Thursday, October 29, 2009

Philippine Congress to pursue stronger environmental reforms

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives will continue to pursue policy reforms needed to strengthen government’s environmental protection and promotion programs, Speaker Prospero Nograles said on Thursday.

"Nature's wrath exempts no one. The devastation and sufferings wrought by the floods only reflect the extent of injury man has inflicted on mother earth," Nograles said.

He also lauded President Gloria Arroyo's recent enactment of the "Climate Change Act of 2009" as a concrete and clear resolve of government to give priority to the issue of climate change.

"The enactment of the Climate Change Act symbolizes the Philippines' ascent to being an active participant and partner in the global collective action to protect Mother Earth and save our future generations," Nograles said.

At the same time, the House leader said that Congress or government could only do as much as the people’s collective and cohesive actions to protect the environment.

"It's what each of us does everyday. The simple proper disposal of plastic food wrappers is as important as the multi-million garbage disposal programs of the national and local governments," he added.

Nograles noted that the House of Representatives has passed and sent to the Senate for its proper appreciation numerous measures including some 161 national and 782 local bills of various concerns.

"Of the 161 national House-approved bills pending in the Senate, around eleven bills deal with environmental issues," Nograles revealed noting statistics from the Committee on Rules chaired by Majority Leader Arthur Defensor.

"We have more proposed measures on environmental concerns," Defensor said, affirming the Speaker’s advocacy to put premium on environment protection and promotion.

Among the environment-related legislative initiatives endorsed to the Senate by the House plenary are, among others, the following:

1. HB 5990 - Marine and Coastal Resources Protection Act of 2009;
2. HB 6364 - Lake Development and Management Act of 2009;
3. HB 6403 - Small Islands Development and Management Act of 2009;
4. HB 6409 - Geology Profession Act of 2009;
5. HB 4419 - Environment Planning Act of 2008;
6. HB 3590 - Adopt a Wildlife Species Act of 2008;
7. HB 5207 - Subdivision Green Parks Act of 2008;
8. HB 5219 - Philippine Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes Management Act of 2007;
9. HB 5228 - Fire Protection Modernization Act of 2008;
10. HB 5792 - Sustainable Forest Management Act of 2008; and
11. HB 233 - Revival of Arbor Day

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