(Photo from WWF-Philippines)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) spent the first 100 days under the new administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. pursuing sustainable management and development of the environment while creating “green” jobs and ensuring investments and revenue for the government.

In an accomplishment report dated Sept. 29, the DENR said it has been pursuing a “blue” and “green” economy, refering respectively on the fisheries and marine sectors, and agricutlure and forestry sectors, into which strategies to address climate mitigation and adaptation are incorporated.

The DENR said it has prepared four resiliency roadmaps and Investment Portfolios for Risk Resilience (IPRRs) for the climate-vulnerable provinces of Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Siquijor, as well as climate-vulnerable city of Metro Iloilo.

By December 2022, 12 more resilience roadmaps are expected to be completed for nine climate vulnerable provinces and three major urban areas.

For the “green”economy,” the DENR said from July to August 31, it developed 646 hectares of forestland and produced 702,470 seedlings benefitting 3,605 CBFM-People’s Organization (PO) members nationwide, and provided Enterprise Livelihood equipment to POs in Regions 5, 6, 9, 10, and Cordillera.

A total of 944 Forest Extension Officers and 154 Technical Staff have also been hired under the Enhanced National Greening Program, while a total of 1,937 jobs were generated and 1,548 persons were employed in nursery establishment, seedling production, plantation establishment, maintenance and protection, the DENR said.

The agency also strengthened the government’s Anti-Illegal Logging and Forest Protection Program by renewing a total of 3,215 forest patroller contracts to implement the Lawin Forest Protection and Biodiversity System.

Also, 163 lawyers/legal researchers/legal assistant contracts were renewed to speed up the resolution of forestry-related cases, it added.

For the “blue economy,” the the DENR said from July 1 to Sept. 15, 2022, it monitored 50 priority water bodies with 44 of them passing the water quality standards for Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and 42 waterbodies passing the water quality standards for Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD).

Still part of its Clean Water Program, pursuant to Republic Act 9275 or The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, the agency also monitored 268 esteros/water bodies, of which 156 exhibited significant improvements in BOD, while 160 other water bodies showed water quality improvements in DO.

A total of 2,365 estero/river rangers were also hired to monitor, protect, clean up, and rehabilitate the bodies of water draining to the Manila Bay, the DENR said in its report.

As to Boracay Island in Malaybalay, Aklan, the DENR hired a total of 40 Boracay Environmental Lawin patrollers and 22 support staff for the Boracay Action Plan.

Some 19 Lawin patrollers/beach watch patrollers in Panglao and and 19 personnel in Siargao were also hired to protect beaches designated as Green Economy Model sites, the installation of signage for no build zone, and other activities.

The DENR has also issued one Community-based Forest Management Agreement (CBFMA) to the Kawasan-Inuralan Farmers Association, Inc. covering a total area of 49.36 hectares in Region 10; and two Provisionary CBFMAs to the Singclot National Greening Program Consumers Cooperative covering 136.57 hectares and the San Isidro Upland Farmers Consumers Cooperative covering 356.66 hectares in Region 9.

Responsible mining

In the mining sector, the DENR said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau has issued 797 mining permits/contracts from July to Sept. 15, 2022.

Currently, 79 mining projects are being planned to start near-term and/or medium-term mining operations that will bring in total investments of PHP430 billion, revenues of PHP93.14 billion, and jobs to 16,275 individuals, the agency said.

“All priority mining projects are expected to earmark a total of PHP6.904 billion in Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programs expenditures,” the DENR added.

The DENR also monitored the handling of infectious wastes in 42 treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.

Of these, four facilities were found non-compliant, hence, issued with Notice of Violations. (PNA)

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