As part of its commitment of promoting environmental protection, particularly in air quality and airshed management, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), has successfully conducted the National Air Quality and Airshed Management Workshop from 20 to 24 of September 2021 via Microsoft Teams. The workshop was hosted by EMB Central Office-Air Quality Management Section and attended by EMB Regional Offices’ technical staffs. The workshop included lectures from speakers from United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) and University of the Philippines – Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology (UP-IESM). This workshop aimed to streamline the assessment procedures, gain relevant knowledge in data gathering and solving air pollution concentrations which will be of essential use in the Emission Inventory and to harmonize the process flow on the designation of attainment and non-attainment airshed areas. Moreover, it is also included in the workshop’s objectives to become equipped in utilizing Air Dispersion Modelling using Emission Inventory data, as well as to be abreast to US-EPA policies for the improvement of existing policies relating to Air Quality and Airshed Management.

On 20 September 2021 the workshop was then commenced by Engr. Vizminda A. Osorio, EMB Assistant Director, through the delivery of welcoming remarks and stated that the workshop is a very memorial event for it’s the 22nd year anniversary since the enactment of RA 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, she added, that the Bureau came a long way looking at the  mandates, especially, for being responsible in promoting protection of global environment and advancement of the right of people. She highlighted that this workshop aims to capacitate the EMB Regional and Central Offices’ technical working group in the engagement of newest strategy and techniques as the resource persons from the US Environmental Protection Agency and UP-IESM will share their expertise and experiences, as well as, how they cope up with the environmental situation. Furthermore, she pointed out that by the end of this workshop all EMB Regional Offices and Central Office will re-echo their learnings to co-policy implementors that will strengthen and made a remarkable impact in the Bureau.

Moreover, Engr. Marcelino N. Rivera, Jr., Officer-In-Charge of EMB Environmental Quality Management Division (EQMD) gave the opening message and congratulated Air Quality Management Section for arranging the five (5)-day workshop in line with set of activities that will be part of the program’s primary objective which is to widen the understanding in the specific topic including siting criteria, data handling in ambient air quality, airshed designation, area sources emission inventory, EMB Regional Offices’ updates on airshed designation as well as their WFP for 2022-2024. As he ended his message, he gratefully thanked the resource persons as they do their shares to be part of achieving cleaner air and better environment for future generations.

Furthermore, Engr. Jundy T. Del Socorro, Chief of the EMB EQMD Air Quality Management Section, expressed his gratitude to the Asst. Dir. Engr. Vizminda A. Osorio, Division and Section Chiefs from Air Quality from regions, Regional Directors and all airshed focal persons to the conduction of this National Workshop as part of AQMS training series. In addition, he discussed the objectives and outputs of the training, that is to know latest policies and introduction of code of federal regulations from US-EPA, where, RA 8749 was patterned from and directions of air quality monitoring, latest policies on ambient air quality monitoring, federal reference method, federal equivalent methods and upcoming sensors from US-EPA, problems encountered, emission inventory as the backbone of airshed management, AP 42, data handling and siting criteria. He also pointed out that all ROs should review their predesignated airshed updates both administrative, financial and technical as well as the adoption of new working ideas from the relevant experiences expounded by case studies of the speakers from US-EPA and academe partner from UP-IESM.

He also mentioned the expected output of this workshop for EMB regional offices as well as the central office to be able to be refreshen, in accordance to introduction of latest policies and all will be required to present the proposed predesignated updates on airshed and action plans, consider checking the backlogs and the designation itself of the airsheds as well as the continuous emission monitoring system resulting to harmonization with the (ten) 10-Year Road Map of the Department.

Moreover, the discussion of Airshed Checklist Accomplishment using prescribed checklist report format and templates were presented by Engr. Wyona Kay C. Rativo, Environmental Management Specialist II from the Air Quality Management Section, providing templates for regional offices perusal and for airshed designation uniformity. In addition, Engr. Paul Nathan B. Vallar, Environmental Management Specialist II from the Air Quality Management Section, discussed the assessment results of Central Office on the airshed designation by ROs, as well as the issues encountered in the ambient air quality monitoring. Mr. Joel Michael A. Tugano, Senior Environmental Management Specialist from the Air Quality Management Section, explained the process of designation of attainment and non-attainment airshed areas based on DMC 2005-013, from method of equipment to be used, data capturing, and respective conditions to comply in the attainment and non-attainment areas using 3,2,1 year air quality data. In addition, EMB regional offices presented their airshed checklist accomplishment using the given prescribed checklist.

On 21 September 2021, Dr. Alison Simcox, Air Quality Expert from United States Environmental Protection Agency Region I, presented the latest policies on ambient air quality monitoring, reference methods using federal methods, equivalent methods and explained the use and how to evaluate air quality sensors. Mr. Justin Spenillo, Lead Region Coordinator for the Office of Air and Radiation from United States Environmental Protection Agency Region X, shared the US experiences in airshed designations composing of relevant case studies, new policies imposed and also the problems encountered.

Dr. Gerry Bagtasa, Professor II from University of the Philippines – Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, explained the effects of temperature inversions, wind velocity, altitude, sea and land breeze, as well as the cloud formations on air quality condition. Whereas, Dr. Mylene G. Cayetano, Associate Professor VI from University of the Philippines – Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, explained the benefit of utilization of Source Apportionment studies in airshed assessment, showing advantages of Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) Approach and Conditional Probable Factor (CPF), stating that number of samples should always be greater than number of chemical pollutants found in a sample. Herewith, was Engr. Chadbert Nikko D. Aquino, Environmental Management Specialist II from the Air Quality Management Section, who expounded the function, fundamental process and advantages of utilization and knowledge about Siting Criteria used for Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations and consecutively shown a presentation of Data Handling for Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations explaining Handling Protocols for Criteria Pollutants by Mr. Tugano, highlighting the EMB MC 2021-07 stating conditions to comply in order to know if the data is a representative or not, also he provided assessment on submitted air quality data by ROs and gave relevant recommendations and way forward such as implementation of Adopting Air Quality Monitoring Stations, proposed Outsourcing of Air Monitoring Stations within airshed and also proposed policies.

On 22 September 2021, Mr. Bob McConnell, Air Quality Program Planner from United States Environmental Protection Agency Region I, presented the latest US-EPA Emission Inventory (EI) and AP 42 Emission Factors pointing out the overview of US-EPA’s National Emission Inventory (NEI) process from who and how are emission datum were collected. He explained that both joint forces of Federal Government and US-EPA collects the data by states, whereas it focuses on collection of emission data from large scaled stationary sources that should comply with 50 emission estimates of data each stationary source facilities wherein these group of data go straight to Emission Inventory System (EIS) Data Base and then collected and compiled by the US-EPA itself. On the other hand, Mr. Leiran Biton, Regional Dispersion Modeler from United States Environmental Protection Agency Region I, shared his knowledge regarding the use of Air Dispersion Modelling Guidelines and the types of model software so called the preferred and alternative models where Aermod and OCD belong in the preferred group while Calpuff and CMAQ as alternative models. Also, Ms. Stacey Zintgaff, Environmental Engineer from United States Environmental Protection Agency Region I, shown the latest CEMS/COMS policies in circulation in the US and case studies about the experiences they encountered which were further expounded by Mr. Jeremy Schreifels, Manager of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Emission Monitoring Branch.

In addition, Engr. Angelo F. Villegas, Site Engineer from the Air Quality Management Section, presented the Assessment of the Regional and Airshed Emission Inventory and explained the utilization of EI Databank. In connection, it was followed by introduction of EI concepts composing of Stationary lead by Engr. Vallar pointing out that it uses same formula which other sources used the E=AR X EF, where EF as the Emission Factor and it is constant and AR as the Activity Rate that can be sorted and gathered by two approaches the so called Top Bottom where we use published data of AR from industry sources while Bottom Up stating that we are the one getting data directly from the source. This was followed by Engr. Shaun Jasper Go, Site Engineer from the Air Quality Management Section, who explained technical things about Mobile Sources highlighting phenomenon in a motor vehicle such as the Hot start, Cold Start, Evaporative Emissions and same goes with Engr. Villegas explaining the Area Sources and where to get AR depending on the scenario or phenomenal activities and agency to come for AR data collection.

Furthermore, the Regional Offices presented their Airshed Accomplishment including:

  1. Updates on Airshed Pre-Designation Activities

-Airshed Area Sources

-GIS Spatial Distribution

-Carrying Capacity

-Consolidation of Air Quality Monitoring Data

  1. Proposed 2022-2024 AQMF WFP
  2. Presentation of Updated Airshed 5-Year Action Plan

On 23 September 2021, the policy directions were elaborated by Central Office speakers initiated by Engr. Go that presented Draft Emission Factors for Mobile Sources, presentation of Draft MC for Airshed Outsourcing expounded by Engr. Rativo, presentation of Draft MC for Sensors by Mr. Tugano, presentation of Draft DAO CEMS Audit Providers Accreditation Guidelines by Engr. Mae Ann Gatchallan, Site Engineer from the Air Quality Management Section, explaining terms and conditions in accreditation of third party source emission testing firms and followed by Engr. Vallar who presented the 10-Year Road Map where he pointed out that the attainment of this road map in a span of 10 years is one of the EMB’s dream for future air quality if all will do their individual shares and cooperate and be in lined with the compliance of this 10-Year Road Map mainly in regards with the Airshed and Air Quality Management.

On 24 September 2021, Mr. Felix Brylle P. Domingo, Site Engineer from the Air Quality Management Section, presented the Summary of Agreements and Brief Recap from Days 1-5 of the National Workshop highlighting relevant and very important details from various comprehensive topics and ideas that have been learned from foreign and local speakers. Furthermore, EMB Assistant Director Engr. Vizminda A. Osorio delivered the closing remarks and thanked all the attendees in this virtual platform from different regions, and shown her gratitude to US-EPA speakers  for giving time in sharing their latest policies and fresh new ideas despite of their busy schedule, they still managed to share their knowledge in the wide aspect of Air Quality and Airshed Management and give credits also to the academe partner from UP-IESM for sharing their expertise that made the Bureau inspired by the overwhelming support from them. Before she closed the program, she pointed out that the action will always begin with ourselves and these new policies could capacitate all technical staffs from ROs that will play vital outcomes in the future of Air Quality and Airshed Designation Management.