Press Releases

Environment Secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez has welcomed a move by President Duterte to go after local government executives who are remiss in their duties to address garbage woes in their respective localities.

“It is high time that local government officials should be made accountable, especially now that we are anticipating La Niña that would be bringing in excessive rainwater and could put a lot of low-lying areas under water for days,” Lopez said.

Duterte earlier expressed dismay over the inability of mayors and governors to manage garbage in their areas, as he vowed to create a special body that will look into the intelligence and discretionary funds of local officials.

The President pointed out that governors and mayors could effectively manage their garbage well using their respective intelligence and discretionary funds.

Lopez, meanwhile, said she would look into the compliance or non-compliance of local government units (LGUs) with Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Crafted in response to the looming garbage problems in the country, RA 9003 declares the policy of the state in adopting a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that ensures the protection of public health and the environment.

The law mandates LGUs to ensure proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of best environmental practices.

“I understand that cases have been filed against 50 LGUs with the Office of the Environmental Ombudsman. If there’s a need to add more, we will do so in order not to cause more suffering to our people due to dirty environment,” Lopez said.

While a number of LGUs have already banned the use of plastics in their respective areas, Lopez said that there is a need to follow up on the implementation of the ban to get results.

“It is not enough that you have issued the ban, we should make sure that the ban is implemented to the letter in order to get the results that we have envisioned,” Lopez pointed out.

The environment chief also underscored the need to raise public awareness of RA 9003 and the ordinances related to garbage, saying “it is only when you get people to act on community problem that we will be able to address this national concern with success.”

Last February, Commissioner Romeo Hidalgo of the Ecowaste Coalition filed 50 complaints against local executives who failed to implement the 16-year-old solid waste management law. ###

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has vowed to build stronger working ties with all stakeholders to ensure the effective implementation of environmental programs of the Duterte administration.

In her presentation during the general membership meeting of the Financial Executive Institute of the Philippines or FINEX at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City on Wednesday (July 20), Lopez emphasized the importance of working together with other government agencies, the private sector and the civil society in implementing the programs of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

To increase the impact of environmental programs at less cost, Lopez said she will work towards institutionalizing the participation of the civil society in environment and natural resource management by setting up a civil society organization (CSO) arm within the DENR.

"Civil society should be the one to protect the environment. We can accomplish this together," Lopez said.

Lopez said her primary focus is to improve the quality of life for poor people by providing them alternative source of livelihoods that promote the preservation of the environment and natural resources.

"The environment is being desecrated because of poverty," she pointed out.

Lopez noted how the funds for the National Greening Program (NGP), the government's massive reforestation initiative that has been extended until 2028, "could be funneled into the economy through farmers, fishermen, and the youth.”

She said the NGP sites would be used to create economic zones through agro-forestry “so that people would grow and care for the trees that they plant and they can earn from it.”

Lopez said she is willing to collaborate with other Cabinet members to ensure the success of the administration's environmental programs and projects. As an example, she cited the commitment expressed by Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa to run after illegal loggers and fishers, and other violators of environmental laws.

The environment chief also reiterated her interest and willingness to work with the youth sector. "I want to capture their idealism and energy into doing something for the environment and the people," she said.

Lopez said the DENR would tap the academe and some government agencies in building "island models" to showcase convergence approach in developing the environment.

She identified six areas as potential island models. These are Oriental Mindoro, Sibuyan island in Romblon, Palawan, Sorsogon, Guimaras and Batangas.

The DENR secretary also declared every Wednesday as "People's Day" in all DENR offices nationwide to allow officials and employees address public concern and queries starting August 10.

She also announced the DENR’s new hotline for inquiries, 0917-522-9344, as well as the new email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. #

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is urging other paint manufacturers in the country to follow the examples of Boysen and Davies which recently obtained their Lead Safe Paint mark under a newly launched global certification program.

Boysen and Davies – among the country’s top paint makers and exporters – are the first two companies in the world to apply and obtain the Lead Safe Paint mark from the California-based SCS Global Services. Their paint products were certified to have no added lead, a toxic substance associated with irreparable brain and central nervous system damage.

Director Gilbert Gonzales of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) said that at the very least, other paint manufacturers should comply with the prescribed limit of lead in paint products, particularly for architectural, decorative and household use by the end of 2016.

“May Boysen and Davies influence and encourage our paint industry to shift to lead-free production. These two companies serve as models and we welcome efforts by the industry to make and shift and follow their examples,” Gonzales said.

In behalf of the DENR, Gonzales congratulated Boysen and Davies for securing the privilege to display the Lead Safe Paint mark on the cans of their certified paint brands.

Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines Inc. acquired Lead Safe Paint certificates for its Boysen, Nation, Titan and Virtuoso brands (a total of 430 paint products), while Davies Paints Philippines Inc. obtained certification for its Davies brand (a total of 379 paint products).

Gonzales expressed hope the initiatives of the two paint makers would “increase the customers’ confidence, expand business transactions, allow uniform labeling, and most of all protect our children.”

In 2013, the DENR issued a chemical control order (CCO) for lead to limit, regulate, restrict and even prohibit its importation, distribution, use, manufacture and disposal.

DENR Administrative Order No. 2013-24 establishes 90 parts per million as threshold limit for lead in paint used in pigment, drying agent or for some intentional use.

It also sets a three-year phase-out period from 2013-2016 for lead-containing architectural, decorative and household paints, and six-year phase-out period from 2013-2019 for lead-containing industrial paints.

“As a toxic substance, the lead regulation covers not only the manufacturing process, but starts at the importation and distribution of this chemical and even up to treatment, storage and disposal of lead-containing wastes,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said the CCO also prohibits the use of lead in the production of packaging for food and drink, fuel additives, water pipes, toys, school supplies and cosmetics and non-compliance to the law is subject to sanctions and penalties under Republic Act No. 6969, or the Toxic Substances, Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act. ###

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has suspended two nickel mining firms in Zambales.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Leo Jasareno identified the two suspended mining firms as the Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC) and the Benguetcorp Nickel Mines, Inc, (BNMI). MGB is a line bureau under the DENR.

According to Jasareno, the suspension of the two mining companies stemmed from “various alleged environmental crimes, violations of the mining and environmental laws, and complaints of various groups against the alleged environmental impacts” of their mining operations.

The suspension of ZDMC and BNMI was contained in a letter addressed to Cesar F. Simbulan, Jr., President of ZDMC, and Leopoldo P. Sison, President of BNMI. MGB Region 3 Director Lope O. Cariño, Environmental Management Bureau Region 3 Director Lormelyn E. Claudio and DENR Region 3 Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr. signed the letter.

The letter, dated July 7, 2016, referred to the Writ of Kalikasan issued by the Supreme Court in the case filed by the Concerned Citizens of Santa Cruz, Zambales (GR No. 224375) against the mining operations in Zambales, Executive Order No. 01 issued by the Provincial Government of Zambales suspending the said mining operations and the complaints filed by various private groups.

It said that the suspension will "ensure that the environment, particularly the communities, farmlands and water bodies are not compromised as a result of the mining operations pursuant to the pertinent mining and environmental laws."

The letter ordered the two companies to comply with the conditions cited, among which are to address the issues arising from the tree-cutting and earthballing operations, the completion of construction of an exclusive mine haul road, rehabilitation of mined-out and open areas, and the full deposit of the Final Mine Rehabilitation/Decommissioning Funds.

It also directed the rehabilitation and compensation of all owners of farmlands, fishponds and water bodies adversely affected by the mining operations, and the repair of all damaged portions of roads as a result of hauling operations.

A composite team of the DENR will conduct an audit of the mining operations of both firms to determine compliance with the mining and environmental laws.

In 2014, a suspension order was issued by MGB Region 3 to the other operating nickel mines in Zambales: lnl Archipelago Minerals, lnc. and Eramen Minerals, Inc. on the extraction and future expansion of their mining areas until they have employed systematic mining methods by removing all stockpiles in the mining area and piling them in designated stockpile areas equipped with proper drainage system. They were also ordered to implement a care and maintenance plan/measures for the duration of the suspension order.

With the latest suspension order, all 4 large-scale mining operations in Zambales are now suspended. ###

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez today condemned the killing of anti-coal activist Gloria Capitan last Friday, saying the investigation of the killing should not stop with the arrest of the assassins who pulled the trigger, but should lead to the arrest of the mastermind.

“I am calling on the authorities, particularly the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the killing and leave no stone unturned to identify the identities of the perpetrators,” said Lopez.

“The killing of Ms. Capitan should be a grim reminder to all of us regarding the insurmountable risks that we face for standing up to powerful interests of the few. Her ultimate sacrifice will only strengthen our conviction to serve the common good,” Lopez said.

The environment chief also conveyed her sympathies to the family of Capitan. ###