DENR eyes restoring original width of Marikina River to reduce flood risk

Marje Pelayo   •   November 24, 2020   •   1098

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Marikina River must be widened to reduce flood risk.

During a recent visit to Marikina City, Cimatu recommended the widening of Marikina River to increase its flood carrying capacity.

The recommendation comes after Marikina City and nearby areas were submerged in flood waters during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

The environment chief noticed that the river channel was narrow, prompting him to call for strict imposition of easement requirements pertaining to rivers.

Presidential Decree 1067, also known as the Philippine Water Code, requires riverbank easement of three meters in urban areas.

As part of the planned rehabilitation, Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will evaluate the changes in the width of Marikina River based on the data from the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NMRIA).

“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.

Pangolin found in Ayala Alabang to return home in Palawan

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 19, 2021

The pangolin that was found in Barangay Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa will soon be homeward bound to its natural habitat in Palawan.

Last Monday (August 16), a resident turned over a Philippine pangolin to the National Wildlife Rescue and Research Center (NWRRC) after finding it in their backyard. Rescuers immediately responded and took custody of the pangolin which was named ‘Pandi’.

According to the NWRRC, Pandi has minor cuts around his body but his health is in stable condition.

Bukod doon sa mga minor scratch niya wala pa namang alarming na sign na medyo kailangan naming bantayan ng sobra, (Aside from minor scratches [Pandi] does not have any alarming signs that would need our utmost attention),” according to NWRRC chief and in-house veterinarian Dr. Glenn Maguad.

Pandi is now scheduled to return to Palawan, however, no date has been set yet.

Pangolins are considered a critically endangered species and the most traffic wildlife. Pangolins are being traded primarily as ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine.

Maguad said pangolins are considered gardeners of the forest because they like to dig rotten trees for termites. They contribute to the ecosystem through soil conditioning. -AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

DENR calls on sea vessel owners to explain dumping of waste in Manila Bay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will summon the owners of sea vessels that dock at the Navotas Fish Port in Baseco, Manila through the Anti-Pollution Task Force.

The DENR, along with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), conducted an inspection at the Navotas Fish Port on Friday (June 4) to check for metal content, fecal coliform, and grease present in the water.

According to DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda, several sea vessels docked at the Fish Port are dumping waste in Manila Bay.

Antiporda said the department will summon the concerned individuals to explain the issue.

“We will talk to them immediately after this kasi ipasu-summon natin sila sa Anti-Pollution Task Force para magkaroon ng dialogue between sea vessels and the government,” he said.

According to the captain of one of the cargo vessels, Angelito Balitaan, there are instances that they would throw waste in Manila Bay because their vessel does not have a sewage system and they do not have enough funds for sewage repairs.

“Starting na natuto ako nang ganiyan iyan na kinagisnan ko, minana na din iyan wala pang implementation ng mga sewage sewage,” he said.

Meanwhile, the test results of the water samples will be released in a week.  AAC (with reports from JP Nuñez)

DENR warns traders illegally selling wildlife species online

Marje Pelayo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu warned illegal wildlife traders that they are being monitored by the agency’s wildlife enforcers even amid the quarantine.

“Mobility restrictions may cause some deterrence to our wildlife enforcers, but these shall not stop them from implementing environmental laws to protect our natural resources,” Secretary Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

The official made such a warning following the arrest of a certain Benjie Saunar for illegal possession and selling of two Umbrella cockatoos (Cacatua alba) in a buy-bust operation conducted by the DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) on April 28.

The operatives also recovered a Palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) from Saunar’s possession.

Prior to the operation, the suspect was monitored by the DENR- EPETF operatives to have been illegally selling wildlife species online.

He was apprehended in an entrapment operation conducted by the DENR EPETF with the Manila Police District Station 8 and the Manila District Anti-Cybercrime Team.

The suspect has undergone inquest proceedings at the Manila City Prosecutors Office and is charged for violating Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act of 2001.

As of May 3, the wildlife species, along with other paraphernalia, such as the motorcycle and cellphone used by Saunar, are under the custody of the DENR-NCR Office.

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