Features

Curiosity is what makes a person start doing something that interests him; inspiration to continue doing it but it is PASSION and DEDICATION that makes a person keep going despite the unfavorable circumstances that may come along with it. Between the Passion and Dedication, there is Choice which is fundamental to achieving success and ultimately self-fulfillment. These are what exactly Narisol Carbon-Divina possesses which helped her reach the apex of success.

Her enthusiasm in protecting the environment was developed at a very young age. Her family lives in a rural community in Pangasinan and owns a humble farm in the area where she and her siblings spent most of their growing years helping their parents manage their farmland. As a daughter of farmers, she was exposed to the practices and challenges of maintaining, conserving and improving their source of sustenance. No wonder that in her early years, she was able to acquire basic knowledge of economics, soils, hydrology, and plant taxonomy, among others. She was also taught the importance of the environment and the benefits it gives to people. Furthermore, she learned how to utilize the resources responsibly so that younger generations of the family may also enjoy those same resources.

Her interests in conservation, protection and management have not only confined to their farmland but also broadened so as to include forests. She briefly considered other career paths but her love for the environment prevailed. She wanted to become a steward of our forest resources and instill her knowledge of forestry into others through community immersion. With these, she decided to pursue BS Forestry at the University of the Philippines Los Banos in Laguna and earned a degree.

After passing the licensure exam, she found herself working at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as a forester in PENRO Sorsogon. From then, she knew, her life would be dedicated in protecting Mother Nature. Her work adventures in the deepest recesses of the mountains had never been a walk in the park. She and her team have always been dealing with different circumstances in the field. May it be interaction with wildlife, dealing with the community, or working in worst weather conditions. Despite those situations, she never dared to leave the Department. She loved her work, and loves it still. Her dedication is incommensurable, so strong that nothing could stop her from responding to the call of duty. While her job requires extreme laborious work, she still considers it as fun and rewarding for she is able to contribute to the environment’s wellness and gain insights and skills. Now 52 years old and 30 years in service, Narisol’s enthusiasm for the environment never faded. As a matter of fact, she is currently the Officer-in-Charge, CENR Officer of CENRO Guinobatan under the wing of PENRO Albay. Truly, her passion has led her to greater heights.

I enjoyed my early years in the department just like a fresh grad would enjoy her first job. It was until I found out that working in the DENR means waking up at a very ungodly hour just to capture illegal loggers and apprehend illegally-obtained timber products”, CENRO Divina said. “That’s when I realized that this job is beyond caring for the environment” she added. This is true because being in the technical field, an employee is either trekking the most difficult terrains, crossing the longest river or immersing oneself in far-flung areas. But CENRO Divina appears to have beaten all the difficulties of doing all of these. She still hikes and monitors NGP Sites and Protected Areas with all her energy. Apart from these, she never leaves the office up until the last document of the day has been acted upon.

One of her personnel said, “CENRO Nari is an effective and efficient leader. When it comes to decision-making, she allows us to express our opinions and considers our suggestions. Although she is our boss who does not even need our approval on some matters, she still bring them to the table for us to be informed and to actively take part in the decision-making process. In doing so, we feel that we are not mere staffs under her who have no right to speak our minds rather free and valued personnel. Thus, she earned our respect and admiration. As an efficient leader, she makes every minute counts. I remember when we conducted assessment trail in Mt. Masaraga, after we braved the rain and trekked the muddy mountain for 5 hours making us dead tired, she went back to the Office and stayed longer to take action on the documents. She did not leave until the last document has been acted upon. She does not want the documents to sit on her table for so long.”

CENRO Divina’s staffs also describe her as someone who always face office targets with discipline. She makes sure that at the end of every quarter, employees do not only accomplish the physical target but learn from them as well. She always has that good side reserved for the welfare of her personnel. Moreover, she is best known as that petite supervisor who has a strong personality, resilient in every possible way, may it be work-related or personal matters. These values do not just make her one of the best supervisors but it also builds a strong working force in the office leading to several commendable awards for the past years.

CENRO Guinobatan under her supervision has been consistent with high performance rating from 2017 to present when in it comes to patents and deeds works. Yet, Land Management Inspector Celenia O. Broncate, one of the officials of Patents and Deeds Unit of the Office, was recognized as the Most Outstanding Employee by the Regional Office for CY 2018. Not only that, CENR Office has been wielding great efforts in LAWIN Forest and Biodiversity Protection monitoring assessment embarking the top 5 ranking. The Office was awarded as one of the DENR Eco-friendly Offices by EMB-V, and Best Stakeholder for 2017 Division Brigada Eskwela by School Division Office of Ligao City. This 2019, the Office has also been compliant to the submission of Means of Verifications (MOVs) for the performance assessment of Regional Key Officials for the conferment of the “Environmental Awards for Governance and Leadership Excellence (EAGLE)”.

Being in the public service is a lot of things, and CENRO Divina’s story of curiosity turned passion added with long-term dedication has inspired many to pursue the things that excites them and at the same time, something for the greater good. After all, our purpose as human beings is to live the life as we chose it and contribute something of significance to the society as a whole.###

In the heydays of the yesteryears, every Filipino adored the beauty of this body of water. With its crystalline surface, tranquil environment and captivating scenery— that’s the Manila Bay our old foks had cherised for a long time. 

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In the faraway Barangay Kalabugao, in the town Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon lives a Philippine eagle with the barangay’s namesake that has been through the extremes of life and death, and now, has fully matured and had her own family.  Kalabugao, a female raptor, is the world’s first case of a rescued and rehabilitated young eagle surviving and successfully breeding after her release back to the wild.  

Feature Kalabugao revised web2

Officials and employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), including visitors nowhavethe chance to familiarize themselves with the agency’s priority legislative agenda through an exhibit set up at the DENR Central Office main lobby.

The week-long exhibit, which runs from June 10 to 14,coincides with the 32nd anniversary celebration of the DENR, as well as the 121st Philippine Independence Day.

It showcasesproposals that have been pending in the legislative mill for years but are up for re-filing in the upcoming 18th Congress.

These include: the Land Use Bill (House Bill or HB 5240); amendment in the Mining Law (HB 6259); E-waste Management Bill (HB 2964); and the Delineation of Forest Limits Bill (HB 143).

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The exhibit was put up by the DENR Legislative Liaison Office (DLLO), which is headed by Assistant Secretary Joan Lagunda as the agency’s appointed Legislative Liaison Officer.

Lagunda in her message assured the DENR of the DLLO’s steadfast commitment in advancing the interest of the environment.

“Under the present leadership, the environment-loving community can be assured that the LLO is striving to be heard by our revered lawmakers to craft legislations that will empower the Department more in performing its mandate,” she stated.

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The exhibit also features a video presentation on the background of the DLLO, as well as the officials who have managed the office. Among these officials are Undersecretaries Ernesto Adobo, Juan Miguel Cuna, and AnalizaRebuelta-Teh; Assistant Secretary Joselin Marcus Fragada; and Director NiloTamoria.

The DLLO is the office tasked to liaise with both houses of Congress regarding all matters impinging on relations between the DENR and the legislative branch.

It is also the official representative of the DENR in the Legislative Liaison System of the Office of the President, with Secretary AdelinoSitoy, head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, as the Chief Legislative Liaison Officer.

Parties interested in pending environmental legislative proposals may contact the DLLO via telephone number 920-1761, or through email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..###

 

The modern-day Battle for Manila Bay—now affixed with a hashtag—begun more than a decade ago. The order of the Supreme Court to 13 Mandamus agencies to rehabilitate Manila Bay in 2008 was the first official attempt to save the troubled waters.

The high court directed these agencies—with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at the front line—to revive the bay to the level that is fit for swimming and other forms of contact recreation. But with the threats that kept on draining its remaining life, what hope is left for today’s Manila Bay?

The waters of the Manila Bay Area span beyond the seascape of Roxas Boulevard. Its 190-kilometer coastline passes across the inland areas of the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON, mainly Cavite and Batangas.

 

 

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 Underwater life still seen vibrant in the Manila Bay Area (MBA) with these polyps of soft coral Xenia sp. —Photo by JIM Padin (2018)

Corals in sight

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Extended polyps of Turbinaria sp. along the reefs of Corregidor Island in Cavite —Photo by JIM Padin (2018)

The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), the research arm of the DENR, is currently gathering data to assess the vulnerability of the bay to climate change impacts. The project is being implemented by a team of science practitioners of various disciplines seeking significant, research-driven information on the factors influencing the present state of the bay and its vulnerability to different hazards. The project components include terrestrial, coastal, freshwater, air and water quality, social, and solid waste management.

As part of the coastal component, Jose Isidro Michael T. Padin, Supervising Science Research Specialist at the ERDB, and his team did an inventory of coral communities in the provinces of Bataan and Cavite.

“Of the MBA’s total reef area of 293.68 hectares, nearly 72% of the estimated reef area is found in Cavite. The reef sites in Maragondon and few on Corregidor and Caballo Islands had fair to good live coral cover, but these reefs are continually threatened by sedimentation, nutrient contamination, reduced water clarity, and high fishing pressure,” Padin said.

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Bubble coral Plerogyra sinuosa (Dana, 1846) in Maragondon, Cavite –Photo by JIM Padin (2018)

Runoff of sediments and nutrients, for instance, had been documented to cause coral mortality by smothering and burial, low coral recruitment, reduced coral diversity, change in community structure, macro-algal abundance, reduced calcification, and reduced live coral cover in many reef ecosystems around the world. Padin explained that “the remaining reef areas in the bay are located proximate to the mouth of Manila Bay (areas of Corregidor, Bataan, Ternate, and Maragondon), where water circulation is relatively strong. Strong water current can reduce stress on corals by limiting sediment deposition at the bottom and on coral colonies. It can also facilitate transport of fresh supply of plankton and improve water clarity by flushing of land-based materials out of the bay.”

Corals filter organisms in the water as they feed on planktons. Corals also need light to support the photosynthetic activity of symbiotic algae living in their tissues.

Science and policy convergence

Padin and his team learned that in “Corregidor and Caballo Island in Cavite—based on the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) coastal resource map—the reef area spans to 293.68 hectares. This does not include the reef in Mariveles, Bataan since the NAMRIA map has no record of corals there. However, when we checked two of the purported seagrass sites using SCUBA, we sighted corals instead.”

ERDB Director Sofio B. Quintana said the coverage of this research encompasses terrestrial and marine ecosystems. “In the ridge-to-reef research on the Manila Bay Area, we are seeking for a definite connection among risk factors. Right now, we are trying to explore more data on informal settler families, air and water quality, and habitat to make scientific studies relevant for future projects.”

According to Director Quintana, the Bureau is trying to come up with a unified framework for these projects. Consolidated properly, these could make an inference on the status of the Manila Bay Area.

Part of ERDB’s initiative is to influence policymaking bodies. “We want to provide reference in their decision process backed-up by research. If there are existing policies, maybe we could harmonize and align researches to these policies,” Quintana said.

Threats at bay

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This lettuce coral Pectinia sp. in Maragondon, Cavite makes an underwater architecture with its elongate valleys and thin walls. —Photo by JIM Padin (2018)

The Manila Bay Area works like a nature’s septic tank draining 17 major river systems in nearby cities and provinces. Wastes from households and industries from these estuaries pose the most apparent threat to the bay. The DENR data showed that only 15 percent, or an estimate of 2.4 million out of 16.3 million, of the water-served population of the National Capital Region are linked to a sewerage system.

Other than the unregulated sanitation and waste disposal, the Manila Bay Area is also vulnerable to the dangers of noise pollution, the presence of invasive species brought by international cargo ships, and illegal fishing activities.

“What we only see from above is the surface of another living world underneath us. People should understand that Manila Bay is home to other life forms despite its rapid deterioration. There remains hope in Manila Bay. It is not yet too late to revive the life out of its troubled waters,” said Quintana.

The Manila Bay has been a witness to Philippine’s historical narrative and to Filipinos’ rise and fall in our environmental battle within our waters. The Battle for Manila Bay is far from over—but hope is still in sight. —­Christele Jao Amoyan

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A pink anemonefish Amphiprion perideraion (Bleeker, 1855) finds refuge among the tentacles of sea anemone Heteractis sp. in Caballo Island, Cavite. —Photo by JIM Padin (2018)