The Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR has temporarily barred, at least for a month, the operation of mining companies in Puerto Princesa and Zambales.
According to DENR Sec. Gina Lopez, such companies will be subjected under an auditing process to check if they pass the existing technical, social and environmental standards of the agency.
Once proven that they have been operating despite failing the standards and receiving bribes from local officials, they will be punished.
Meanwhile, Sec. Lopez assured to give assistance to residents who have been affected by the unlawful mining process.
Included in the livelihood assistance are trainings on horticulture and animal husbandry that could be used once the place has been turned into eco-tourism site.
“I want you to know that DENR is not only for regulation. What I want to do is not just to suspend but to stop the mining operations because many people are suffering from it,” said Lopez.
Residents are hoping that the Duterte administration will be able to implement better policies such as responsible mining to stop the mining process that damages the health of the residents and the environment.
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered the planting of bamboo trees along the banks of Cagayan to help prevent a repeat of the floods that submerged parts of Cagayan and Isabela provinces during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.
The DENR said Cimatu issued that directive following a meeting with the Build Back Better Task Force created by President Rodrigo Duterte to oversee the rehabilitation of areas devastated by recent typhoons.
Cimatu co-chairs the task force with Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar.
Cimatu told the DENR regional offices in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and CALABARZON to ensure the availability of bamboo planting materials and to identify areas along the river channels that are most suitable for bamboo propagation under the government’s Enhanced National Greening Program.
The DENR chief said they picked bamboo as it is ideal for stabilizing riverbanks given its high survival rate.
“The survival rate of bamboo is much higher and it has a faster growth rate compared to other trees,” he said, adding that bamboos also have the potential to be “a sustainable source of livelihood for the people of Cagayan Valley while protecting the integrity of Cagayan River.”
In the same meeting, Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona said the DENR’s move to plant bamboo trees offers an opportunity to look into the economic importance of bamboo.
Lantayona said the DTI has been producing engineered bamboo, but its facilities cannot operate at full capacity because there is currently a lack of bamboo supply.
“Cimatu’s push to mainstream engineered bamboo as a major alternative to timber will finally enable the full implementation of Executive Order (EO) 879,” she said.
Under EO 879, at least 25 percent of the annual requirement of school desks and chairs of all public elementary and secondary schools nationwide should be made of bamboo.
It also directs the DENR – through its Forest Management Bureau, Mines and Geosciences Bureau and Laguna Lake Development Authority – to use bamboo as the planting material for at least 20 percent of its annual reforestation and rehabilitation areas.
“This should be done especially in provinces and towns which are engaged in or have the potential to engage in bamboo-based industries or where trees are difficult to grow because of poor site quality, susceptibility to erosion or adverse and steep gradients,” the DENR said.
“We will look into the old river and how the river became narrower through the years,” Cimatu said.
“We will restore the original width of the Marikina River,” he added.
At the same time, Cimatu said the DENR will look into the complaint of the Marikina City government over the alleged reclamation project along the river, which has not secured an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the environment department.
“Definitely, there should be no reclamation. I will really implement the easement law,” he said.
Cimatu said he has directed the DENR-National Capital Region office to look into the non-issuance of ECC, the reclamation, and the retaining wall built along the riverbanks.
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