SAN JUAN, La Union – In order to equip selected technical personnel from the Department of Environment anSCUBA1d Natural Resources, Region- I (DENR- I) including its field offices, with the necessary underwater skills and Self- Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) diving knowledge, a five (5) - day Basic and Advanced SCUBA Diving Training was held in Puerto de San Juan Beach Resort and Hotel, Ili Sur, San Juan, La Union last April 5- 9, 2021. Participants are composed of eight (8) males and two (2) females.

Facilitated by DENR- I, Conservation and Development Division (CDD) headed by Barbara M. Pernia with the Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section (CRFMS) headed by Analyn N. Viray and Program Manager Ariel V. Arizabal, the capacity- building activity as required by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), is pursuant to the DENR Administrative Order No. 2016- 26 or the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP), aims to upgrade, retool and enhance the diving workmanship and leadership skills of current roster of divers and at the same time, provide an opportunity to train other DENR- I potential technical personnel from the field offices. Since the current roster of DENR SCUBA is undermanned due to various factors, the training will augment the number of capable and performing SCUBA divers in the region. SCUBA Diving is indispensable skill and has variety of crucial uses in the DENR, ranging from underwater assessment and monitoring of coral reefs, seagrasses, water quality apparatus installation, retrieval, among others.

The main objective of the training was to equip SCUBA3CMEMP technical personnel with basic and advanced SCUBA Diving skills, enhance their individual water confidence and survival proficiencies necessary in carrying out their various essential tasks in the coastal and marine environment. The training was facilitated through a series of lectures, self- reading of provided basic and advanced skills training manuals, audio- visual presentation, pool sessions, open water activities, elective dives, course examination on both written and practical skills demonstrations. Amidst the pandemic, stricter measures on health protocols during the duration of the training were imposed after a close coordination with LGU- San Juan and the Provincial Government of La Union which granted the activity with certain conditions. The pool of diving instructors came all the way from Seasport Park and Dive of San Luis, Batangas. The training sessions were confined in a pool and open waters (sea).

The new DENR- I divers were extremely happy that they have survived the rigorous training despite their orientation as foresters and more adapted working in the forests. The additional seven (7) new Open Water SCUBA divers will be of great help to the regional office divers especially specially when they are in the field likewise, the three (3) Advanced Open Water and Divemaster participants were also equipped with new skills in advanced and leadership techniques which is vital in unpredictable nature of marine environment. Participants on said training recommended the reactivation of the DENR- I SCUBA Diving Team and creation of SCUBA Diving instructors. (GCG- RSCIG)


BAUANG, La Union - The Environmental Management Bureau-Region 1 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources took part in the beach fun walk and coastal clean-up drive dubbed “Pagna Pagna para iti Basura” along the coast of Bauang, La Union on January 25, 2020, which was organized by the Provincial Government of La Union and the local government unit of Bauang, La Union in celebration of the National Zero Waste Month.

Thirteen EMB-I personnel showed full support by picking up trash along the shorelines of Barangay Paringao to Barangay Pugo, Bauang, La Union from 6:00-10:00 AM. Over 800 participants from the National Government Agencies, LGU Bauang, Academe, Coastal Barangays of Paringao, Baccuit Norte, Baccuit Sur, Taberna, Pugo, Bauang, La Union, Sanguniang Kabataan, Barangay Health Workers and Tanods, Marine Reservists, Non- Governmental Organizations, Confederation of Ilocano Association Inc., Bikers Association, Youth Organizations for Environment, residents and other stakeholders joined the clean-up drive. Approximately 1.76 tons of recyclable and residual wastes were collected and brought to the Bauang sanitary landfill.

EMB-I Clearance & Permitting Division Chief Engr. Nicanor Esteban, who represented EMB-I Regional Director Engr. Maria Dorica Naz-Hipe, lauded the Provincial Government of La Union for successfully organizing the “Pagna Pagna para iti Basura,” which is a very innovative information, education and communication campaign that raises public awareness about the imperative need to ecologically manage solid waste.

The month of January was declared as Zero-Waste Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 760 signed by former President Benigno S. Aquino III on May 15, 2014. “Zero waste” is an advocacy that promotes designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, and to conserve and recover all resources, and not indiscriminately dispose or burn them.“Zero Waste” is likewise a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – In line with the “Bayanihan Spirit” tradition of Filipinos particularly in times of natural calamities, officials and personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Region- I (DENR- I) and its field offices in the region poured their modest resources and extended assistance to the Taal Volcano eruption victims who are residents of the province of Batangas. The Taal donation is also a commitment to the Association of Regional Executives (AREX) of which DENR- I is a member agency.

Thousands of residents within the seven kilometre - wide radius danger zone of the volcano have been displaced and homeless devastating their livelihood and properties after heavy ash fall from voluminous plumes from the volcano and volcanic earthquakes continuously blanketed several municipalities near the Taal Volcano including adjacent provinces near Batangas. The men and women of DENR- I collectively gave donations for the purchase of consumable goods such ready- to- eat foods, blanket and toiletries. The donations were turned over to the Office of the Civil Defense. Regional Office No. I (OCD, RO1).

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Region- I (DENR- I) through the initiative of the Regional Public Affairs Office (RPAO) not only spread and inform the public regarding the policies, programs and projects of the agency, leads in the protection, preservation and conservation of the environment and natural resources but also advocates voluntary humanitarian endeavour particularly to the youth.

As a continuing activity of the RPAO led by Chief, Renelita A. Santos and designated information officers from MGB, EMB, PENROs and CENROs and sectoral focal persons – the conduct of Communication Education Public Awareness (CEPA) for the youth regarding the protection and preservation of the environment and natural resources in selected primary and secondary schools in the region most especially in the interior barangays was held in two public primary schools last February 28- 29, 2020. Topics discussed in these schools include solid waste management, biodiversity, wildlife and marine conservation, clean water and clean air.

The information officers’ team first noticed the old, broken and damaged slippers of young learners during their first environmental lectures and activity in Cabaraoan Integrated School in Sto. Tomas, La Union prompted the DENR- I team led by Information II and Youth Desk Officer Zenaida Paday- os and CDO Mariel Aquino to initiate the so- called Box of Hope- a large carton box placed in the lobby of the DENR- I building where voluntary donations in kind like new slippers, shoes, clothing, among others overflowed after an audio- visual of the information officers’ environmental activities was shown during the DENR- I regular Monday Program and the purpose of the Box of Hope moved the kind- hearted employees and officials.

On February 29, 2020, the DENR- I information group went back to Cabaraoan Integrated School in Sto. Tomas, La Union and Siapar Integrated School, Anda, an island municipality located northwest of Pangasinan. In cooperation with PENRO La Union and CENRO Western Pangasinan headed by Atty. Hipolito Salatan. The DENR- I information team proceeded to Anda with the Box of Hope by car, by foot and by water and distributed the contents of the Box of Hope to the excited learners and teachers in the above mentioned schools. In Barangay Siapar, school officials and the barangay chairman thanked the DENR- I team for their compassion and generosity. The small but significant gifts given to the learners is a large bridge that connect the youth to nature and the advocates of nature. Likewise, it will relatively touch and soften their hearts which will someday pass on to the next generations to come.  As they say, “Big things come from small beginnings.”