Environmental group proposes action agenda for Duterte’s first 100 days

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 May) — An environmental group has proposed to incoming President Rodrigo Duterte a 13-point action agenda on addressing wastes and toxics in the first 100 days of his administration.

“The 13-point Action Agenda on Wastes and Toxics, if carried out, will spell a huge difference as to how the new government will tackle our persistent problem with the ever growing volume of wastes generated by our households, institutions, businesses and industries,” said Ecological Waste Coalition president Sonia Mendoza, in her letter to Duterte dated May 18, 2016

First on the list is to appoint a pro-environment and pro-people head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with notable track record in environmental protection.

“Instruct the DENR secretary to take full leadership and responsibility in ensuring that the Zero Waste agenda is put into operation by the entire government machinery,” she added.

On Monday, Duterte offered to the Communist Party of the Philippines “if they decide to join my government” the Departments of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The environmental group suggested that Duterte, in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), must stop incineration and combat waste and pollution through Zero Waste strategies and practices.

They also called on the incoming president to “convene and chair the first meeting of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) and set a comprehensive Zero Waste agenda to reduce the volume and toxicity of the country’s waste.”

The group also wants members of the NSWMC to be held accountable in the implementation of RA 9003 or the Ecological Waste Management Act, by submitting accomplishment reports.

The implementation of a “National Framework and Strategy on the Role of the Informal Sector in Waste Management” must also be prioritized under the Duterte administration, Mendoza said.

Mendoza asked Duterte to immediately order a review and analysis of the public funds utilized for waste management and recommend priority programs to back Zero Waste agenda.

She said the new administration must safeguard the proper use of government funds for capacity building programs as stated in RA 9003.

The group also called for the stoppage of activities that violate the RA 8749, or the Clean Air Act, and RA 9003, Mendoza added.

She said that they demand the suspension of the development and implementation of “proposed coal power plants” and waste-to-energy facilities.

“Instead, prioritize the development and mainstreaming of clean and renewable energy projects to meet the country’s projected energy requirements.”

The group asked Duterte to come up with policy reforms governing foreign wastes and added the country must to return the garbage to Canada.

She emphasized that Duterte must appeal to Congress to legislate laws “banning plastic bags, restricting toxic chemicals in packaging, establishing extended producer responsibility for electrical and electronic equipment and for packaging, and ensuring the public’s right to know through Pollutant Release and Transfer Register.”

The environmental group also wants early ratification and implementation of major multilateral environmental and chemical agreements as provided for in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Basel Convention Ban Amendment. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)