Press Releases

Even with the on-going pandemic this year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Region XI headed by its Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco, still made an all-out implementation of DENR’s mandate by undertaking various programs and projects within and outside the region. With the aim to strategize solutions in addressing environmental issues, various activities were conducted this year which are part of the accomplishments of Region XI.

 

CREATION OF A JOINT INTER-REGIONAL TASK FORCE OF MINDANAO REGIONS

The creation of a Joint Inter-Regional Task Force aims to intensify the enforcement of environmental laws and keep the guards up against timber poaching activities in the borders of Regions 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.

This year, RED Evasco went to these said regions in order to confer with the Regional Executive Directors of Mindanao Regions in order to attain an agreeable confluence on ways to further strengthen inter-regional partnership and alliance particularly on combatting illegal logging activities across Mindanao.

These productive meetings enabled the directors to elaborate environmental conservation and protection of natural resources including forest products through the signing of Inter-Regional resolution on the issue of illegal logging activities in the tri-boundaries of the said regions.

 

MT. APO YEARLY 3-MONTH OFF-SEASON

By virtue of PAMB-EnBanc Resolution No. 06, Series of 2021, the Protected Area Management Board of Mt. Apo Natural Park through its Chairman DENR-XI Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel A. Evasco, started to implement its yearly 3-month off-season this year.

The 3-month off-season was recommended by RED Evasco after he conducted a monitoring assessment in Mt. Apo together with DENR-XI Team. They had multiple observations of the mountain’s status that need to be addressed immediately.

In Region XI, the off-season started last July, August and September this year. On year 2022, this will be implemented on the months of June, July and August to give way for the rehabilitation of MANP, improvement of its public services, to push for biodiversity conservation and preservation and to strengthen law enforcement mechanisms.

Moreover, the off season also aims to give flora and fauna species in Mt. Apo an undisturbed space and time especially during the months of July to September, as it is the breeding and mating period of some of these species.

 

STRENGTHENED PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN DENR-XI AND CENTRAL MINDANAO UNIVERSITY FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION

Headed by RED Evasco, DENR Region XI signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Central Mindanao University (CMU) which is a government institution and is one of the top universities in the country located in Bukidnon.

With the aim to continuously conduct scientific researches, biodiversity monitoring and other conservation activities not only in Mt. Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental but to whole of Davao Region, this Agreement was signed to unveil the richness of flora and fauna of Region XI and to be able to discover new species that are mostly site-endemic.

As stipulated in the MOA, DENR-XI will facilitate the provisions of technical assistance.

Last June, just in time to celebrate World Environment Day, Mt. Hamiguitan has unearthed yet another flora species that is the first genus ever recorded in the Philippines and the 5th species in the world.

Amylotheca cleofei is a newly-described flowering plant which was first documented in 2019 at Mt. Hamiguitan by the researchers from the National Museum of the Philippines and the Central Mindanao University. This newly-described mistletoe was named after Clint Michael B. Cleofe of DENR-XI who joined and assisted the researchers during their expedition in Mt. Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

CORAL REEF MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT OF COASTAL ECOSYSTEM AND MARINE LIFE

A diver himself, RED Evasco along with the team of rehabilitators from the Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section (CRFMS), conducted a coral reef monitoring and assessment activity in Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental.

The dive in Pujada Bay formed part of the team’s installation of new monitoring site for coral and fish assessment of which several positive findings has been recorded during the underwater voyage. Aside from affirmative findings, the team also observed threats including the indiscriminate anchoring of boats which cause damages to the corals.

Along with the LGU officials of Davao Oriental, RED Evasco also headed to Kailukan Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Brgy. Lucatan, Municipality of Tarragona. The director dove the waters himself to check on the current status of the live coral cover thereat as well the fish species habituating in it.

On the other hand, RED Evasco together with DENR-XI Team conducted a Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA) of Balut Island in Davao Occidental which is qualified to become a Protected Landscape and Seascape. This activity was closely coordinated with the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Balut Island.

 

RESOLVING TRI-BOUNDARY CONFLICTS IN DAVAO REGION

RED Evasco has taken initial steps to resolve the tri-boundary conflicts or land disputes in Davao Region through a proposed harmonization process between the National Government Agencies and the Local Government Units.

In separate presentations to the LGUs of Davao City, Lands Management Bureau and Lands Journal Screening Committee, RED Evasco stated the core problems, policy analysis and his proposed policy recommendations.

During his meeting with Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte, both officials discussed various problems and issues like boundary conflicts and selling of lands in areas classified as timberlands and within ancestral domains.

The two goal-driven leaders who aim for strong partnership also gone harmonizing the laws between the Local Government Code of 1991 or RA 7160, DENR’s PD 705 of 1975 or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 or RA 8371.

 

MT. CANDALAGA: AN EYED PROTECTED AREA

As DENR-XI aims to add Mt. Candalaga in Maragusan, Davao de Oro to the list of Protected Areas in Davao Region, a reconnaissance climb, headed by RED Evasco, was conducted last April of this year.

Following the major climb, the team has consolidated its assessment and significant observations on the mountain’s biodiversity, trails and campsites and porters and guides.

To attain its goals, DENR-XI will work on having Mt. Candalaga a target of Protected Area Suitability Assessment which is an initial step for its inclusion in the National Integrated Protected Areas System or NIPAS.

 

DREDGING OF NABOC RIVER

After a year of activity hiatus due to pandemic, the dredging of Naboc River has finally commenced last March 12, 2021 in Brgy. Naboc, Monkayo, Davao de Oro. The ceremony was especially graced by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu along with other top officials from DENR Central and Regional offices, members of the local government units of the province headed by Davao de Oro Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy, members of the province’s indigenous cultural communities as well as the dredgers or holders of the Industrial Sand and Gravel permits.

Prior to the commencement of the dredging, the DENR has conducted series of conferment and preliminary activities. These include issuance of Cease and Desist Order against the carbon and pulp and ball mill operators and have them transferred from Mt. Diwata to Mabatas Mineral Zone in Brgy. Upper Ulip, Monkayo.

There were also river cleanup activities, signing of agreement between the LGU and the DENR for the rehabilitation, desilting and quarrying of the river, site identification for the installation of mercury-recovery facilities, constant water sampling, conduct of sample dredging as well as an all-out stoppage of mineral processing operations for those who still did not transfer to the allotted processing zone.

The Secretary also challenged the river rehabilitators to make the operation a success. He emphasized that there is no other option but to succeed and that the project is one that “we cannot afford to fail.”

Dredging forms part of the full-scale rehabilitation of the Naboc River which is an all-out effort to restore its clean, pristine and toxic-free condition.

12 13 BandiolaTopping over several nominees from the entire region, PENR Officer for Davao Del Sur Alberto N. Bandiola recently bagged the coveted Outstanding Regional Forester of the Year Award in the Society of Filipino Foresters, Inc. (SFFI) conference that was virtually held last December 2-3, 2021.

PENRO Bandiola has had decades of public service employment which included a stint as Forester for the DENR in his early years followed by several high-ranking posts under his belt. Once an Officer-in-charge, he then earned a post as a full-fledged CENR Officer, subsequently to a PENR Officer of Davao Oriental and currently, the newly installed PENRO of Davao Del Sur.

He is also a Part-Time Professor for the University of Mindanao, the University of Southeastern Philippines and the Davao Del Norte State College.

PENRO Bandiola is likewise a paragon of academic distinction being a licensed Forester from the Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon, where he was in the Top Five Passers of Forestry Board Exam. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Mindanao and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration from the same University to boot.

PENRO Toto as he is fondly called by his colleagues claimed that he is both humbled and challenged by the prestigious award. He perceives the recognition, alongside his DENR post, as a room to optimize forestry to help ensure that our environment meets the needs of the present and future generation.

Congratulations, PENRO Toto! Your DENR XI family is proud of you.

12 10 AboitizIn support to the government’s initiatives for the preservation and protection of the environment, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) received communication equipment worth almost Php 500, 000 from Aboitiz Group on December 7, 2021.

The said donation was materialized by virtue of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between the DENR XI and Aboitiz Group last August 3 2021. A number of equipment was handed over which include handheld radio, short-range radio, Trauma Go kit; hard hat and uniform, among others.

The tools will help the DENR-XI’s Forest patrollers to effectively monitor and protect the slopes and mountain paths surrounding the protected areas of Davao Region particularly the Mt. Apo Natural Park in Davao del Sur and Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental, as well as to protect said rangers from hazards that come with their daily task.

The donations were accepted by DENR-XI Regional Executive Director, Bagani Fidel A. Evasco and Assistant Regional Executive Director for Management Services, Atty. Ma. Mercedes V. Dumagan from Davao Light and Power Co., Incorporated's Assistant Vice President for Engineering, Enriczar T. Tia; and Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. Operations Head, Shake Aboitiz Tuason.

Also gracing the said turn-over were DENR XI OIC- Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) for Davao Oriental, Pablito M. Ofrecia; Mt. Hamiguitan OIC- Protected Area Superintendent, Mauricio Limbaga; Mt. Apo OIC- Protected Area Superintendent, For. Joel Pardillo alongside Aboitiz Equity Ventures Adviser for Mindanao, Arturo Milan; and Aboitiz Power Corporation Vice President for External Relations, Jason Magnaye.

This pertains to the petition that is propagating online for the cancellation of the Private Land Timber Permit (PLTP) and to stop the cutting of naturally-grown tree species as such are nesting trees of the Philippine Eagle and the cutting site is within the Makabol-Alikoson Watershed, which is considered as part of the Conservation Area as per Davao City Watershed Code.

Pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 705, as amended, DENR Administrative Order No. 2020-21 “Revised Guidelines in the Issuance of Private Land Timber Permit/ Special Land Timber Permit (PLTP/SLTP) and DENR Administrative Order 2021-11 on the “Guidelines in the Processing and Issuance of Permits for the Cutting, Removal and Relocation of Naturally Growing Trees” , DENR XI issued a Private Land Timber Permit (PTLP No. RXI-001-2021) dated August 18, 2021 to Ms. Ling-Ling Wu Lee.

That the private property covers 12.2 hectare in Sitio Falcata, Macabol, Brgy. Salaysay, Marilog District, titled under (TCT) No. 146-2016018903 issued on October 20, 2016 and emanated from Homestead Patent issued on January 15, 1975. Homestead patent can be issued on agricultural lands based on Commonwealth Act No 141, otherwise known as the “Public Land Act': enacted in 1936.

That the permit covers selected 121 trees namely Agoho (22), Bagtikan (4), Lauan (15), Tanguile (44) and Ulian (36) with diameter ranges from 40 cm. to 85 cm and an estimated harvestable volume of 131.06 cu.m. Trees to be cut are those to be affected by intended land development.

However, several issues have been tossed against the DENR Davao Region for the aforementioned action. Below are salient facts pertinent to such concerns, to wit:

1. PLTP issuance was based on the report and recommendation by Provincial and Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO and CENRO) anchored on ground validation, assessment, timber inventory and thorough review on the application requirements. To emphasize the same was supported with clearances from concerned Barangay and Tribal Councils and Environmental Compliance Certificate issued by EMB XI.

2. That the grant of permit to cut naturally grown trees is subject to conditions that the Permitee has to strictly comply with the tree replacement ratio of 1:100. Hence, the Permittee is responsible to plant 12, 100 seedlings and a payment of forest charges for every cubic meter of timber harvested/utilized in pursuant to RA 7161.

3. That the DENR XI PLTP issuance is based on the land classification as A & D and ownership as titled property.

4. At the time of PLTP approval, DENR-XI was not aware of any telemetric data appertains to the nesting trees claimed by PEF inside the contested property. In fact, DENR-XI through its Conservation and Development Division (CDD) has been monitoring eight (8) confirmed Philippine Eagle nest sites in the region including Brgy. Salaysay, Marilog District, Davao City, PARTICULARLY between So. Indaohong and So. Taupan.

5. The DENR XI is not privy to the metes and bounds of the declared Conservation Area and Environmentally Critical Area (ECA) in Barangay Salaysay based on Davao City Watershed Code.

As a follow up action for this issue, DENR-XI will endeavor to coordinate with the City Government of Davao in order to validate and clarify if A and D areas and titled properties of So. Falcata, Barangay Salaysay are covered on the declared conservation area. On the other hand, the office will also monitor and validate the area with regards to it being a nesting and roosting site of the Philippine Eagle.

DENR XI office remains committed to render public service with utmost quality and integrity and shall always consider the welfare of the general public to be balanced with our wildlife conservation measures especially the Philippine Eagles and the forest ecosystem functions as a whole. The office is also committed to implement its mandate and priority programs guided by laws, rules and regulations.

Finally, Ms. Ling-Ling Wu Lee has voluntarily stopped the cutting of trees in the area ever since Purok Leader Oliver Ancapoy posted through the social media about this issue last October 2021 and DENR XI will issue suspension order to the issued PLTP to this effect.

Daghang salamat.

BAGANI FIDEL A. EVASCO
Regional Executive Director
Department of Environment and Natural Resources-XI

12 9 MHWSProtected Area Management Board (PAMB) of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) which is chaired by DENR XI Regional Executive Director Bagani Fidel Evasco and its members convened in December 3, 2021 for its Regular En-Banc Meeting to discuss several updates on MHRWS’ operations and accomplishments through its Protected Area Management Office (PAMO).

As Academe is one of the members of the PAMB, the board also discussed the approval of three (3) research studies in MHRWS namely, “Species Richness of Vascular Plants along the Elevational Gradient of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary” by Mr. Marc Arcebal Naïve of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; “ Descriptive Study of Five (5) Sacred Healing Places in Mindanao” by Dr. Jaime Z. Galvez Tan, MD, MPH of Health Futures Foundation, Inc. and “Carbon Stocks Estimation of Mossy Pygmy Forest of a World Heritage Site at Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sancturay” by Mr. Leo E. Ong of the University of the Philippines – Los Banos.

MHRWS-PAMO highly welcomes and supports such research studies as it aim to gather relevant data on the mountain’s biodiversity, ecosystems, physical conditions and socio-cultural features which are necessary to determine its suitability as a local conservation area, critical habitat or NIPAS protected area. Such studies may also lead to the discovery of species which are potentially new to science.

Meanwhile, a certificate of recognition was awarded to a group of people who are duly recognized by DENR XI and PAMB as one of the Tenured Migrants or the qualified occupants who are actually and continuously occupying portion of MHRWS, based DENR’s Administrative Order No. 2008-26 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of NIPAS Act of 1992.

MHRWS is located in Davao Oriental and is one of the protected areas in Davao Region. It’s declared as both an ASEAN HERITAGE PARK and UNESCO World Heritage Site.