Press Release
January 24, 2020

Villar raises need to ban single-use plastic before Manila Bay Task Force

Sen. Cynthia Villar raised anew the proposal to ban single-use plastic in a gathering of the heads of agencies tasked to clean and rehabilitate Manila Bay.

During the 2nd Principals' Meeting and Conference of the Manila Bay Task Force held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila, Villar pointed at plastic waste as the most alarming environmental issue.

"Ang plastic ang isa sa pinaka-malubhang nakakapinsala sa ating kapaligiran at pumapatay sa mga yamang dagat. Alam natin lahat iyan dahil sa lahat ng mga cleanups, puro plastic wastes ang nako-collect natin," Villar said in her remarks.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, also noted that despite the move of some cities to ban plastics in their localities, the enormity of the problem calls for a nationwide ban, which is also favored by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The lady senator also said she will start the public hearing on the bill she authored, Senate Bill 333 or the Single-Use Plastic Product Regulation Act, which seeks to regulate the manufacturing, importation, and single-use of plastic products.

Also under the bill, the issuance of the single-use plastics by food establishments, stores, markets, and retailers will be prohibited. Consumers will also be diverted to use reusable materials and manufacturers will be mandated to collect, recycle and dispose of single-use plastics manufactured and/or in circulation in the general market. Importation of single-use plastics will no longer be allowed.

"We also seek to amend the 20-year-old Solid Waste Management Act to include the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility which will require the manufacturers using plastic materials in their packaging to be responsible in recovering the plastic wastes," Villar added.

The principals' meeting was held ahead of the celebration of the first anniversary of the Battle for Manila Bay on January 26. The achievement of the task force was highlighted during the meeting, including the drop in fecal coliform levels in some areas of Manila Bay from billions to hundreds of thousands, and the successful relocation of informal settlers.

Environment Secretary and Manila Bay Task Force Chairperson Roy Cimatu thanked the members of the task force and the people who conduct daily clean-ups in the bay.

"What we started here is the beginning of something transformative for the Philippines--a true revolution. Let the battle for Manila Bay rage on!," Cimatu said.

The Manila Bay Task Force was created by Administrative Order 16 signed by President Duterte on February 19, 2019. The basis of the AO is the writ of continuing mandamus issued by the Supreme Court in December 2008 directing 13 agencies and private entities to clean up, rehabilitate, preserve, restore, and maintain the waters of Manila Bay to a level that is fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact-recreation.

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