Press Releases

The Philippines, through the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) plays host to the 10th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Social Forestry Network or ASFN in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan from June 14-16, 2016.

“The Philippines was accorded the honor to host and chair this year’s ASFN meeting by Myanmar during the 9th ASFN meeting held last year in Inle Lake, Shah State, as part of the agreement among ASEAN member states that the hosting and chairmanship of the ASFN meeting shall be rotational and in an alphabetical order,” Forest Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon said.

Calderon said that ASFN is a government driven social forestry network in Southeast Asia with the main goal to strengthen ASEAN cooperation in Social Forestry through the sharing of information and knowledge.

He also said that ASFN links government forestry policy makers directly with network members from civil society, research organizations, academe, private sectors and experts of related fields.

“ASFN supports the development of the ASEAN Community,” Calderon stressed.

Expected to attend the 10th Annual ASFN Meeting are delegates from 10 ASEAN Member States including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam to be headed by their respective ASOF/ASFN Leaders and Focal Points.

Representative of the Implementing Partners of ASFN such as the Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC) Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Program (NTFP-EP), World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), and the Southeast Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) are joining the meeting.

The agenda of the meeting include discussions on ASEAN Cooperation in Forestry, Promoting Policy and Practice of Social Forestry including reports by ASEAN Member States and Implementing Partners and development of Strategic Plan of Action of ASFN to support ASEAN and Global objectives.

The establishment of ASFN was endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) during their 8th Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in August 2005. ###

Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has commended the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) for coming up with a reference manual on reforestation, saying it could be a useful tool for the highly acclaimed National Greening Program (NGP) and other reforestation projects of the government.

The three-part module titled “A Field Manual on Forest Reforestation Using Indigenous Species” provides a step by step guide to reforestation and forest management practice.

“Through the reforestation manual, we hope that more people in our partner agencies will learn new and innovative approaches on planting trees that will continue the NGP’s success,” Paje said.

NGP, which is mainly implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is the flagship reforestation program of the Aquino administration that seeks to cover 1.5 million hectares with trees by the end of 2016.

However, President Aquino issued in November last year Executive Order No. 193 creating the Expanded NGP that aims to reforest “all remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands” by 2028.

“The reforestation manual serves as the compass to lead the participants of NGP to efficiently achieve the necessary targets that will eventually culminate as another achievement for DENR and its partners,” Paje said.

EDC, the largest producer of geothermal energy in the country, has been a partner of the DENR since 2011 in the implementation of the company’s own reforestation program called BINHI.

BINHI, a main strategic partner of the NGP, involves rescuing and securing endangered plant species by planting mother trees and producing even more seeds.

Negros, Leyte, Albay, Sorsogon, Cotabato, and Nueva Ecija are just some of the host provinces of BINHI, which main objective is to plant 1,000 seedlings every year for 10 years.

Published by the Visayas State University, the manual’s three modules contain basic guidelines and strategies on how to conduct a successful reforestation activity in a certain area with different conditions.

According to EDC president Richard Tantoco, the manual was drawn from the experiences of their employees who have implemented the BINHI program, together with the best practices in reforestation from national and international perspectives. ###

Government regulators and their partners for clean air are holding their annual forum from June 14 to June 15 and will attempt to discuss ways to have effective airshed governing boards in responding to the air pollution problem.

Now on its 8th year, the Clean Air Forum was established to review on a yearly basis the progress of implementation of Republic Act No. 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act. This year’s theme is, “Effective Airshed Governing Board: A Response to Air Pollution.”

The event is a joint undertaking of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Partnership for Clean Air Inc. (PCA), a multi-sectoral coalition of clean air advocates whom the DENR has engaged since 2009 to advance the effective and meaningful implementation of the law.It will be held at the DENR Social Hall, DENR Compund, Visayas Ave., Diliman in Quezon City.

Expected to address the forum are DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, Department of Transportation and Communications Assistant Secretary Sherielysse Bonifacion, Executive Director Bjarne of the Clean Air Asia.

The highlight of the two-day forum is the implementation of the NCR Airshed Governing Board Action Plan, which will tackle five different issues/concerns such as: Transport Modernization, Local Government Unit Concerns and Organizational Matters, Private Emission Testing Centers / Smoke Belching, New Year Air Pollution, and Technologies for Clean Air.

The forum also aims to discuss at some detail, the Transport Modernization Program, particularly in the areas of Euro 4 Emission Standards, Euro 4 Specifications for Fuels, and Euro 4 Specifications for New Vehicles. Institutions such as the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR, the Department of Energy, and the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. are giving presentations of their respective inputs in this regard .###

Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has commended the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) for coming up with a reference manual on forest restoration, saying it could be a useful tool for the highly acclaimed National Greening Program (NGP) and other reforestation projects of the government.

The three-part module titled “A Field Manual on Forest Restoration Using Indigenous Species” provides the technical procedures in implementing forest restoration projects from site-species matching, production of planting materials, plantation establishment, maintenance and protection.

“Through the reforestation manual, we hope that more people in our partner agencies will learn new and innovative approaches on planting trees that will continue the NGP’s success,” Paje said.

NGP, which is mainly implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is the flagship reforestation program of the Aquino administration that seeks to cover 1.5 million hectares with trees by the end of 2016.

However, President Aquino issued in November last year Executive Order No. 193 creating the Expanded NGP that aims to reforest “all remaining unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands” by 2028.

“The manual is not only relevant but also timely in the light of President Aquino’s directive to extend the implementation of the National Greening Program beyond 2016 to cover all the remaining degraded areas of the country,” Paje added.

EDC, the largest producer of geothermal energy in the country, has been a partner of the DENR since 2011 in the implementation of the company’s own reforestation program called BINHI.

BINHI, a main strategic partner of the NGP, involves rescuing and securing endangered plant species by planting mother trees and producing even more seeds.

Negros, Leyte, Albay, Sorsogon, Cotabato, and Nueva Ecija are just some of the host provinces of BINHI, which main objective is to plant 1,000 hectares every year for 10 years.

The manual is a collaboration between EDC and the Visayas State University, the pioneer institution of forest restoration and rainforestation. The manual was reviewed by the Technical Working Group (TWG) committee of the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the DENR.

According to EDC president Richard Tantoco, the manual was drawn from the experiences of their employees who have implemented the BINHI program, together with the best practices in reforestation from national and international perspectives. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) expressed hope the Senate would soon ratify an international treaty regulating the use and trade of mercury, a highly toxic substance that poses threats to human health and the environment.

This developed as the DENR – through its Environmental Management Bureau – and its partners from the public and private sectors have released a Ratification Dossier on the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which the Philippines adopted in October 2013.

The dossier was completed through the assistance of the United Nations Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Swiss Confederation.

DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, who had signed the landmark Minamata Convention in behalf of the Philippine government during a conference held in Kumamoto, Japan more than two years ago, said that ratifying the treaty is an important step toward controlling mercury pollution in the country.

“The ratification will seal the country’s firm commitment to protect its people and the environment from toxic and even deadly effects of mercury,” Paje said.

The dossier will be used as reference for ratification by the Senate and for assessing the capability of the Philippines in adopting the treaty.

The 24-member Senate is the lone government body tasked to scrutinize and endorse foreign treaties. The vote of at least 16 senators or two-thirds of the Senate membership is required before a foreign agreement is deemed ratified.

The Minamata Convention will take effect 90 days after ratification by at least 50 countries.

The convention was named after the Japanese city where industrial emissions of the toxic substance caused a poisoning disease affecting thousands of people in the 1950s.

The treaty maps out measures to curb health and environmental damage caused by mercury, recognizing the substantial lessons of Minamata disease, sometimes referred to as Chisso-Minamata disease, a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning.

It aims to address eight major sources and uses of mercury, namely: supply sources and trade; mercury-added products; artisanal and small-scale gold mining; emissions and releases; interim storage of non-waste mercury; mercury wastes and contaminated sites; mercury cell chlor-alkali production; and mercury air transport and fate.

The use of mercury and mercury compounds in the Philippines is limited to uses like pharmaceuticals, dental amalgam, mining, electrical apparatus design and management, and, paint manufacturing, among others, as mandated by DENR Administrative Order No. 1997-38 (Chemical Control Order for Mercury and Mercury Compounds).

In 2008, the Department of Health issued an administrative order directing a gradual phase-out of mercury in healthcare facilities and institutions. A similar directive was issued by the Department of Education and the Department of Energy covering the education and energy sectors, respectively. ###