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CA likely to bypass confirmation of DENR’s Gina Lopez

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Chair of the Commission on Appointments (CA) Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Senator Manny Pacquiao said the confirmation of Gina Lopez as DENR chief is likely to be bypassed.

Thus, Lopez will need reappointment by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Pacquiao said Lopez’ confirmation is now hanging in a balance, but still, they will give Lopez time to answer and clarify certain issues before the Commission in the next hearing.

Sen. Manny Paquiao said, “She has been bypassed. She needs reappointment then I’m sure and I’ve heard that the President will reappoint her again.”

He also noted that the confirmation hearing of Lopez will resume in May at the resumption of Senate’s session.

Meanwhile, CA has invited Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez as a resource person during the committee meeting on Tuesday.

Dominguez, who is also the co-chair of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC),  during the meeting said that Sec. Lopez did not properly follow due process in ordering the closure and suspension of mining firms.

The Finance Secretary further noted that DENR did not conduct enough consultation before issuing the decision.

“The DOLE, they said they were not consulted. I believe also DSWD also said they were not consulted. So, I think there was some kind a failure in the charge of due process,” said Dominguez.

Lopez previously argued against the MICC review.

Dominguez, however, defended the move citing that they just want to make sure that the law is being upheld because the questioning from mining companies on the due process further delays the implementation of the closure orders.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Mines is pleased that the confirmation of Lopez has been withheld.

Nevertheless, the group promised to support the Duterte administration and is ready to work towards progress of the mining industry in the country. — Aga Caacbay | UNTV News & Rescue

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Duterte wants Mining Law repealed

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte listens to the updates on the aftermath of Typhoon ‘Ompong’ during a situation briefing with the members of his cabinet and local government officials held at the Provincial Capitol in La Trinidad, Benguet on September 17, 2018. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he is determined to completely stop mining operations in the country within his term.

However, he admitted that to do it, the Congress must repeal the Mining Act first.

“We have to… If we cannot end mining because there’s a law, to end mining…Congress will have to abrogate the law. Me, I think that we would need a rest — a respite, period of inactivity diyan sa soil, and even the watershed,” the President said.

On Monday, September 18, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the stoppage of all operations of small-scale mining industry in the entire Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) after a massive landslide in Barangay Ucab, Itogon, Benguet killed more than 50 lives.

However, it is not clear as to when the directive will take effect.

The government is also not sure if it can even totally stop illegal mining activities in the country.

“The president has already insinuated yesterday. But of course, as I said, the delicate balance between the economics of mining and the police power of the state to protect the lives, and the environment of the state,” Roque said.

While small-scale mining is suspended in CAR, the local government and concerned agencies should now help in the rehabilitation of typhoon-affected areas. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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14 establishments in Puerto Galera ordered closed

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: White Beach in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines, looking towards the west end. (Credits: Eugene Alvin Villar via Wikipedia)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered 14 establishments in Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro to clear out its beaches in the next 30 days.

DENR noted that the establishments are located along the shorelines of Sabang and White Beach which violates the agency’s requirement of “three-meter easement zone.”

Also among the establishments’ violations is improper disposal of wastewater.

The 14 establishments ordered to vacate the area include:

  1. Ocean Dream Lodge
  2. Black Lodging House
  3. Sabang Inn
  4. Sabang Divers
  5. Mangosteen Restaurant
  6. Captn Gregg
  7. Eddies Place Bar and Restaurant
  8. Tinas Sunset Cottages
  9. Restaurant and Dive Center
  10. Montani Beach Resort
  11. I Dive at Casa Mia
  12. Marginor Dinner and Snack
  13. Modem Development Company Inc.
  14. Mermaid Resort Charletan

DENR is readying to conduct demolition should the owners refuse to adhere to the voluntary dismantle order.

Currently, Task Force Galera is reviewing the operations of around 500 establishments in Sabang and White Beach which are popular tourist destinations in Oriental Mindoro. — UNTV News & Rescue

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DENR to establish critical habitat in Boracay

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Shoreline of Boracay City

MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Environment and National Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau  (DENR–BMB) has identified more than 100 hectares of forest lands and 600 hectares of coastal marine areas in Barangay Yapak and Balabag, Malay, Aklan in the island of Boracay.

The agency wants to declare it a critical habitat area.

There are several species there that the DENR wants to protect and preserve.

The agency said that in 1988, there were 15,000 large and golden-crowned flying foxes on the island but today their number has gone down to 2,000.

There are also nesting grounds of marine turtles in the island as well as cave crabs, sea snakes, different kinds of bats and plants and live corals in the sea.

They also want to limit the activity and number of tourists in the identified critical habitat areas.

“May areas na pwede i-open for minimum activities halimbawa, pwedeng may scuba diving pero dapat ang may certification lang ang magda-dive. Hindi ka pwede mag practice ng diving,” said DENR-BMB Director Theresa Mundita Lim.

(There are areas that can be opened only for minimum activities, for instance they can conduct scuba diving but only for who are certified divers, practice diving will not be allowed.)

The DENR meet stakeholders to ask their full cooperation.

“The establishment of a critical habitat is the DENR’s concrete commitment to bringing back Boracay’s robust ecology,” said DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu.

“We fully support the program of the government,” said Peter Montalban of Boracay Property Holdings.

“This is really a welcoming activity for us,” said Patrice Vitan of Seven Seas.

The DENR will formally release the administrative order on the declaration of critical habitat next week.

This will be effective after the six-month closure of Boracay Island.

All establishments, residents, and tourists who will be found violating the rules in critical habitat areas will be penalized. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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