Press Release
July 6, 2010

Zubiri seeks creation of agency for pollution control

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has proposed the creation of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will serve as the government's primary agency devoted solely to anti-pollution programs.

Zubiri said, while he recognized the function of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), being the principal agency tasked to implement the government's environmental laws and policies, which includes management of natural resources there has to be an agency that will solely deal with matters that have a relation only to the protection, preservation and enhancement of the environment.

Senate Bill No. 59, or the "Environmental Protection Act of 2010" which the Majority Leader proposed, aims to effectively control pollution by "identifying pollutants, tracing them through the entire ecological chain, observing and recording changes in form as they occur, determining the total exposure of man and his environment to toxic waste, examining interactions among forms of pollutions and identifying where in the ecological chain interdiction will be most appropriate."

Under the proposed measure, the EPA will be placed under the Executive Branch headed by a Chairman appointed by the President, and will be comprised of Regional Executive Directors who take charge of the monitoring and enforcement of environmental laws at the regional level.

The EPA will have broad powers for research, standard-setting, monitoring and enforcement with regard to five environmental hazards; air and water pollution, solid waste disposal, radiation and pesticides.

Among the other functions of the EPA include the following:

  • Establish and enforce environmental protection standards consistent with national environmental goals;

  • Advise the President and the Congress on the enactment of laws relative to the conservation of the country's natural resources and environmental protection;

  • Promulgate rules and regulations in accordance with the law governing the exploration, conservation, development, extraction, disposition, use and other activities that may cause the depletion and degradation of natural resources

  • Undertake exploration, assessment, classification and inventory of the country's natural resources using any and all available technology

  • Oversee, supervise and police natural resources which include cancellation or cause to cancel privileges and arrangements;

  • Promulgate rules and regulations for the control of water, air and land pollution; and to

  • Exercise other powers and functions and perform such other acts as may be necessary, proper or incidental to the attainment of its mandates and objectives.

The proposed measure provided EPA additional powers by transferring to the environmental agency the powers, functions, duties and responsibilities of some of the bureau offices of DENR, such as the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Protected Areas and Wildlife, Pollution Adjudication Board, and the National Water and Air Pollution Control Commission.

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