Press Releases

Regional Executive Director Paquito Melicor said, Panglao should not follow what happened to Boracay. This is just one example of a strong political will and commitment of the local government executives which can address our environmental challenges, the demolition of Hera Greek Taverna, a two-storey structure within the 20 meter easement zone along the shoreline of Alona Beach in Barangay Tawala, Panglao, Bohol.

The Panglao Inter-agency Demolition Task Force composed of representatives from the LGU, PNP-SAF, BFP, BOHECO and DENR7-CENRO Tagbilaran, led by Acting Mayor Bryan Velasco made the decision to implement the demolition order signed by Mayor Nila Montero, prior to her suspension started the demolition of the said establishment today.

DENR Central Visayas believes that more establishments will voluntarily demolish illegal structures within the 20 meter salvage and easement zone before the year ends.

Determined to prevent the destructive development along the coastal areas of the resort town of Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island in Cebu Province, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas and Local Government Unit of Sta. Fe, Bantayan represented by Sta. Fe Mayor Ithamar Espinosa vowed to comply and implement the environmental laws in Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu.
 
This, after the three government offices signed the Covenant of Commitment to immediately implement the removal of illegal structures along the road right of way and along beachfronts encroaching the easement zone.
 
"The DENR Central Visayas is trying its best to face the challenge head on and make sure we prevent a repeat of Boracay here in the region. Aggressive enforcement activities are already being conducted in the islands of Mactan, Panglao and Bantayan and we are very happy that we are one with Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas and the Local Government partners in addressing this challenge," said DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Paquito Melicor Jr.
 
Melicor added that LGU Sta. Fe will lead a taskforce joined by the DENR, Department of Tourism (DOT) , Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to implement demolition of illegal structures within easement zone.
 
Also, DENR 7 is set to conduct a water study to determine the carrying capacity for extractive development in the Bantayan Group of Islands to guide and assist the LGU in the management and protection of the island and its surrounding waters including its marine resources.
 
With the rise of the tourism industry especially in all famous beach destinations in Central Visayas, DENR 7 vowed to closely look into the sewage, solid wastes, foreshore, and all other environmental-related concern to ensure safe, secure and sustainable environment along the coast.

siquijor

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Siquijor together with the Registry of Deeds and Siquijor Provincial Government distributed a total of 82 residential and agricultural free patents to land owners in Siquijor Province last September 16 in celebration of the 114th founding anniversary of the Land Management Bureau and 48th Araw ng Probinsya ng Siquijor held at Dugukanan sa Capitolyo, Siquijor Provincial Capitol, Polangyuta, Siquijor.
 
Assisted by Siquijor Vice-Governor Mei Ling Quezon-Brown, Atty. Michael Panzo of the Registry of Deeds, Chief Technical Services Vicente Rustico M. Calizar representing PENR Officer Moreno S. Tagra personally handed the titles to the beneficiaries.
 
Patent issuance is one of the priority project of Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and item No. 6 of the 0+10 agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte which is to ensure security of land tenure to encourage investments, and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies.
 
“Part of our continuing efforts in our land management program is to simplify, streamline and fast track processes in the disposition of alienable and disposable lands with the strong partnership and collaboration with our LGUs in the province,” said Tagra.
 
He added that the land titling helps improve overall productivity of idle lands and boost revenue collection of local government units.
 
In accordance to Republic Act No. 3844, otherwise known as the Agricultural Land Reform Code, the DENR is primary agency responsible for the distribution and land disposition through the issuance of free patents for public agricultural A and D lands.
 
On the other hand, issuance of patents for residential lands is in line with the implementation of Republic Act 10023, or the New Free Patent Act, which provides the DENR to process a patent application to any Filipino citizen who is an actual occupant of a residential land.
 
Aside from title distribution, PENRO Siquijor technical personnel also conducted an ENR consultation to address concerns of local communities on various DENR programs, projects and activities.

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu expressed hope the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) would receive the P3.036 billion additional funding it needed to bankroll three crucial programs the agency will start to implement next year.

“We are hopeful the budget augmentation will be included in the final version of the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) to be passed by Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate—and signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Cimatu said.

The proposed funding increase includes P1.2 billion for the Enforcement Bureau; P1.8 billion for the full implementation of the Republic Act No. 11038 or the “Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (E-NIPAS) Act of 2018” ; and P36 million for land titling.

During the budget deliberation at the House Appropriations Committee held last September 6, both the Majority and Minority blocs threw their support behind Cimatu’s plans to create an Enforcement Bureau with the assurance that they would push for the augmentation of the DENR budget during the bicameral conference on the 2020 GAB.

He explained that with its own Enforcement Bureau, the DENR could effectively enforce environmental laws and protect its workers who have been the vicious targets of illegal loggers and other environmental criminals.

The environment chief made the appeal a few days after Bienvenido Veguilla Jr., a DENR forest ranger, was brutally killed by suspected illegal loggers in El Nido, Palawan.

The deliberation likewisetackled the need for the additional funds for the full implementation of and the acceleration of land titling and distribution of public lands.

Last Sept. 20, the House approved on third and final reading the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, including the P25.5 billion allocation for the DENR which is 16 percent higher than the P21.96 billion it got for this year.

The Senate had already started its own review of the government’s spending plan for next year and is expected to come up with its own version of the GAB.

“We are hoping that the DENR would get the same extent of support from the senators just like their counterparts in the House when they meet at the bicameral conference committee,” Cimatu said.

“Representatives crossed party lines in casting their support,” Cimatu said, referring to the commitment of support given by House Majority Floor leader Martin Romualdez, House Minority leader Manila 6th District Rep. BienvenidoAbante Jr., and independent opposition Albay 1st District Rep. EdcelLagman.

At the deliberations, Romualdez assured Cimatu of joining “the minority in the proposals to support the department all out” in response to Abante’s assurance of the minority block’s support to the DENR’s appeal to increase its proposed 2020 budget

“Kung hindi pa kayo masyadong Masaya dyan, andito po kami,” Abante said, responding to Cimatu’s appeal on the need to increase the proposed DENR P25.5 budget.

For his part, Lagman said that “the independent minority will join the majority” in pushing for the increase in the DENR’s budget.

“Mr. Chairman. At the proper time, if the Majority in the Committee or at the Plenary would consider a justified augmentation of the proposed budget of the DENR, the independent opposition will join the majority in making this allocation,” Lagman said.

The DENR—through Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas Leones—submitted to Congress the proposed augmentation budget of the agency last Sept. 16.

In a letter addressed to House Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Leones said the DENR would need P1.2 billion for the establishment and initial operation of the proposed Enforcement Bureau in 2020.

Leones said the agency would also need P1.8 billion for the full implementation of E-NIPAS law, and P36 million to fast track the issuance of titles for alienable and disposable public lands.

According to Leones, the creation of an Enforcement Bureau within the DENR is in line with the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda, particularly peace and order, as it would enable the department to “fully implement and enforce laws on environment and natural resources (ENR) with full authority to police illegal loggers and ENR violators.”

The DENR official also cited the need for “full logistic support” for the implementation of the E-NIPAS law and the acceleration of public land distribution.

“Still, under the 10-point agenda of the President, to be specific, is to ‘ensure security of land tenure’ to encourage investments and address bottlenecks in land management and titling,” Leones pointed out.

The E-NIPAS law expands NIPAS Act of 1992 to cover broader range of protected areas (PAs) safeguarded under the law. The new law adds 94 more legislated PAs in the country, and bolsters the security of previously declared PAs.

The law allows the DENR to strengthen the management of PAs, which are widely considered essential for biodiversity conservation. PAs are frequently home to irreplaceable and threatened species. ###

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has announced the temporary suspension of all dragon boat race activities in Boracay in the wake of a deadly accident that claimed the lives of seven members of a local-based dragon boat group.

Cimatu, who chairs the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), said that such activities are “postponed for the time being until emergency protocols are thoroughly scrutinized.”

“We are temporarily suspending all dragon boat race activities in Boracay, including practice and training, until we have assessed their practice protocols,” Cimatu said.

All agencies involved in emergency rescue and response are scheduled to meet on Monday, Sept. 30 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of protocols, logistics and resources, and to come up with recommendations to address gaps subject to the approval of the BIATF.

These agencies include the local government of Malay and its Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Philippine National Police Maritime Group, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Tourism, the local dragon boat associations and other water sports associations in the Philippines.

On Sept. 25, seven members of the Boracay Dragon Force died, while 14 others were injured when the boat they were rowing capsized off Boracay Island. The group was then training for an upcoming international competition in Taiwan.

Upon learning of the incident, Cimatu expressed his sympathy to the victims and their families, as he promised that emergency response programs will be strengthened in Boracay to prevent a similar incident in the future.

According to reports, the boat capsized after it was hit by large swells of waves originating from the sudden violent gusts of wind before the dragon boat racers reached the third bay of Tulubhan Beach in Barangay Manocmanoc.

Members of the team were not wearing life vests during that time, while one of the paddlers did not know how to swim, the reports added.

The local government of Malay, Aklan and partner agencies have extended their support to the bereaved families by offering them services, such as financial assistance, stress debriefing, cadaver management, and security. ###