DENR seeks PRRD's certification of EPEB bill

By Catherine Teves

July 15, 2021, 3:15 pm

MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte's official call for Congress to immediately pass the bill that will create the Environmental Protection and Enforcement Bureau (EPEB).

"To help fast-track the bill's passage, we requested the President's support certifying this as urgent," DENR Region IV-A Executive Director Nilo Tamoria said Thursday during the online 4th National Environmental Law Enforcement Summit.

DENR is hoping for EPEB bill's passage into law as soon as possible, Tamoria said.

The creation of EPEB will systematize, institutionalize and professionalize law enforcement within DENR - enabling this department to be the country's lead agency for environmental enforcement, he said.

He said EPEB's creation will also pave the way for fully capacitating DENR enforcers so the department can better build up cases even against high-profile parties engaged in environmental violations like wildlife and timber trafficking and "hopefully take down syndicates involved in these crimes.”

He noted President Duterte received DENR's request for him to certify as urgent the bill creating EPEB.

Tamoria said several legislators in the Senate and House of Representatives filed similar bills on the matter.

They are Senators Nancy Binay and Bong Revilla aside from Antique Lone District Rep. Loren Legarda, Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, South Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez and Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte.

Tamoria said the legislators filed Senate Bills 1878 and 1959 as well as House Bills 6973, 7670, 7873 and 8028, respectively. Discussions on EPEB's creation has begun in Congress.

The DENR is looking forward to both Houses of Congress agreeing soon on the EPEB bill that will be presented to President Duterte for his approval and signing into law, he added. (PNA