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DENR to employ control card system in Boracay Island

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2018

Aerial view of Boracay sunset | UNTV Drone

BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is working double time prior to the reopening of Boracay Island on October 26.

The agency along with the local government unit in Aklan and other stakeholders are now finalizing the regulations to be imposed 36 days before its soft opening.

Based on DENR’s study, the island can accommodate up to 60,000 people as its ideal carrying capacity is expected to produce nine tons of waste materials on the average.

In order to control the possible influx of residents on the island, the agency is planning to employ a control card system in the island

DENR would only allow up to 19,000 tourists a day who would be required to pass through service operators for monitoring.

Once we hit the critical mark then that’s a red flag for us already to say they have to be able to present their reservations for the hotels that are compliant so that we can advise the hotels that we are already over the limit,” said Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores.

The number of vehicles on the island will also be trimmed down and old tricycles will be replaced with e-trikes.  Hotels, meanwhile, will only be allowed with one service vehicle.

The agency will set up its own satellite office in the island that will ensure that the regulations are strictly followed.

Hotels are subject to performance monitoring and evaluations especially in terms of waste disposal management.

Floating piers will be set up during the soft opening to make it easier for tourists to reach their destination on the island.

A dry run of the soft opening will be held on October 15. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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Duterte to skip Boracay reopening

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, October 15th, 2018

The shores of Boracay after 6 months of rehabilitation. Photo taken on October 5, 2018.

MANILA, Philippines – Despite invitation from Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to attend the dry run of the reopening of Boracay Island, President Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he would skip the event.

The President said he will not go there so as not to give an impression that he is politicking the event.

Instead, President Duterte said he will only go to Boracay Island if the land titles are ready to be awarded to the Ati tribe and other beneficiaries of the government’s land reform program in the island,

“I will go to Boracay but I will go to distribute the lands given to the Atis. I’m not into sumptuous celebration, but I will go to Boracay to personally distribute land reform program certificates to natives,” the President said in an engagement in Manila on Sunday (October 14).

The President, meanwhile, expects that the local government units will continue the efforts that the national government has initiated for the recovery of Boracay Island.

The LGU has kicked off its week-long dry run ahead of the island’s soft opening next week.

President Duterte ordered a six-month closure of Boracay in April 26 for rehabilitation after it was tagged a “cesspool” because of the rise in pollution level due to lack of proper waste water treatment facility.

“I might go there someday but not just to… Ayaw ko ibandera. Maganda na kasi daw ang Boracay eh. And I saw the footages sa TV. And I hope that now that it’s clean, it has been eradicated of the bacteria,” the President said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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DENR to probe mining contracts for amendments made days before end of Pres. Aquino’s term

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered an investigation on more than 10 mining contracts over questionable amendments made during the Aquino administration.

This, after the group “Alyansang Tigil Mina” (ATM) revealed to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu that several contracts had been tweaked weeks before the formal turn over the Aquino administration.

Based on the ATM’s investigation, DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau still approved the extension, renewal, and expansion of coverage of more than 12 mining contracts in June 2016, weeks before President Rodrigo Duterte’s official takeover of the government.

“Tingin namin, more than ‘yung specific sa Naga, may mga large scale mining contracts at, in fact, FTAA—Financial Technical Assistance Agreements—panahon ng June. Eh ilang linggo na lang, magpapalit na ng administrasyon, bakit hindi na lang hinayaan ‘nung MGB na ‘yung susunod na administration ang mag-review at mag-approve ng ‘nung mga amendments na ‘yon sa mining contracts na iyan,” said ATM’s National Coordinator Jaybee Garganera.

The DENR also grew skeptical over the immediate approval of  amendments in the said contracts which appeared unusual.

According to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, they will review the contracts to find out if the amendments made will benefit the public.

“Dapat sana ay pinagkatiwala na natin sa susunod na administrasyon lalo na’t usapin ito tungkol sa minahan. Dapat naging malalim  ang pag-aaral and at the same time, nakita natin itong nangyari sa Naga Cebu. Well, base sa ATM, isa rin ito sa mga nabigyan ng pag-expand ng kanilang operation,” Antiporda said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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DENR opens opportunities for Benguet miners after bunkhouse tragedy

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

File photo of mining site


MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said there are around 500 miners from 10 small-scale mining companies in Benguet who are considered legal and have acquired special authority from the agency.

However, over 1,000 miners are considered illegal and the DENR is offering help to encourage them to refrain from illegal mining activities.

The agency has opened some livelihood projects in Itogon, Benguet to help the affected miners.

The programs include the national greening program, the ‘cash for work’ program and a campaign that will employ “Bantay Gubat” officers.

“Kaya it’s really a pity na mawalan ito ng hanap buhay. In order for them naman na ma prevent ang loss of lives naman in the future pwede na siguro if they can find another livelihood in this area sa kanilang mga probinsya na lang,” said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Still, the DENR said they can only do little as major part of the mining site is privately owned.

“The mining company… it’s their responsibility to guard their property because its patented mining claim and parang titulo na yan na they own the mines and surface,” said Regional Director Faye Hapil of the DENR Mines and Geoscience Bureau.

Because of the geohazard situation in Barangay Ucab, the DENR ordered the demolition of the bunkhouses in the area. However, the miners chose to stay until the tragedy.

The incident prompted the agency to immediately order a stop on all small-scale mining in the area.

“We will reiterate na we have been doing our job here in DENR we issued stoppage orders, the local government were properly informed of the hazardous situation in the said area but sad to say this thing occurred” said Usec. Benny Antiporda of the DENR Solid Waste Management Bureau. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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