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THE HOUSE Committee on Ecology chaired by Palawan Representative (Rep.

) Vicente
A. Sandoval, Committee on Appropriations chaired by Rizal Rep. Gilberto M. Duavit and
Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Quezon Rep. Danilo A. Suarez have
submitted to House Speaker Manuel Billar, Jr. House of ReprCommittee Report No. (CR
No.) 141 on December 29, 1998, recommending to the Speaker the approval of House
Bill (HB) No. 6216, entitled An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Air Pollution
Control Policy, and for Other Purposes, in substitution of HB Nos. 129, 730, 1016 and
1121 which were introduced by Rep. Nereus Acosta of Bukidnon, Rogelio Sarmiento of
Compostela, Leonardo Montemayor of ABA, Alex Bascug of Adugan del Sur, Ma.
Amelita Villarosa of Occidental Mindoro, Ma. Catalina Loreto-Go of Leyte, Narciso
Monfort of Iloilo, Ayong Maliksi of Cavite, Heherson Alvarez of Isabela, Dante Liban of
Quezon City, Zenaida Ducut of Pampanga, Alfredo Abueg of Palawan, Marcial Punzalan
of Quezon, Julita Villareal-Lorenzo and Ma. Elena Palma Gil of Davao Oriental.
The authors of the measure, which shall be known as the Philippine Clean Air Act of
1998, stated in their declaration of principles that recognizing that the right of the people
to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature is a
fundamental right of the citizens inextricably linked to their basic right to life.
They added that, in order to survive as a people, the state will guarantee and protect the
rights of the citizens to breathe clean air, equitably share in the use and enjoyment of all
natural resources without depriving the future generations of their right to use and enjoy
these resources, participate in the environmental policy formulation, planning,
management, monitoring and enforcement activities of the state, participate in the
decision-making process concerning development projects or activities that may have
adverse impact on the environment.
Furthermore, they stated that the citizens should also be guaranteed in their right to be
informed on the nature and extent of the potential hazard posed by a project, activity or
event which include the community-right-to-know and be alerted of alarming rise in
pollution level, accidental or deliberate release into the atmosphere of harmful or
hazardous substances, the right to access to public or private records necessary for the
complete assessment of environmental risks, the right to bring action in court or quasijudicial bodies to enjoin all activities in violation of environmental laws and regulations,
to compel the rehabilitation and cleanup of affected area, and to seek the imposistion of
penal sanctions against violators of environmental laws, and the right to bring action in
court for compensation of personal damages resulting from the adverse environmental
impact of a project or activity.
Rep. Sandoval said in explaining the necessity of passing the measure: The concerns of
air pollution, together with water and waste, are generally dealt with Presidential Decree
(PD) No. 984 and the law, it being passed in 1976, is apparently deemed to be irrelevant
and non-responsive to the demands of the present times. Likewise, he also added that it
being made too general, it expectedly cannot sufficiently meet the parameters on air
pollution, hence translating loopholes in the implementation of the law. Therefore, to
address these loopholes, this measure (the Clean Air Act) which focuses on

stationary/industrial and mobile sources, including fuel - is sought to be passed,


Sandoval explained.
One of the measures main objectives, as submitted by the committee, is the
strengthening of the Environmental Mangement Burueau (EMB) of the Department of
Environment and Natural resources (DENR) as the lead agency responsible for the
comprehensive air pollution control program of the government. The measure also hopes
to enlist the active participation of the local government units (LGUs) and other nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in the crusade against air pollution.
At the resumption of the sessions on January 18, 1999, after its Christmas break, the
House is expected to immediately start deliberation of the measure on the floor with
varied views and reactions pouring in from the legislators who have been opposing the
bill.
It will be recalled that days before the 10th Congress of the Philippines adjourned sine
die in July 1998, the Bicameral Conference Committee submitted Joint Conference
Committee Report consolidating HB No. 8622 and Senate Bill (SB) No 2033 (the Clean
Air Act of 1987) for ratification by both the House and the Senate. However, it was only
Senate that ratified the report while the House failed to do so for lack of material time.
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