Press Releases

9 1 2020 SEAS ON THE VERGE OF CRISIS

Underneath the pristine and wonderful oceans is an ecosystem that has started to degrade. In fact, scientists say that it is the part of the earth that suffers most and is the epicenter of global warming.

As much as we want to believe that the earth’s change in temperature is normal or is only caused by variation of earth’s orbit, but, scientists reveal otherwise. Scientific evidences present that climate change is largely the result of human’s exploitation of natural resources and that it needs to be promptly addressed.

In fact, they have warned that in 2050, the earth may experience extreme drought, food scarcity and other drastic effects of climate change.

But what exactly is climate change?

It is the long-term alteration of earth’s overall temperature caused by excessive burning of gas, oil and coal for energy which produces carbon dioxide (Co2) which then traps the heat in the atmosphere. The more heat trapped, the warmer the earth gets.

Why should we be bothered?

Simply because our safety and food sources are at risk. The oceans for instance, which now suffers acidification due to climate change. Unless we insist that we can survive without food, then let’s defy this crisis. Otherwise, it must be addressed.

What has been or must be done, then?

Aside from pushing behavioral change, the government agencies such as the DENR has been implementing course of actions to mitigate climate change and to continuously conserve our marine ecosystem.

Such as, the establishment of Marine Protected Areas across the country. These areas are highly regulated by law and is carefully conserved through management guidelines. This also includes keeping the coastal and marine ecosystem- from seagrasses to coral reefs to mangroves- intact and healthy.

Degrading coral reefs are also being restored through the Coral Rehabilitation Project which aims to increase the coral covers in the country. The DENR XI, through its Coastal Resource and Foreshore Management Section (CRFMS) was able to transplant thousands of coral fragments into hundreds of modular frames deployed in three (3) rehabilitation sites in Davao Region, particularly in its protected areas.

These and more are being done. The main takeaway is to realize that climate change is real.

While it’s sort of late to defy this crisis but actions must be taken. If not for us, at least for the young ones and the future generations.

#ClimateChange
#OceanWarming
#InternationalCoastalCleanupMonth

Repatriation 3A total of 91 wildlife animals were repatriated to Indonesia last July 27, 2020, an activity led by the Indonesian Consulate together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) and the Davao Crocodile Park and Zoo.

This is the first in the region and the Philippines to return rescued wildlife species in its country of origin. Under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), repatriation of confiscated CITES-listed animals to the country of export is considered an option for disposal by a confiscating authority.

It can be recalled that Task Force POGI (Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade) composed of representatives from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), DENR, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army (PA) apprehended a total of 450 different kinds of exotic animals on April 8, 2019 in Barangay Dahican, City of Mati, Davao Oriental.

These wildlife species, composed of birds, mammals and reptiles came from Indonesia and were mostly categorized as endangered under the CITES.

Task Force POGI was organized by DENR in 2013 to curb poaching and illegal trade of wildlife in the country.

Out of the 450 animals that were apprehended last year, only 225 were turned-over to the Davao Crocodile Park and Zoo as there are already a number of these animals that died due to stress caused by prolonged travel from Indonesia to Philippines. The Davao Crocodile Park and Zoo is a facility that caters various turned-over animals ranging from mammalian, avian and reptilian species and is also one of DENR-XI’s main partners in the conservation and perpetuation of wildlife animals.

As of December 2019, 125 animals were inventoried, 91 of which were found fit for repatriation. Among these animals are Greater Sulfur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Black-capped Lory, Northern Cassowary, White-striped Wallaby, Blue-tongued skink and Rainer Gunther Monitor.

On the other hand, 20 animals were found not fit for repatriation and there were 14 animals listed as mortalities. According to the Davao Crocodile Park Chief Operations Officer Ana Maria B. Borja, animals that were not fit to travel are either being monitored or has already succumbed due to possible disease or abnormalities.

“We are continually monitoring these animals for improvements and making sure that they will come back to recovery,” she said.

Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia Dicky Fabrian said that the animals will be placed in a wildlife sanctuary in Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre in Bitung, Indonesia where their health will be regularly checked.

“Then if the animals are deemed fit by our medical team, they will eventually be freed back in the wild which is their natural habitat,” he said.

Consul General Fabrian also said that they will undertake some strategies in order to prevent illegal trading of wildlife in Indonesia and its borders, one of which is to educate the people that illegal trading of wildlife animals threatens the sustainability of nature and it incurs strict penalties and consequences. They would also want to scale-up their enforcement strategies in their key trade ports through improving their cooperation with inter-state border patrol counterparts.

“Both countries must take an active role because even though we educate our people not to trade wildlife, traders can still bring these animals illegally through sea and air connectivity,” he said.

On the other hand, DENR Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Eastern Mindanao and DENR-XI Regional Executive Director Ruth M. Tawantawan, lauded the successful coordination between the DENR, the Indonesian Consulate and the Davao Crocodile Park that eventually resulted to the repatriation of wildlife animals.

“Rest assured that under Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s watch, the DENR will always be on guard in curtailing wildlife trading. We are also hoping that there will be no more wildlife trading to also keep us safe from the risk of the possible accidental transmissions of diseases from the wildlife,” she said.

115839803 2595800210681638 6680575480376172493 nA green sea turtle was recently rescued by DENR-XI’s Provincial and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENRO and CENRO) of Digos with the assistance of the members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) substation in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

Days after the rescue, the seemingly-weak pawikan was transferred to the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park in Davao City and was later found out to have ingested a plastic trash as it has been continuously excreting plastics for 3 days. With the guidance of Cleanergy Park’s in-house veterinary, vitamins were intravenously given to the pawikan to help restore its good condition.

DENR-XI’s Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Section Chief Marigelaine Arguillas said that they appreciated the great efforts of the PCG as they have gone beyond their call of duty to rescue the pawikan.

“Everyday, they would swim in the ocean to get seaweeds for the pawikan to eat. And when we transferred the pawikan from Digos to the Cleanergy Park in Davao City, the PCG also provided some of their shirts and towels so the pawikan will be comfortable during the transfer,” Arguillas added.

Among those who assisted the DENR-XI team during the rescue are those who are under the command of Commodore Roy A Echeverria PCG, Commander, Coast Guard District South Eastern Mindanao: Coast Guard Substation Commander PO3 Jovie M. Talaver PCG; Sn1 Ernesto R. Movilla, Jr, PCG; Sn1 Leo M. Toca, PCG; Sn2 Julius Ceazar M. del Cruz, PCG; Asn Jaimor D. Bation, PCG; ASN Josiem P. Densing, PCG and; MFLET-Sta. Cruz Mr. Benjamin O. Adtoon, Jr.

Green sea turtle species is one of the 5 sea turtles known to occur in the Philippines along with the Hawksbill turtle, Olive ridley turtle, Loggerhead turtle and Leatherback turtle. Under the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN, Green and Loggerhead turtles are categorized as endangered while Olive ridley and Leatherback turtles are categorized a vulnerable.

On the other hand, Hawksbill turtle is categorized as critically-endangered. Killing, collecting, trading, hunting and other related activities that pose threat to these species is punishable as it is a violation to RA 9147 of the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources.

6 30 DENR XI AWARDS ITS BEST PENR AND CENR OFFICES FOR 2019

To culminate this year’s Environment Month celebration, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) awarded its top Provincial and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENRO and CENRO) for accomplishing their 2019 goals and targets that contributed to the achievement of the Department’s mandate and programs in Region XI.

Through the efforts of the Praise and Awards Committee of DENR-XI, the awarding is part of the office’s continuing commitment to respond to one of the Human Resource mechanisms which is granting of rewards and recognition to deserving employees and offices.

During the virtual culmination program, DENR-XI headed by Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Eastern Mindanao and DENR-XI Regional Executive Director Ruth M. Tawantawan awarded the Best PENRO to PENRO Davao del Sur and the Best CENRO to CENRO Davao City.

RED Tawantawan urged the awardees to continue to give their best not only in accomplishing their targets but most of all, to practice efficiency in implementing the programs and projects of the DENR.

“There is nothing that DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu would want us to do but to continue to give our utmost best in giving service to the Filipino people by being innovative in preventing any man-made and natural environmental disasters, in maintaining a balanced ecology and in preventing all kinds of pollution,” she said.

RED Tawanatawan also reminded all the provincial offices to be enthusiastic in rendering government services by being efficient, pro-responsive, pro-active, and fast in rendering public service.

Before the awarding, Assistant Regional Executive Director for Technical Services Marcia G. Isip cited the criteria involved in the Best PENRO and CENRO awards.

In a message, best PENRO awardee Pablito M. Ofrecia of PENRO Davao del Sur gave his appreciation to all the employees under his jurisdiction for their commitment and dedication in pursuing public service.

"Just like any other awards and just like this pandemic, this too shall pass. But the dedication, commitment, and the memories of Davao del Sur will always remain," PENRO Ofrecia said.

On the other hand, CENRO Marvin D. Parilla dedicated the Best CENRO award to all the hardworking employees of CENRO Davao City, stating that receiving such recognition is his long-time dream.

"In my 42 years, there were so many attempts to be able to receive such recognition and finally, it is here. I did not stop dreaming and I just continue to give my best in rendering service to the people," he stressed.

The office also gave recognition to all the winners and participants of this year’s Online Environment Month Quiz Bee Contest. Assistant Regional Executive Director for Management Services Atty. Ma. Mercedes V. Dumagan stressed that despite the pandemic, DENR-XI continued its information and awareness campaign.

“The pandemic did not hinder our office to continue with our IEC campaigns for the benefit and encouragement of our employees to keep themselves updated with the status of our environment,” she said.

The winners and participants for the Environment Month Quiz Bee Contest are: Cyrian Anthony Durban of PENRO Davao de Oro (Champion); Cherrybeth Padilla of PENRO Davao del Sur (1st Runner-up); Melody Joy Dagta of the Regional Office (2nd Runner-up); Donnazel Bitoy of PENRO Davao Oriental; Geneveve Magpatoc of PENRO Davao del Norte; Marylove Dalumatan of PENRO Davao Occidental; Ryan Anthony Paran of Mines and Geosciences Bureau and; Mariz Stella Sillada of Environmental Management Bureau.

Certificates of Appreciation were also given to the frontliners of DENR-XI who have served the office and rendered essential services during the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Davao City. Among the awardees are: Ms. April B. Lepardo; Efren P. Flores; Ervin Ramirez, Rodrigo Sismar; Glenn Ford Quibod; Natanael Canillas; Jopet Bancure; Adrian Labrador; and Romar Monungohl.

Moreover, a Loyalty Award was given to Ms. Evelyn A. Origenes of CENRO Davao City for her 30 years of dedicated service to DENR-XI which contributed to the achievements of the Department’s goals and targets. Also, a “Thinking Mind Award” was given to Ms. Beverlyn M. Maguate for her initiative in conducting mind-stimulating online activities, especially to DENR employees, during the ECQ.

6 21 PITCHER PLANTS

It is no secret that Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. For within this vast pygmy forest are the countless rare and striking site-endemic species. Some has been described while it seems a lot more are yet to be discovered.

Did you know that Mt. Hamiguitan has the Philippines’ most number of pitcher plants? And that five of which are endemic to this site? A German scientist once enunciated that these can’t even be found anywhere else in the world yet.

One factor why this mountain houses endemic plant species is its ultramafic soil which contains high level of metallic elements and less organic matter. Unfortunately, ultramafic soil deprives plants the "essential" nutrients it needs. The silver lining- some plant species are clever and resilient enough to find its way to survive through evolutionary processes such as adaptation and speciation.

Pitcher plants are one of those survivor plants. They adapted to the harsh environment by developing a modified structure in its leaf designed to lure and catch insects and other animals to supplement its nutrition. Once their prey is confined, it will be slowly dissolved by the enzyme-filled liquid inside the pitcher traps. That makes them one nimble, carnivorous plant.

All of these evolutionary processes have resulted to the sprouting of the five unique pitcher plant species in this mountain.

The first species, 𝑁𝑒𝑝𝑒𝑛𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑠 𝑝𝑒𝑙𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑎, was described in 2008. After a few years of continuous exploration, four others were also described namely 𝑁. 𝑚𝑖𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑚𝑝ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑎 (2009), 𝑁. ℎ𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑔𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑠 (2010), 𝑁. 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑒 (2016) and the most recent, 𝑁. 𝑎𝑙𝑓𝑟𝑒𝑑𝑜𝑖 (2017).

Humans can learn from these species as well. Such as whenever we find ourselves in a harsh, difficult environment, be resilient. Be like pitcher plants.

Meanwhile, a day to go for the PA Talk!

Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary is among the six protected areas in the country which will be featured in the pilot episode of PA Talk, an hour of online conference organized by the DENR's Biodiversity Management Bureau and will be hosted by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda.