Environment and Natural Resources
SECTION 1. Declaration of Policy.—(1) The State shall ensure, for the benefit of the Filipino people, the full exploration and development as well as the judicious disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country’s forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources, consistent with the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and protecting and enhancing the quality of the environment and the objective of making the exploration, development and utilization of such natural resources equitably accessible to the different segments of the present as well as future generations.
(2) The State shall likewise recognize and apply a true value system that takes into account social and environmental cost implications relative to the utilization, development and conservation of our natural resources.
SECTION 2. Mandate.—(1) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall be primarily responsible for the implementation of the foregoing policy.
(2) It shall, subject to law and higher authority, be in charge of carrying out the State’s constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development, utilization, and conservation of the country’s natural resources.
SECTION 3. Guidelines for Implementation.—In the discharge of its responsibility the Department shall be guided by the following objectives:
(1) Assure the availability and sustainability of the country’s natural resources through judicious use and systematic restoration or replacement, whenever possible;
(2) Increase the productivity of natural resources in order to meet the demands for the products from forest, mineral, land and water resources of a growing population;
(3) Enhance the contribution of natural resources for achieving national economic and social development;
(4) Promote equitable access to natural resources by the different sectors of the population; and
(5) Conserve specific terrestrial and marine areas representative of the Philippine natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations.
SECTION 4. Powers and Functions.—The Department shall:
(1) Advise the President and the Congress on the enactment of laws relative to the exploration, development, use, regulation and conservation of the country’s natural resources and the control of pollution;
(2) Formulate, implement and supervise the implementation of the government’s policies, plans, and programs pertaining to the management, conservation, development, use and replenishment of the country’s natural resources;
(3) Promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with law governing the exploration, development, conservation, extraction, disposition, use and such other commercial activities tending to cause the depletion and degradation of our natural resources;
(4) Exercise supervision and control over forest lands, alienable and disposable public lands, mineral resources and, in the process of exercising such control, impose appropriate taxes, fees, charges, rentals and any such form of levy and collect such revenues for the exploration, development, utilization or gathering of such resources;
(5) Undertake the exploration, assessment, classification and inventory of the country’s natural resources, using ground surveys, remote sensing and complementary technologies;
(6) Promote proper and mutual consultation with the private sector on matters involving natural resources exploration, development, use and conservation;
(7) Undertake geological surveys of the whole country including its territorial waters;
(8) Issue licenses and permits for activities related to the use and development of aquatic resources, treasure hunting, salvaging of sunken vessels and other similar activities;
(9) Establish policies and implement programs for the:
(a) Accelerated inventory, survey and classification of lands, forest and mineral resources, using appropriate technology, to be able to come up with a more accurate assessment of resource quality and quantity;
(b) Equitable distribution of natural resources through the judicious administration, regulation, utilization, development and conservation of public lands, forest, water and mineral resources (including mineral reservation areas), that would benefit a greater number of Filipinos;
(c) Promotion, development and expansion of natural resource-based industries;
(d) Preservation of cultural and natural heritage through wildlife conservation and segregation of national parks and other protected areas;
(e) Maintenance of a wholesome natural environment by enforcing environmental protection laws; and
(f) Encouragement of greater people participation and private initiative in rural resource management;
(10) Promulgate rules and regulations necessary to:
(a) Accelerate cadastral and emancipation patent surveys, land use planning and public land titling;
(b) Harness forest resources in a sustainable manner, to assist rural development, support forest-based industries, and provide raw materials to meet increasing demands, at the same time keeping adequate reserves for environmental stability;
(c) Expedite mineral resources surveys, promote the production of metallic and non-metallic minerals and encourage mineral marketing;
(d) Assure conservation and judicious and sustainable development of aquatic resources.
(11) Assess, review and provide direction to, in coordination with concerned government agencies, energy research and development programs, including identification of sources of energy and determination of their commercial feasibility for development;
(12) Regulate the development, disposition, extraction, exploration and use of the country’s forest, land, water and mineral resources;
(13) Assume responsibility for the assessment, development, protection, licensing and regulation as provided for by law, where applicable, of all energy and natural resources; the regulation and monitoring of service contractors, licensees, lessees, and permit for the extraction, exploration, development and use of natural resources products; the implementation of programs and measures with the end in view of promoting close collaboration between the government and the private sector; the effective and efficient classification and sub-classification of lands of the public domain; and the enforcement of natural resources and environmental laws, rules and regulations;
(14) Promulgate rules, regulations and guidelines on the issuance of licenses, permits, concessions, lease agreements and such other privileges concerning the development, exploration and utilization of the country’s marine, freshwater, and brackish water and over all aquatic resources of the country and shall continue to oversee, supervise and police our natural resources; cancel or cause to cancel such privileges upon failure, non-compliance or violations of any regulation, order, and for all other causes which are in furtherance of the conservation of natural resources and supportive of the national interest;
(15) Exercise exclusive jurisdiction on the management and disposition of all lands of the public domain and serve as the sole agency responsible for classification, sub-classification, surveying and titling of lands in consultation with appropriate agencies;
(16) Implement measures for the regulation and supervision of the processing of forest products, grading and inspection of lumber and other forest products and monitoring of the movement of timber and other forest products;
(17) Promulgate rules and regulations for the control of water, air and land pollution;
(18) Promulgate ambient and effluent standards for water and air quality including the allowable levels of other pollutants and radiations;
(19) Promulgate policies, rules and regulations for the conservation of the country’s genetic resources and biological diversity, and endangered habitats;
(20) Formulate an integrated, multi-sectoral, and multi-disciplinary National Conservation Strategy, which will be presented to the Cabinet for the President’s approval;
(21) Perform such other functions as may be provided by law.
SECTION 5. Organizational Structure.—The Department shall consist of the Department Proper, the Staff Offices, the Staff Bureaus, and the Regional Offices, Provincial Offices and Community Offices.