Senator Chiz Escudero called on the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources and the Interior and Local Government to work more closely together in ensuring that the country’s environmental laws are strictly enforced to address environmental disasters.
“We have the necessary laws. But judging by the effects of the torrential rains that hit us, our implementors and enforcers may have been remiss in applying these laws,” Escudero said in the wake of the massive flooding that hit Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
“It cannot be business as usual anymore,” he added.
Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 was supposed to prevent or mitigate the ill effects of floods caused by solid wastes.
“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that solid wastes have found their way into our waterways and drainage systems. The amount of garbage washed ashore in Manila Bay is proof that the law has not been implemented properly,” the senator said.
He said there should be closer cooperation between DENR and DILG in working with local government units to ensure that the country’s environmental laws are complied with.
“If both national government agencies and LGUs work more closely, the garbage problem in urban centers around the country would be adequately addressed. In doing so, we can address the flood problem as well,” Escudero said.
Initial reports said 11 people died while about one million were affected by floods that were wrought by heavy monsoon rains.
“Metro Manila, for instance, is already vulnerable to flooding. But the problem is exacerbated by clogged waterways that have become garbage dumps. The problem should be addressed at the source,” Escudero said.
Earlier, the senator called for a “public-private partnership” solution to the problem of floodings.
“The best approach to the flood problem is a massive joint government-private sector initiative to address the perennial flood problem all over the country. This is the only way. Wala na dapat turuan o batuhan ng sisi. We have to get our act together,” he said.