DENR seizes P3.2-M worth of agarwood

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 23, 2020   •   754

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has seized 20 kilos or P3.2 million worth of agarwood in two separate operations.

DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) and the NBI-Environmental Crime Division conducted operations in Pasig City and Cainta, Rizal last June 8.

Four suspects, identified as Ramil Ong, Bernie Bagay, Rizal Mofar, and Arjhun Gaviola, were arrested for the illegal transportation of the said high-value tree species.

“This clearly sends out the message that the government’s campaign against environmental offenders remains unrelenting despite a pandemic that is wreaking havoc worldwide,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.

The four suspects were charged with violations of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources and Protection Act. They are detained at the NBI detention facility in Manila.

Agarwood is one of the most expensive raw materials used in perfumery, costing at least P160,000 per kilo in the Philippines.

It is extracted from host trees locally known as Lapnisan and Lanete, which are both included in the national list of threatened Philippine plants. —AAC

Manila Bay Project can be postponed but workers might lose jobs — DENR

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project can be postponed. However, workers in the said project might lose their jobs.

The recent dumping of dolomite in Manila Bay drew ire from netizens saying the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic should be the government’s priority.

DENR Spokesperson Jonas Leones said the budget can be allotted to the COVID-19 response through supervening events; however, Leones stressed that all the budget cannot be allotted to the pandemic response alone.

Pwede naman iyon kung talagang ganoon ang situation kaya lang hindi naman pupwedeng, sa akin personally, hindi naman pupwedeng lahat ng budget ay ilagay din natin doon (It can be done if that is the situation, but personally, we cannot put all the budget in the [COVID-19] response),” he said.

Leones reiterated the rehabilitation project has already been planned and there will be workers that will be affected if the project is suspended.

Kung ititigil natin lahat ito, wala na tayong accomplishment wala pa ring work ang mga tao rito(If we will suspend this, we won’t have accomplishments and the people here will lose their jobs),” he said.

The Department reiterates that the project should push through despite the criticisms from various groups.

The Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project is around 50%-60% complete, it added. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Manila Bay rehab project, target tapusin sa ikatlong bahagi ng taon — DENR

Robie de Guzman   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Muling naglalagay ng crushed dolomite sa dalampasigan ng Manila Bay ang Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) bilang bahagi ng isinasagawa nitong nourishment o rehabilitation project sa lugar.

Ayon sa DENR, bahagi ito ng P28 milyon sa P389 milyong kabuuang halaga ng proyekto na layong pagandahin at pangalagaan ang lugar upang maiwasan ang coastal flooding at erosion.

Ayon kay DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones, ang pondong ginamit sa proyektong ito ay bahagi pa rin ng 2019 national budget.

Ang kontrata nito ay naaprubahan bago pa man nagsimula ang coronavirus pandemic at nabinbin lang ang pagpapatupad dahil sa kinakaharap na krisis.

Sinabi ni Leones na target nilang matapos ang Manila Bay nourishment project sa ikatlong bahagi ng 2021.

Sinisilip ng mga kritiko ang timing ng proyekto lalo’t nahaharap pa sa pandemiya ang Pilipinas at marami ang nangangailangan ng ayuda.

Ngunit giit ng DENR, hindi maaaring basta na lamang suspindihin ang isang government project sa ilalim ng contractual obligation.

Ayon naman kay Attorney George Erwin Garcia, ang College of Law Dean ng Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, maaaring i-justify ng gobyerno ang pagpapahinto sa isang proyekto lalo na at nasa ilalim ng krisis sa kalusugan ang bansa.

“Because we are in a national emergency, pandemiya ito, madaling i-justify at pwedeng ma-justify yung pagpapatigil ng isang proyekto at para yan ay maging tinatawag na savings,” ang pahayag ni Garcia.

“Lahat ng kontrata, nakadepende sa mga pangyayari especially kung may tinatawag na supervening events na hindi naman na-predict ng mga partido sa kontrata,” dagdag pa niya.

Tumanggi namang magbigay ng pahayag ang Malakanyang kaugnay ng pagpapatuloy ng proyekto. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

IATF limits tourism activities in NCR Plus Bubble

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has set limited tourism activities in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus Bubble.

Based on the IATF resolution, transportation to and from Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, and Bulacan relating to tourism is prohibited. This is included in the non-essential activities set by the agency.

This gave several vacationers no choice but to cut short their trip and return home.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Spokesperson Goddes Hope Libiran, however, clarified individuals outside the NCR Plus Bubble who are returning home will be allowed to enter.

Ang pag-uwi sa kani-kanilang mga tirahan ay considered as essential travel. Kung kinakailangan, magpakita lamang ng proof of residence, ID o any document showing that you are indeed a resident ng area na iyong pupuntahan para wala pong problema (Returning to their homes is considered as essential travel. If needed, just present a proof of residence, ID, or any document that you are indeed a resident of that area you’re planning to go to so there won’t be any problem),” she said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said hotels and airline companies already agreed to ease their rebooking and refund policies for their customers.

DOT Usec. Benito Bengzon said tourism activities in MGCQ areas are still allowed.

Ang mga areas na under Modified GCQ eh pwede pa rin po ang (Areas under the Modified GCQ are still allowed to have) tourism activities for as long as the local executives agreed to reopen the destinations,” he said. – AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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