Ways of Empowering the Environment through Court Injunctions, explained during SEARCA ADSS
The newly approved rules of procedure for environmental cases particularly the “Writ of Kalikasan” was discussed during the Agriculture and Development Seminar Series (ADSS), held last 21 September 2010 at SEARCA. The resource speakers of the seminar were Atty. Eleno O. Peralta, Atty. Roberto V. Oliva, and Dir. Allan L. Leuterio.
Atty. Peralta, Chair of the Department of Social Forestry and Forest Governance, discussed the environmental policy landscape of the Philippines as well as the background, objectives, and salient features of the Writ of Kalikasan. He articulated that the Writ of Kalikasan is a remedy aimed to stop the commission of acts which result to environmental damage. According to him, citizens’ participation through citizen’s suits is now provided to highlight the accountability mechanism of our environmental laws.
Constitutional provisions on the environment and application of the Writ of Kalikasan in actual cases were presented by Atty. Oliva, Chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Laguna Chapter-Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Cases of Timber License Agreements (TLAs), Laguna de Bay, Bantayan Island, and Rainwater Catchment Pond were cited in his presentation. He emphasized that even minors have the right to sue in their own behalf and even in behalf of generations yet unborn under the concept of “Intergenerational Responsibility.”
Dir. Leuterio, Regional Director of Environmental Management Bureau, Region 4A-DENR, discussed the case of Manila Bay. The issue is the clean-up, rehabilitation, and protection of the Bay. This demonstrates how citizens compel the authorities to perform their duties under our environmental laws.
Present in the seminar were Hon. Caesar P. Perez, Vice Governor of Laguna; Hon. Girlie J. Ejercito, Mayor of Pagsanjan; Dr. Francisco F. Peñalba, SEARCA’s Deputy Director for Administration; and Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon, Dean of the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM). More than a hundred attended the seminar, including participants from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Local Government Units (LGUs), National Government Agencies (NGAs), and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).
The objective of the seminar is to heighten the community’s awareness on the legal ways and means of protecting our environment. It was organized by SEARCA and the SESAM, through the ENS 275 WritKal Group.