program); intensified forest protection and anti-illegal logging; enhanced biodiversity conservation; scaling up of coastal and marine ecosystems; improved land administration and management; and Manila Bay Cleanup.

“The Secretary’s directive is an integrated implementation of the Department’s priority programs by the DENR, Environmental Management Bureau and Mines and Geosciences Bureau. We have a lot of work at hand but I’m sure we can overcome these challenges. Kabalikat natin ang EMB at MGB,” Atty. Aromin said.

He relayed the instructions of Secretary Cimatu during the national management conference held earlier in Cebu City that include completion of inventory of water bodies; issuance of notice of violation to firms or industries operating without an environmental compliance certificate; provision of technical assistance to local government units in complying with the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Act; and continued implementation of the National Greening Program.

According to the regional environment chief, EMB and MGB personnel will be deployed to the provincial environment and natural resources (PENR) offices and community environment and natural resources (CENR) offices for the enforcement of environmental laws.

The PENR and CENR offices will work closely with the EMB in the monitoring of firms or industries’ compliance with the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, ESWM Act of 2000 and Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

Specifically, the DENR field offices shall be involved in the assessment and monitoring of air quality monitoring stations including airsheds. They will also provide technical assistance in the preliminary survey, mapping and profiling of waterbodies; designation of water quality management areas; and assessment and monitoring of priority rivers and recreation waters or resorts.

The DENR will also assist the EMB in Information, Education and Communication activities on ESWM and in monitoring the local government units’ compliance with the law.

Director Aromin also echoed the order of the DENR top official that all PENR and CENR officers should know the basic mining policy and its concepts.

During the regional management conference participated in by key officials of the DENR, EMB and MGB, Regional Director Mario A. Ancheta said the MGB is now hiring mining engineers to be assigned at the PENR Offices of Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya; and geologist to be deployed at the PENR Office of Cagayan.

Meanwhile, EMB regional chief Cesar S. Siador assured to fully support the integration and to strengthen the convergence efforts.# CCC

RGADFPS lines up Women’s Month activities

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RGADFPS lines up Women’s Month activities

 

The Regional Gender and Development Focal Point System (RGADFPS) has lined up activities in celebration of National Women’s Month in March, this year.

Engr. Paulina A. Lingan, RGADFPS chairperson, discussed the rationale of the celebration during the GAD Meeting on Feb. 13, this year at the Office of the Assistant Regional Director for Management Services, DENR Regional Office, Tuguegarao City.

The chairperson emphasized the conduct of Information, Education and Communication on Gender and Development as one of the activities highlighting this year’s celebration with a theme, “We Make Change, Work for Women.” This focuses on National Greening Program (NGP),

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DENR, LGU Sta. Teresita ink partnership on Bakong enterprise

 

mou stateresitaTo promote the growing Bakong enterprise in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), DENR Region 2 and the Local Government Unit of said town on Feb. 24, this year.

The signing of the Memorandum highlighted the celebration of the 5th National Ecotourism and 2nd Namunit Festivals.

The MOU is a venture of the DENR and the local government in promoting the establishment of biodiversity-friendly enterprise. It shall also provide livelihood and sources of income for communities within and surrounding areas of high biodiversity values.

Sta. Teresita’s Bangalao lake, a part of the Northeastern Cagayan Key Biodiversity Area, is a home of the endemic aquatic plant called Bakong which can be used to produce woven accessories and furniture. Turned into a ‘bustling industry’, this enterprise now helps as a source of income for the residents of the municipality.

The engagement of the DENR on Bakong enterprise started in 2013 through the Biodiversity Partnerships Project which initiated the conduct of a preliminary study of the water plant in determining its growth, supply and local distribution. The agency also facilitated the capacity building of People’s Organization.

BMB Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim expressed her desire for the biodiversity-friendly Bakong products to be recognized globally.She aimed at perfecting the technology of the enterprise with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism and other partner-agencies for the community to be benefitted while making sure that all activities in the industry are environment-friendly.

“We at the DENR want the community to feel and experience the benefits from the environment without them abusing or destroying it,” emphasized Director Lim.

The bureau chief also assured Mayor Lolita C. Garcia that the participants in the upcoming United Nations Convention and Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in October and November, respectively, will be encouraged to visit her town for possible investments and market linkages.

Meanwhile, Atty. Gil A. Aromin, OIC Regional Director of DENR Region 2 also articulated the agency’s support after mentioning that the enterprise is a fulfillment of the thrusts of Secretary Gina L. Lopez on social justice and environmental integrity and “gross national happiness” among the people of Sta. Teresita.

“This is also an exemplification of the new approach in the implementation of our environmental programs which is the Sustainable Integrated Area Development,” added Atty. Aromin as he commended the efforts of the whole municipality in protecting and preserving the environment and natural resources in their area.# RCC

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Sec. Lopez issues “One Strike One Out” policy

 

To intensify environmental law enforcement, the national environment chief has ordered the implementation of “One Strike One Out” policy in forest protection.

In her Memorandum dated February 15, 2017, Secretary Regina L. Lopez mandated all Regional Directors (RDs), Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENR) Officers and Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) Officers to implement the policy and clear their respective areas of responsibilities of illegal logging activities.

The retained RDs, PENR Officers and CENR Officers were given one month to comply with the directive while the newly assigned officials were given three months.

According to Sec. Lopez, the order is pursuant to the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to intensify the anti-illegal logging campaign.

Upon receipt of the order, Atty. Gil A. Aromin, Cagayan Valley Regional Director, immediately instructed all PENR and CENR Officers to come up with strategies or schemes on how to implement the directive in their respective jurisdictions.

The field officials were also enjoined to treat the directive with utmost sense of responsibility.

Among the strategies formulated are: creation of task forces to conduct close monitoring of forest protection activities; deputation of interested parties or individuals and mobilization of all Wildlife Enforcement Officers; and close coordination and partnership with law enforcement units to sustain strong partnership with the Multi-sectoral Forest Protection Committee, local government units and other government agencies.

From January to March 15, this year, Region 2 recorded 10 incidents of apprehension that yielded a total of 49.59 cubic meters of illegally-sourced forest products and seven conveyances.

The DENR will also maintain intensified visibility; conduct regular patrolling through LAWIN Forest and Biodiversity Protection System; and hire on-site Forest Protection Officers and Park Rangers to strengthen the established checkpoints.

The “One Strike One Out” policy is in line with Executive Order No. 23 s. 2011 “Declaring a Moratorium on Cutting and Harvesting of Timber in the Natural and Residual Forests and Creating the Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force”. # CCC

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CV targets zero forest fire

 

Cagayan Valley’s Forest Fire Management Plan (FFMP) is now ready for implementation to attain zero case of forest fire in the region.

The Enforcement Division (ED) of DENR Region 2 created the FFMP as a guide to avoid or prevent fire incidents in forests.

“We have to prepare for the coming dry season, when forests are more prone to fire,” said Forester Joselito D. Razon, ED Assistant chief.

The fire management plan includes programs for fire preparedness, detection and prevention.

According to Forester Razon, they will be strengthening their campaign against the common causes of forest fire which include kaingin, burning of agricultural wastes, unmindful gathering of honey bees and ant eggs, and negligence of residents of communities adjacent to forest areas.

The said plan was also designed to avoid massive fire occurrences like what happened in 2016 where a total of 851 hectares of forest and National Greening Program areas in the region were destroyed. These incidents brought an approximately 30 million-peso loss from the government fund.

As part of fire prevention activities, the Provincial and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices were instructed to formulate their respective fire brigades. Also, 16 look-out towers are to be established in strategic locations within the fire prone forest areas in the region.

For a more efficient fire rescue, sets of firefighting equipment were purchased while the hiring of firefighting crews were also requested to the Central Office.

The Department encourages residents of areas near the forests to immediately report to the nearest DENR office any detection of fire indications such as smoke from the forest.#

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Forest patrol system levels up

 

forest patrol systemThe web-based mobile application dubbed Lawin Forest Biodiversity Protection System (LFBPS) launched on March 10, 2016 to monitor conservation areas has upgraded into a more extensive monitoring system.

Enforcement Division Chief Joel S. Daquioag lauded this move for efficiency in the transmission, consolidation and analysis of patrol data during the SMART Connect for LFBPS Learning Event on Feb. 27-28, this year at the Crown Pavilion, Tuguegarao City.

“The Lawin System has been streamlined in the forest protection activities targeting a total patrol of 1,800 kilometers for this year. It is very useful and improves our advocacies, as all forms of threat in the forest are detected through our forest patrollers,” said Forester Daquioag.

The system, developed by the DENR and the Biodiversity and Wildlife Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER), is operated through an open-source software called “CyberTracker” for data collection interface and the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for data analysis, mapping and report generation.

It aims to improve the response mechanisms to address wildlife threats within the forests and protected areas of the Cagayan Valley Region.

Equipped with Global Positioning System, the SMART Connect features the collection and sharing of field data in real time; manages and responses to real time alerts to enable more effective and rapid operational responses; centrally manages SMART deployments at multiple times; and enhances analysis, visualization and impact of SMART data for decision making by integrating with other systems.
In his message, OIC, Regional Director, Atty. Gil A. Aromin, emphasized that there is a need to capacitate the forest rangers, extension officers and forest protection officers (FPOs) on the use of the mobile system to further improve the implementation of forest protection and law enforcement activities.

The 38 patrol teams composed of 204 forest rangers, forest protection officers and extension officers had a total patrol of 1,355.84 kilometers from July 2016 to January 2017. Adopting the forest conservation area plans of the different Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices, the forest condition and indicator species were observed.

The top five observed threats were: presence of hut/house and other infrastructure, 31 percent; cutting of trees, 29 percent; annual and perennial farming, 16 percent; slash-and-burn farming, 14 percent; and charcoal making, 10 percent. These observations were immediately responded to by the concerned Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officers.

Facilitated by representatives of the Forest Management Bureau and Chemonics International, Inc. (B+WISER), the learning event educated the participants on how to install and manipulate the upgraded software that will be used in data analysis after conducting forest patrol and biodiversity assessment. Patrol data can now be recorded per CENRO.

B+WISER Biodiversity and Forestry Specialist Felix Gaschick discussed the features of the application. He said the system has become more embracing because through the interconnection of database, monitoring and access of data are easier and better.

“The system has now started to roll out to the different DENR offices nationwide,” Specialist Gaschick added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rodolfo B. Santos Jr., Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist of the B+WISER convened the FPOs for the formulation of process for responding to observed threats.

“Technology will not protect the forest, it is the people who are. They are the ones doing the activity that is why we need to enhance them and come up with a generic protocol which will apply to all situations,” Dr. Santos emphasized.

As an output, the FPOs were able to formulate a response framework stressing the procedure to respond to data-driven reports particularly on kaingin farming and establishment of buildings/structures in protected areas.

RD Aromin congratulated the 43 forest patrollers in the closing program of the Learning Event.

“I hope that the knowledge you have gained will be applied by heart for a more productive workforce so that our mandate to protect the environment will always be there. We count on you as our partners in forest protection and conservation,” the Cagayan Valley chief enthused. #CAT