The history of the Department goes back as far as 1863 when, by virtue of a Spanish Royal Decree, an office known as Inspeccion General de Montes was created in the Philippines. In November 18, 1916 under Act No. 2666, the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) was created having “direct execution control, direction and supervision of the Bureaus of Agriculture, Forestry, Lands and Weather Bureau. In 1932, a new reorganization act was passed, renaming the DANR to Department of Agriculture and Commerce (DAC).


There were no major changes in the DANR’s structure from 1954– 1974. However, the end of DANR came on May 17, 1974 when PD No. 461 was issued, thus provided for the Department’s split into two (2) namely: the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).


Under this set– up, the DNR took the following Line Bureaus and attached agencies: Bureau of Forest Development (BFD), Bureau of Mines (BM); Bureau of Lands (BL); Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), National Committee for Mineral Exploration and Survey Operations (NACOMESCO), Presidential Committee on Wood Industries Development (PCWID), Fishery Industry Development Council (FIDC), Surigao Mineral Reservations Board (SMRB), and the Presidential Action Committee on Land Problems (PACLAP).


With the shift to a parliamentary form of government in 1978, the DNR became the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). The Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDC) was created as corporate arm under Executive Order No. 786 in 1982.


In 1985, the concerns on fish and fishery agriculture was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture, leaving the MNR with only three (3) Bureaus with the attached agencies. The events of February, 1986 brought changes that altered the name of the MNR. Then, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order NO. 131 on January 30, 1987 creating the Department of Energy, 

Environment and Natural Resources (DEENR). The DEENR, however, was again reorganized into the present Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in June, 1897 under  Executive Order No. 192. The regional office of the Bureau of Forest Development (BFD) at Dagupan City, Bureau of Lands (BL) at San Fernando City, La Union, Bureau of Mines and Geosciences (BMGS) at Baguio City and the National Pollution Control Commission (NPCC) were integrated which resulted into the creation of DENR Regional Office 1. It held its office at Diego Silang St., Baguio City with Engr. Horacio Ramos as the first Regional Executive Director (RED). 4 PENROs (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office) and 8 CENROs (Community Environment and Natural Resources Office) as frontline offices replacing the district offices.

Executive Order No. 220 was signed creating the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to implement the constitutional provision— Section 1, Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution— which called for the creation of an autonomous region of Cordillera. The DENR– CAR  eventually organized, and the provinces of Abra, Benguet and Mountain Province which were put under its administrative jurisdiction.


In April of 1989, DENR Regional Office 1 (R-1) was transferred from Baguio City to San Fernando City, La Union with the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan as its areas of jurisdiction. With the enactment of RA 7942, otherwise known as the “Philippine Mining Act of 1995” and RA 8749, also known as the “Clean Air Act”, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) became DENR’s line agencies.

Over the years, the DENR Region I officials garnered numerous “Eagle’s Awards” and other recognitions for its exemplary performance and attainment of targets. The DENR-1 began smooth sailing with the reigns of the following dedicated and passionate Regional Executive Directors: Sabado T. Batcagan (1989 to 1992) - who later became Assistant Secretary for Planning and Policy Studies ; Oscar M. Hamada (1992– 1994); Clarence L. Baguilat, CESO IV (1994– 1996); Dominador H. Almogela, CESO III (1996– 1999); Victor J. Ancheta, CESO IV (1999– 2007); Constancio M. Arciaga, CESO IV (2007– 2009); Corazon C. Davis, CESO III (2009– 2010) - now the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Finance; Samuel R. Peñafiel, CESO III (from 2010 to 2015); Paquito T. Moreno, Jr., CESO III (2015 - 2017) - now the Regional Director of Region III and Reynulfo A. Juan, CESO V (2018 to present).