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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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DENR to Boracay settlers: Show legal proof of occupancy

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

Boracay, AKLAN — At past nine in the morning, personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) began to make rounds on the island of Boracay to issue show-cause orders to illegal occupants.

The DENR first visited famous resorts in Boracay, which it says, have no legal documents to operate in the tourist island destination.

Shortly afterwards, they made rounds in residential areas.

Occupants of the island, which is considered a protected area based on a survey conducted last year, could not show any land title or proof of ownership.

The DENR has given occupants 15 days to submit documents so they won’t be kicked out of the area.

“After receipt of the notice, they will submit documents to prove that they are legally occupying the area,” said Atty. Richard Fabila, focal person for Boracay.

A resident who received a show cause order from DENR argued they have been residing on the island for a long time now, and that they have complete documents.

“I was born here. We have complete documents. I won’t allow them. We will fight for our land. We follow whatever will be the order to us,” said Diana Sespene, a local resident.

Meanwhile, other residents are in favor of the DENR’s move.

“It’s time to address the problem and not let it worsen,” said Edmon Mondejar, a resident.

Meanwhile, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu is expected to visit the island next week.

The DENR has already issued show cause orders to 60 establishments in Boracay. — Leslie Longboen | UNTV News and Rescue


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DENR orders closure of non-compliant establishments in Boracay

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Top view of a part of Boracay Island (Image courtesy of Ted Willis)

MANILA, Philippines — Forty percent or around 300 establishments in Boracay were found to have been causing water pollution as they fail to comply with the country’s sewerage regulations, according to Department Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu.

With this, the DENR chief announced on Tuesday the closure of non-compliant establishments in the famous tourist destination.

“Mayroon kaming listahan ng mga non-compliant eh na hindi sila nakakonekta, ‘yung kanilang tubig ay bumubuhos na lang doon, ay ito na ngayon ang uunahin ko,” said Cimatu.

(We have a list of non-compliant establishments that are not connected [to the sewage treatment plant]. Their water directly flows into the sea. I will start with them.)

President Rodrigo Duterte initially blamed the local officials of Boracay for allowing some commercial establishments to operate in the island, but not monitoring if they follow sewerage regulations.

Meanwhile, Cimatu accepted the president’s challenge to complete the clean-up and rehabilitation of Boracay within six months.

“Finished or unfinished, pass your paper… ang ibig sabihin ay (it means), I have to do my best to complete it in six months,” said the DENR chief.

Cimatu made the announcement during the launching of the Green Film Festival this year where he detailed the major challenges being faced by the agency, including air pollution, as well as the clean-up of the polluted Manila Bay and proper enforcement of solid waste management. — Leslie Longboen | UNTV News and Rescue


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Former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes surrenders

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, January 29th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Following Sandiganbayan’s cancellation of his bail and eventual order for his rearrest, former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes surrendered to the anti-graft court, Monday afternoon.

Reyes is facing charges for violating the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act due to his renewal of the permit of a small scale mining company in 2006.

The Sandiganbayan also reaffirmed its guilty verdict decision against Reyes on August 29, 2017, for the said case, under which, Reyes will face imprisonment of up to six to eight years.

The former governor filed an appeal on September 6, which resulted in his temporary release from detention.

However, the anti-graft court withdrew its previous ruling, noting the accused might flee the country.

Before his surrender, his lawyer Atty. Demy Custodio stated that they respect the decision of Sandiganbayan.

He is also facing charges for his alleged involvement in the killing of broadcaster Gerry Ortega in 2011.

In 2012, Reyes went to Thailand where he was arrested in September 2017 and deported to the Philippines.

“Tatlong linggo lang po ang nakakaraan nang ako’y makalaya sa dismisal ng Court of Appeals. Nakasama ko po yung aking pamilya ngayon po ay maghihiwalay kaming muli at haharapin po natin ito kasama yung aming mga abogado,” said Reyes.

(Only three weeks have passed since I was released through the dismissal of the Court of Appeals. I have been reunited with my family but will now part again as we face this case with our lawyers.) —  Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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