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DENR, MGB inspect landslide areas in Nueva Vizcaya

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Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Local Government Unit (LGU) of Quezon in Nueva Vizcaya inspect the landslide areas that claimed the lives of 10 individuals at the onslaught of the heavy downpour brought about by Typhoon Ulysses on Nov. 11.

DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, MGB Regional Director Mario A. Ancheta, and Mayor Dolores Binwag led the site inspection on Nov. 18  following the fatal landslides at sitios Bit-ang (Lower), Bit-ang (Upper) and Kinalabasa, all in Barangay Runruno which is within the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) area of FCF Minerals for its Runruno Gold Molybdenum Project.
The area, according to the MGB regional chief, is geo-hazard prone with a very high to critical susceptibility to landslide and flooding based on the geo-hazard assessment conducted by the bureau in 2018.
In the meeting, Director Bambalan requested the LGU and the mining company to conduct inventory of families residing in the area and to identify where they can be safely relocated.
Mayor Binwag said residents in the area come from the provinces of Quirino, Ifugao, Benguet and nearby towns, and some of them are engaged in illegal small-scale mining operations.
“If we want to save lives, we have to look for a safer area. It is about their safety and their family,” Director Bambalan said as she committed the DENR through the provincial environment and natural resources (PENR) office to assist the municipal local government in looking for resettlement area.
She added: "The area being a timberland should be devoid of settlements unless with permits or tenurial instrument issued by the government thru the DENR. Illegal occupation is punishable under Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines."
Per report of lawyer Jener C. Puguon of FCF Minerals, the company have settled over 215 land claims from a total of 407 landholder claims after several negotiations. Others however refused to vacate as they are not amicable to the amount of relocation compensation that the company offers.
A dialogue with the residents will be held on Nov. 26 with representatives of DENR, MGB, municipal and barangay LGU, and Philippine National Police to present government regulations and resettlement plans.
The site inspection was also attended by PENR Officer Edgar T. Martin, PNP Provincial Director Ranzer Evasco and Runruno Barangay Captain John Babliing.#
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Mining companies to develop refo areas for NGP

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and two mining companies in Region 2 have mutually agreed to develop areas in support of the National Greening Program (NGP).
Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, and FCF Minerals represented by Leopoldo G. Castro Jr. and OceanaGold Philippines Incorporated represented by Jayson Magdaong recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the tree replacement program. The MOA signing was witnessed by Nueva Vizcaya PENR officer Edgar T. Martin, Quirino PENR officer Mariam Frances T. Malana and regional NGP coordinator Edmund S. Malupeng.

The tree replacement program forms part of the mining companies' compliance with the terms and conditions of the tree cutting permit issued by the DENR. Based on DENR regulations, the permittee is required to replace each tree cut affected by the mining operations with 100 seedlings of indigenous species.
It can be recalled that Director Bambalan recommended for area development scheme in support of the NGP rather than just producing, buying and donating seedlings to yield better impact.
“We engage a people’s organization or a community to develop and maintain the plantation not only to promote partnership, but also to create employment opportunities especially this time of pandemic," Director Bambalan said. "Eventually, it will be the local communities who will manage the plantation," she added.
To cover the replacement scheme from site assessment, seedling production, plantation establishment, and three-year maintenance and protection activities, the FCF and OGPI shall allocate funds in the amount of P6.4 million and P2.9 million, respectively. As stated in the MOA, the mining companies may transfer the full amount covering the cost of the entire duration of implementation or transfer the funds on annual budget requirement basis per approved work and financial plan.
A total of 192 hectares of plantations will be funded by the FCF and 90 hectares by the OGPI within the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. The sites which include NGP graduated areas with low survival rate and other suitable areas will be planted with timber and fruit trees.
The DENR is tasked to conduct survey, mapping and planning, and engage beneficiaries within the project sites for the actual implementation of program activities following the family approach in NGP. It shall provide technical assistance to the identified partners in seedling production, plantation establishment and protection and maintenance of the planted areas.
The tree replacement program will be implemented for three years starting in 2021.#DENR Region02
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Cimatu’s proposed solutions to Cagayan flooding: river dredging, intensified reforestation


Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has proposed the immediate dredging of Cagayan River and planting of some 200 million tree seedlings on low-lying agricultural areas in Cagayan after the province suffered its worst flooding in decades due to heavy rains brought by Typhoon Ulysses.
Cimatu made the twin proposals during a Cabinet meeting presided over by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Tuguegarao City last Sunday. The President and his Cabinet flew to Cagayan’s capital city to personally assess the damage caused by the typhoon.
“These are the interventions which we can already start. I think if we do these, we can already make a difference, Mr. President,” Cimatu told Duterte during the Cabinet meeting.
The Chief Executive signified full backing for Cimatu’s twin proposals with his response. “Go for it and I will support you all the way,” the President said.
Cimatu said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been conducting reforestation activities in Cagayan through the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP) with focus on upland areas.
He said low-lying agricultural areas, including privately-owned lands, should now be included in the coverage of ENGP.
Cimatu attributed the intensity and frequency of typhoons and their unusual volume of rainfall to climate change.
The DENR chief said he has already approved the request of Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba for the dredging of the Cagayan River covering some 30 kilometers.
According to Cimatu, dredging will solve the existence of a constricted section of Cagayan River called Magapit Narrows.  This Narrows snakes through the towns of Alcala, Lal-lo and Gattaran.
He noted that 18 major rivers in Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and the Cordillera Administrative Region drain into the Cagayan River, making the province prone to flooding.
Cimatu explained that the bottleneck sites in the Magapit Narrows significantly hinders flow of flood water to the Aparri Delta and finally to the Babuyan Channel.
He said the dredging will improve the volume capacity of Cagayan River “at no cost on the part of the government” as the provincial government is now looking for a contractor.
The contractor will be allowed to sell the dredged minerals, with the government earning revenues from the dredging at the same time as stipulated in DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2020-07 titled “Rationalizing Dredging Activities in Heavily-Silted River Channels Pursuant to the DENR-DPWH-DILG-DOTR  Joint Memorandum Circular No.1 Series of 2019”.
The DAO rationalized dredging activities in heavily-silted river channels across the country to help restore their natural state and flow and reduce flooding.
It requires the contractor to shoulder all the expenses of the dredging operation in exchange for whatever minerals it may recover, provided it pays the required national and local taxes. # (DENR-SCIS)
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DOH sponsors flu vaccination to MGB employees


Tuguegarao City, Cagayan- Employees of Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. II were given flu vaccine last 8 September 2020 sponsored by the Department of Health Regional Office No. II.

RD Mario A. Ancheta requested for flu vaccine from Dir. Rio L. Magpantay of the DOH, “to protect our employees from flu viruses especially during this time of health crisis, “RD Ancheta said.

“With the increasing number of cases and deaths, interventions should be made to fight the coronavirus disease,” RD Ancheta added.

Security guards of the regional office as well as its Auditor were likewise given flu vaccine by DOH.

The vaccination was administered by Ms. Lucia Balisi, Midwife VI of DOH Region II.

“Let us prevent further complications and anxieties by protecting our staff in this time of pandemic, “ RD Ancheta said.

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Inter-agency committee on Cagayan River restoration convenes


Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, August 13, 2020-   The Inter-Agency Committee on the Restoration of the Cagayan River headed by its Chair, Cagayan Governor Manuel N. Mamba recently convened at Narra Hall, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 02, Carig Sur, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan to discuss the proposed process flow for the dredging application.

DENR’s Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, vice-chair of the committee assured Gov. Mamba, “We are one with you in this endeavor as long as it is applicable to the environmental laws, rules, and regulations before we proceed with the dredging activity,” RED Bambalan said.

On the other hand, Engr. Mario A. Ancheta, MGB ROII Director likewise expressed his support to the proposed Cagayan River restoration.

“We already wrote a letter to the Governor to help us with the logistics and by next week, after our coordination, we will already conduct our sampling, “RD Ancheta said.

MGB Region 02 together with DENR, Environmental Management Bureau, and Department of Public Works and Highways are members of the Inter-Agency Committee on Cagayan River Restoration.

The meeting was attended by RED Bambalan, RD Ancheta, EMB Director Virgillio Licuan, DPWH Director Loreta Malaluan, and PENRO Cagayan Atty. Ismael Manaligod.

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