Press Releases

The Ilocos Region now has three fully-automated air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) that measure gas and particulate pollution continuously and in real time in three strategic locations.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), recently caused the installation of differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) equipment in the third AQMS in the region located at the headquarters of San Fernando City Police Office in La Union province.

This coming Feb. 12, the La Union AQMS will be inaugurated by the DENR-EMB, with DENR Assistant Secretary and concurrent EMB Director Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, La Union Governor Manuel Ortega, San Fernando City Mayor Pablo Ortega, Police Regional Director Ericson Velasquez and DENR Regional Director Paquito Moreno expected to grace the event.

According to EMB Regional Director Ma. Victoria V. Abrera, the installation of the third DOAS system in Region 1 was by virtue of a memorandum of agreement signed by the regional offices of the DENR and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the city government of San Fernando.

“This will help strengthen the city’s air quality monitoring, and will further boost EMB’s collaborative anti-air pollution campaign in Northern Luzon,” Abrera said. “By having real-time results, the city can make better plans to address its air pollution situation.”

Abrera said the state-of-the-art DOAS equipment installed in La Union is by far the third air quality monitoring station in the region, measuring six pollution parameters, namely: nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter of 10 microns in diameter or PM10, and PM2.5. The first two are located in Barangay Anonas in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan and in Batac, Ilocos Norte but only measure two parameters, PM 10 and PM 2.5,” Abrera said.

The PNP, through its Pulis Kalikasan Patrol, has agreed to support the environmental project by providing space, security service and allowing the EMB to install, construct and operate the station free of charge.

Meanwhile, the city government of San Fernando will assist the environment regional office in the conduct of air quality monitoring, shoulder the power cost of the station, and make use of the air quality monitoring results in the development and implementation of programs relative to the objectives of the EMB clean air program.###

PARIS - With only a few days left before the historic UN climate change conference ends, the Philippines has called on other countries for failing to include crucial adaptation finance in the current draft of the Paris agreement.

"The Philippine delegation is seriously concerned about the fact that there is not enough provision in the draft Paris agreement that provides adaptation finance for the developing countries most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change,” Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said during a high-level meeting held in Le Bourget on December 8.

More than 190 countries have embarked on two weeks of negotiations to hammer out a new universal climate pact that will specify tracks of finance, mitigation and adaptation actions from 2020 and beyond.

Even after the first week of the talks have ended on December 5, there remains no clear language capturing the mobilization of adaptation funds for countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Paje pointed out that there was no reference to the amount of finance needed for adaptation in Article 6, which covers the element of finance in the new climate deal.

“My delegation hereby further intervenes to ensure clear reference to a collective target for adaptation," the environment chief told the assembly.

Paje said there should be a collective target for adaptation with a “solid quantitative goal,” or a particular amount for adaptation finance that should be reviewed every five years.

According to Paje, predictable financing sources are critical for the implementation of initiatives like technology transfer and capacity-building innovations to enable the country to adapt effectively to climate change impacts.

At the same time, Paje said actions that will limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which now enjoy the support of 112 nations, must be fast-tracked and sustained despite the setback caused by the failure of countries to agree on the review of the 2-degrees Celsius goal.

Such review would have provided scientific evidence for the necessity of increasing mitigation targets, he said.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), an advocacy coalition of 43 middle income and developing small-island nations led by the Philippines, has pushed for the continued adoption of 1.5-degrees Celsius goal even after the setback.

Paje also emphasized that the climate crisis does not spare anyone and will impact all countries whether developed, developing or least developed.

Thus, he said, it is important for the 195 territories participating in the negotiations to work in solidarity in establishing the loss and damage mechanism, increasing national mitigation actions and accelerating capacity development for adaptation.

The Philippine delegation, through its lead negotiator Climate Change Commissioner Vice-Chair Emmanuel de Guzman, ensures that the initiatives of the Philippines on behalf of the highly-vulnerable countries comprising the CVF, are strongly reflected in the Paris agreement.###

Link to video of Sec Paje



15 08 14 Endangered natural heritage WEB

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje has offered a P100,000 reward for the arrest of those responsible for the death of Philippine eagle “Pamana”.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Pamana. This is not the first time that a Philippine eagle was shot to death. Those responsible for this barbaric act must be arrested and punished for committing this environmental crime,” Paje said. 

He also said that while Pamana’s death was a setback to the country’s biodiversity conservation pro

gram, the government will continue to pursue its breeding program for the raptor through the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF).

Pamana, a three-year-old female Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), was found dead by biologists from the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) and forest guards at the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) in Davao Oriental last Sunday. A puncture and metal fragment on her right breast indicated she had died of a gunshot wound.

Paje has condemned the killing even as he called on law enforcement units in the province to assist regional environment officials in hunting down the perpetrators.

He said that the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Protected Area Management Board of MHRWS and the Philippine Eagle Foundation are now conducting a full investigation on the incident.

“We are distressed that, despite intensified awareness campaigns by various stakeholders, some people still have a blatant disregard for our natural heritage, which, sadly, is what Pamana’s name means,” he lamented.

The environment chief also urged local residents to help authorities track down the killers.

Paje said that the critically endangered Philippine Eagle is protected under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. As such, anyone found guilty of killing wildlife species can be imprisoned from six to 12 years, with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P1 million.

Moreover, illegal hunting within the MHWRS, which is a protected area, is also punishable by a jail term of six years and a fine of up to P500,000.

Pamana was released within the MHRWS just last June 12. Ironically, she was rehabilitated by the PEF after DENR personnel had rescued her from gunshot wounds three years ago.

In her necropsy report, PEF’s veterinarian Dr. Ana Lascano reported the bird was already in “advanced state of decomposition” when its carcass was found around one kilometer away from the release site in San Isidro, Davao Oriental. The estimated date of death was on August 10, when field workers observed that a transmitter attached to her back had stopped sending radio signals.

The Philippine eagle, hailed the “world’s noblest flier” by former aviator Charles Lindbergh, is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

There are an estimated 400 pairs remaining in the wild today. ###

cleanAirSummit front webThe Philippines is playing host to a regional meeting tackling best mining practices in East and Southeast Asian regions.

The week-long event, which began on June 22, is organized by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Geologists and mining engineers, representing mining regulatory agencies from nine member-countries of the Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP), are in Manila for the meeting.

CCOP is an intergovernmental organization whose mission is to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of applied geoscience programs in order to contribute to economic development and improvement of the quality of life in the two regions.

The ongoing meeting provides a forum to engage in meaningful dialogue on mining with focus on mine rehabilitation and decommissioning.

MGB Assistant Director Elmer Billedo said the Philippines stands to benefit from the meeting, which aims to facilitate greater knowledge sharing on best mining practices, given the country’s vast and rich mineral resource deposits.

Billedo said the meeting is also part of the country’s proposal and commitment to come up with a coffee table book highlighting success stories of developing previous mine affected areas.

He said the book, which will compile the best stories from the CCOP member-countries, will prove that “there is life after mining.”

Billedo, meanwhile, underscored the need to shift public perception to mining as a “constructive” activity, as most of the economic and material needs of a country are supplied by the mines.

“It is also high time for us to see that mining of areas is only temporary. After mining, it is entirely possible to convert the use of the land into something that is more sustainable for the community and for the environment,” Billedo said.

The MGB official explained that re-vegetation, if not feasible, was not the only option in rehabilitating mined areas, as practiced in other countries.

He cited the case of Malaysia, which successfully converted some previously mined areas into theme parks, recreational and residential areas.

Billedo said the coffee table book is targeted for production by October 2016, and may be distributed to local governments of CCOP member-countries, as funding allows.

The ongoing regional meeting allows participants to share experiences on other aspects of mine rehabilitation, such as installing facilities to prevent pollution, and passing or amending existing legislations.

Participants will also tour various mining areas in Palawan, including those administered by the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. and Coral Bay Nickel Corp. Both companies are implementing “progressive rehabilitation” of their respective mined areas.

They will also visit the mining site of the Palawan Quicksilver Mines Inc. (PQMI) in Puerto Princesa City, which used to yield mercury. The site has been abandoned by the PQMI and is currently being rehabilitated by the government.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is urging the public to continue supporting government efforts to reduce air pollution as it launched a new public information campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care and use of clean fuel.

At the 7th Annual Clean Air Forum held on Tuesday at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Quezon City, DENR Undersecretary and concurrent Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Director Jonas Leones announced the launching of Perwisyong Usok! Pigilancampaign, with the tagline, Konting Abala, Laking Ginhawa.

“Konting Abala refers to simple acts like proper vehicle maintenance and the use of clean fuel, while Laking Ginhawa refers to benefits like less harmful smoke being emitted by vehicles, which in turn, cause less health and financial burdens. We believe that summing up doing even little acts, goes a long way,” Leones said.

Leones said the campaign will escalate in the coming months with more newspaper advertisements, billboards and even celebrity endorsement.

“We seek the support of our various government organizations, civil society, private sector, academe and media, to own this campaign, implement it in our respective spheres, expand dissemination of the same, use the campaign symbols, to enjoin more sectors’ awareness about it,” he said.

He added: “We want to strengthen appreciation of our people of the need to achieve clean air, so commitment becomes strong, and enforcement becomes effective.”

A joint undertaking by the DENR and the Partnership for Clean Air Inc., the Clean Air Forum was established to review on a yearly basis the progress of Republic Act No. 8749, or the Philippine Clean Air Act. This year’s theme is “Towards Identifying the Economic Benefits of Clean Air: A Call to Action.”

Leones said the DENR has been zeroing in on motor vehicles, which contribute about 70 to 80 percent of air pollution in Metro Manila.

“The number of vehicles plying the streets of Metro Manila has truly increased, especially in this day and age where purchasing vehicles has been made easier and more affordable. But along with the convenience that it brings, we sometimes overlook the major inconvenience, which is air pollution,” Leones said.

According to the DENR official, it is imperative to know not only the health benefits but also the economic benefits of having clean air.

“Using cleaner fuel, for example, not only cleans the air. It is also very economic since it prolongs the life of your engine, reducing maintenance costs. Breathing cleaner air also reduces the risk of diseases like lung cancer,” Leones said.

“Some of us may think of these as short-term benefits, but in the long run, having cleaner air, is not just good for our health, but also for our pockets. The time and effort we invest in cleaning the air are definitely worth it.”

He said that strong public support is crucial in ensuring the success of anti-air pollution programs being implemented by various government agencies, with help from civil society organizations, the private sector, the academe, student leaders and other sectors.

Leones also shared the following initiatives undertaken by the DENR and its partners in combating air pollution:

· Installation of non-stop automated air quality monitoring stations in each of the 17 local government units in Metro Manila. Real time results are available online at the EMB’s website.

· Cancellation of the licenses of 28 erring private emission testing centers and suspension of 49 others. Show cause orders had also been issued against 165 emission testing centers.

· Expansion of roadside anti-smoke belching operations in major thoroughfares in Metro Manila, especially at night where air pollution rates are high.

· Strict monitoring of ongoing major construction projects for total suspended particulates or pollutants that have adverse effects like respiratory diseases, when inhaled.

· Issuance of a DENR administrative order that requires oil companies to ensure the availability of Euro 4 fuels by July 1, 2015, and compliance with Euro 4 emission standards by all new vehicles by 2016. Euro 4 fuels contain less sulfur content and emit less harmful substances in the air. #