The State and the State of the Environment in the Philippines The clamor for environmental preservation became stronger when the issues of global warming and environmental degradation took centerstage. All around the world, states have been doing their best to pass legislations that would protect the environment for the use of the future generation. Hence, the concept of sustainable development has also developed in response to the global issue—something that the past development planners did not focus too much on. Because of the state of the environment and natural resources, sustainable development and conservation measures gained emphasis in development planning.
The Philippines is one of the countries to develop an extensive plan in saving the natural resources of the country. According to the most recent development plan of the country, a healthy, ecologically balanced, productive, resilient, and sustained environment is one of the primary foci of the state.1 In order for this vision to be achieved, it is the responsibility of the Philippine state to provide a clear framework and solid measures that the rest of the constituents of the county will follow. In this regard, an explicit plan to save the environment will be worthless unless the state can carry out necessary functions to ensure the plan’s success, such as capability to provide the needs of the sector and a strong sanctioning characteristic. This essay now argues that the state must be strong enough to enforce the laws intended for development and not just strong enough to construct development plans. This is exceptionally true in the environmental state of the Philippines, where the state had not been performing well over the years.
p. 304, Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016
Environmental Laws in the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 An entire chapter was dedicated in the preservation and conservation of the natural resources of the Philippines, meaning that environment is one of the foci of the Philippine state when it comes to development. Aside from describing the current state of the environment, Chapter 10 had presented a strategic framework to pursue the goals and strategies for the environment. Finally, the chapter forwarded several legislations that are imperative in the achievement of the vision for the sector. Of all these segmentations in the chapter, this section focused on the legislative agenda that the state should be pursuing. There are twenty legislative agenda that the chapter mentioned—each of them focusing on a specific area of need in the sector. For example, the PAG-ASA Modernization Bill attends to the technological reforms that the agency needs2; the Marine Protected Area Bill mandates the local government to establish protected marine areas in their respective waters3; and the National Land Use Bill to put in order the national laws on land use and to prevent the unscrupulous conversion of land into functions other than what it must be4. Due to the numerous priority bills that should be passed for the development of the sector, it is expected that some people may find it difficult, or even impossible. This is where the power and role of the state comes in—to ensure that these laws will be passed.
Yet more than these bills is the role of the state to make sure that these legislations will be followed and those who will disobey will be punished to the full extent of the law. Specifically, the management of the sector of the environment lies in the shoulders of the
p. 35, PDP 2011-2016
Department of Environment and Natural Resources.5 It is through the DENR that the Philippine state presupposes its role of managing and protecting the natural environment.6 Aside from the DENR, the Congress also plays a part in the power of the state to enforce these legislations However, as evident in the next section, it seems that the Philippine state is weak on the subject.
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