THE PHILIPPINE CLEAN AIR ACT ra#8749
T he Philippines takes pride in being one of many countries around the world that is an active party to international commitments for the environment -- be it for biodiversity, coastal and marine resources, or to combat the effects of global warming and climate change. To step up its efforts in the enforcement of environmental laws, the Supreme Court has even designated 117 “environmental courts,” and lately, has promulgated the rules for the “Writ of Kalikasan,” the first of its kind in the world. The country has several environmental laws in existence, consistent with the Constitutional principle of providing every Filipino the right to a balanced and healthful ecology. These include laws on forestry, land management, mining, solid waste management, clean water, and clean air. Republic Act 8749, or the Clean Air Act of 1999, goes beyond “making the polluter pay.” It focuses primarily on pollution prevention rather than on control by encouraging cooperation and self-regulation among citizens and industries. It also enforces a system of accountability for adverse environmental impacts to heighten compliance to government environmental regulations. Now on its 11th year of implementation, the Philippines can truly show indicative accomplishments in its effort to improve air quality not only in Metro Manila, but also in other premier cities nationwide. Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Director Juan Miguel Cuna credits these accomplishments to a successful partnership among implementers and stakeholders. “The collaboration of government agencies, the transport and industry sectors, and civil society has largely contributed to the improvement of the country’s air quality,” Cuna stressed. The Clean Air Act is primarily implemented by the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Trade and Industry (DTI), Energy (DOE), and local government units. The country’s geographical...
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