DENR partners with SoKor, Germany to pursue eco projects

Published July 1, 2022, 2:25 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has teamed up with the governments of South Korea and Germany to pursue development projects on marine litter management and peatlands conservation respectively, the agency announced on Friday, July 1.


The partnerships were formalized through the launching of the Enhancement of Marine Litter Management in Manila Bay (EMLM) Project and Ensuring Sustainable Benefits from Peatlands through Protection and Wise Use (ESBenePeat) Project on June 22, said former DENR Acting Sec. Jim Sampulna.

The EMLM and EsBenePeat were implemented following the presentation of the pre-signed Record of Discussions (ROD) and Grant Agreement (GA) for the two projects.

Under the EMLM Project, Korea will provide a US$7.7-million grant for the implementation of marine litter management within the Manila Bay area. The project will be jointly undertaken by the DENR and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

KOICA Asst. Country Director Choi Misun emphasized the importance of marine litter management in Manila Bay as it cited international studies which said the Philippines accounts for about 800,000 metric tons of plastic marine pollution annually.

The multi-year assistance project will be implemented until 2025 which includes the construction of a US$5.7-million marine clean up vessel which will be sourced from the grant.

Meanwhile, the ESBenePeat project seeks to mitigate greenhouse gas emission by reforesting, re-wetting, and rehabilitating degraded areas, and enhancing biodiversity-friendly livelihood practices for the communities while ensuring the protection of peatlands.

It will be piloted in the 5,487-hectare Caimpugan Peat Swamp Forest (CPSF) in Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Agusan del Sur, and in the Sab-a Basin in Leyte.

According to DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau, the country’s peatlands – or terrestrial wetland ecosystems – cover around 200,000 hectares of area which have “remarkably higher carbon sequestration potential than any other studied forest types.”

DENR-BMD Director Natividad Bernardino even revealed that the Caimpugan Peat Swamp Forest alone stores about 22.9 million tons of carbon.

Sampulna said the two projects will remain as among the priorities of the DENR even as former President Duterte suddenly changed leadership in the department days before he finished his six-year term.

Sampulna was replaced by Assistant Sec. Joselin Marcus Fragada as the DENR officer-in-charge (OIC) as announced by Malacanang last June 23. Meanwhile, newly-inaugurated Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has yet to name his DENR chief.

“Please be assured that the DENR will value and remain committed to the agreement that it has earlier entered into with your respective organizations during my incumbency,” Sampulna said in a statement sent through the DENR.

“These joint initiatives will certainly help in the attainment of our country’s goals and international commitment on climate change,” he added.