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DENR Execs inspect Cagayan river


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Top officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) inspect today the Cagayan River along the Magapit Narrows in Lallo, Cagayan.
 
DENR Undersecretaries Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, Jonas Leones and Juan Miguel Cuna, and DPWH Undersecretary Roberto Bernardo personally inspected the site which was identified by the Build Back Better Task Force as priority for rehabilitation following the flooding in the province in November. The Magapit Narrows is the area where water flow is constricted causing the retardation of the flow of floodwater thereby prolonging inundation of water in the floodplains.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has earlier ordered the immediate dredging of the sandbars starting at the Magapit Narrows.
 
The DENR in the region is currently conducting assessment for easement recovery simultaneous with the survey of the sandbars by the DPWH through third party surveyors.
 
Prior to the site visit, the national officials had a dialogue with Gov. Manuel Mamba where the latter reported update on the status of the Cagayan River Restoration Project.
 
Gov. Mamba is the chair of the Interagency Committee (IAC) on the Cagayan River Restoration Project created by virtue of DENR Administrative Order 2020-07 issued by Secretary Cimatu on February 27, 2020.
 
In the meeting, DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan who is the vice chair of the IAC said the MOA signing between the DENR and the two operator-dredgers is scheduled on December 10.
 
Joining the visit and the meeting were DPWH Regional Director Loreta Malaluan, DENR Assistant Regional Director Marcos Dacanay, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Mario Ancheta, Environmental Management Bureau Regional Director Virgilio Edralin Licuan, Cagayan PENR Officer Ismael Manaligod, Isabela PENR Officer Marlon Agnar, and Cagayan Provincial Administrator Darwin Sacramed.#
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Envi Chief orders suspension of FCF’s tree cutting, closure of SSM in Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya

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Tuguegarao City, Cagayan- Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region II to temporarily suspend the tree-cutting activities of FCF Minerals Corporation’s Gold- Molybdenum Project in Brgy. Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya.

He also ordered the Bureau to close down all small-scale mining activities in hazard prone areas in Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya where 10 casualties were reported due to the fatal landslide incident in the area brought by the heavy downpour of Typhoon Ulysses.

Cimatu further recommends to identify possible Minahang Bayan areas for displaced small-scale miners to a safer place to ensure their safety and to prevent another tragic incident.

“Identify an area that is safe for them and for the environment,” Cimatu cited.

He also asked the MGB Regional Chief Engr. Mario A. Ancheta to install signages in hazard prone areas for the awareness of the people in the community. – Lyndee Rose Basilio

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MGB: Runruno landslide tragedy is not result of mining

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Tuguegarao City, Cagayan- A team of geologists and technical personnel from Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region II conducted a site inspection at the recent landslide areas that claimed the lives of 10 individuals including a two-months old baby and injured two others which is brought by the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses on Nov.11.

DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan and MGB Regional Director Mario A. Ancheta led the inspection at sitios Bit-ang and Kinalabasa in Brgy. Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya on Nov. 18 which are within the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) area of the Gold-Molybdenum Project of FCF Minerals Corporation.

According to MGB Regional Director, based on the result of the geohazard assessment, sitios Bit-ang, Balcony, Compound, and Kinalabasa are highly or critically susceptible to natural hazards and residents are recommended for relocation.

On September 2018, MGB conducted a geohazard assessment and result showed that sitio Bit-Ang is highly susceptible to hazard being highly critical to flooding and landslide. “The result of the assessment was presented to the community including the residents of sitio Bit-ang, Compound, Balcony, and Kinalabasa,” the MGB regional chief said.

Director Ancheta said that regardless of the mining activity, the areas have very high susceptibility to landslide.

Based on the recent assessment of the area, “the fatal landside was triggered by the inclement weather conditions resulting to ground saturation and eventual landslide and not due to small scale mining activity as earlier reported, “Director Ancheta said.

He added, “evacuation of the illegal settlers within the landslide prone areas should be strictly implemented.”

Director Ancheta also reported that despite the compensation offered by FCF, some families refused to vacate as they are not satisfied to the amount that the company offers.

The MGB geohazard study recommends for evacuation of the illegal dwellers and settlers as the area has very high susceptibility to natural hazards. – Lyndee Rose S. Basilio

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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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