DENR to conduct nationwide waterways dredging project, evaluates Laguna Lake

Marje Pelayo   •   November 17, 2020   •   569

MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu wants an immediate assessment of the major waterways like rivers across the country to determine which of them needs to undergo dredging.

Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the Department is planning a dredging operation in the Cagayan River which carries water from Nueva Ecija to Appari. 

The recent onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses caused the river to overflow its banks and submerge nearby areas like Cagayan and Isabela.

In his last briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte, Cimatu said the government will not shell out any amount for the project but it will gain from it instead.

“It will be really a request of the governor to allow a contractor to clean or to dredge the river and at the same time in exchange of that, he has allowed to sell this sand,” Cimatu said.

“But they have to pay as much as what the mining company is paying for – 4% excise tax as a revenue of the government,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) is studying the proposed plan to rehabilitate the lake.

According to the agency, the Laguna Lake is now about 2.5 meters deep as compared to 5 meters that the locals used to observe in the past.

According to LLDA Department Manager III Emeterio Hernandez, they have to remove at least 2 meters of sediments or silt from the lake, especially at the opening section and the western section to make space for water flowing from nearby waterways like Marikina River.

“Ang ibang common term dyan is parang batya na sinasahod niya lahat ng ulan na nanggagaling sa ating mga watershed,” Hernandez said.

[The common term for that is like a basin that catches the rain coming from the watershed.]

“So kung ang batya natin ay medyo mababaw na, so ineexpect natin na kaunting dagdag lang ng tubig mag ooverflow siya,” he added.

[So if the basin becomes shallow, with only a small amount the water will overflow.]

No government funding will be required for the dredging operation, Hernandez said.

Once approved, the project is expected to commence next year and will be completed hopefully within the next 3 to 5 years. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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.

Plantitos, plantitas unite: DENR offers free fruit, vegetable seedlings to those in need

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has opened a ‘Community Pan-tree’ that gives out free fruit and vegetable seedlings to those in need.

The DENR said it was inspired by the community pantries that are currently trending throughout the county.

This is why, in celebration of Earth Day 2021, the department will be giving away seedlings of fruit-bearing trees and vegetables.

It also encourages individuals and groups who share the passion for urban greening to also donate plants in support of the project.

In celebration of Earth Day 2021 and to help Metro Manilans cope with the stress caused by the pandemic through urban…

Posted by DENR National Capital Region on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Community Pan-Tree will open on Thursday, 22 April 2021, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the DENR-NCR Technical Services Office in North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

The DENR also reminds individuals to bring their own pots if available and adhere to health and safety protocols. 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)

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