Press Release
November 8, 2020

Villar joins the PH in celebrating November as Environmental Awareness Month

Senator Cynthia A. Villar rallies behind the country in celebrating November as "National Environmental Awareness and National Clean Air Month," saying that protecting the environment will save us from disasters and calamities.

"Calamities are added burden to us. It can make one poorer because all efforts would be futile," stressed the chairperson of the Senate committee on environment, natural resources and climate change.

"Better results would be achieved through more people and groups' collective efforts geared towards environmental protection," emphasized Villar who has been strongly opposing projects that could result to environmental destruction and degradation.

The senator has been particularly objecting to reclamation plans along the coast of Manila Bay, which she maintains would be harmful to the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park, a declared national protected area under our Philippines laws. She noted that this could compromise the livelihood of more than 300,000 fisherfolks in nearby communities.

Regarding the country's problems on plastic wastes, Villar has been advocating to implement the extended producer responsibility (EPR), a measure being practiced in European nations to limit the use of plastic wastes and asking producers of plastic wastes to build recycling facilities for plastics.

To help in reducing the plastic wastes, the Villar Sipag Foundation has built 3 facilities nationwide that convert plastic wastes into school chairs that are being distributed to public schools and farm schools all over the country. In the spirit of EPR, the Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines is building a plastic bottles recycling facility in General Trias, Cavite that will convert plastic bottle wastes into new bottles again.

"We have a lot of plastic wastes here in Metro Manila. When disposed improperly, they could clog our drainage systems and eventually cause flooding, which in turn spreads diseases," warned Villar.

As to the observance of the National Clean Air Month, Sen. Villar conveyed that maintaining our air clean should be a part of the "new normal" that the country shall adopt following the coronavirus pandemic that the world is experiencing. She cited reports showing that the Philippines' air quality had dramatically improved since restrictions on mobility were imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"We should keep this positive momentum going. It should be part of the new normal we are talking about," said Villar while relating that she plans to review the implementation of the 21-year old Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act that aims to improve the air quality in the country.

As a legislator, she has crafted legislations to find solutions and implement strategies to address the perennial environmental problems.

Villar has previously filed Senate Resolution No. 329 or "The Plastic Waste Leakage Into The Seas" to address the problem of plastic wastes that go to the seas. She pointed out that the United Nations has called "planetary crisis" the damage caused by plastic wastes because even our food or food security is at stake with more plastic than fishes in our seas.

"I have also talked to consumer product companies who are big users of plastics to join the government's efforts towards environment protection," related Villar.

Villar has been pushing for Senate Bill No. 1331 seeking to institutionalizing the practice of Extended Producers Responsibility in waste management, taking into consideration the Senate Bill No. 333 or "Single-Use Plastic Product Regulation Act of 2019" that intends to regulate the manufacturing, importation, and single-use of plastic products.

Apart from this, the senator said that the Manila Bay protection and rehabilitation has been an important part of her legislative priorities in the Senate. She filed Senate Bill No. 334 that seeks to adopt an integrated coastal management as a national strategy to ensure the sustainable development of the coastal and marine environment and resources.

Furthermore, in 2018, Villar spearheaded the passage of RA No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (E-NIPAS) Act that declared 94 sites as protected areas, which added to the 13 already existing and bringing the total to 107 national protected areas all over the country.

November is Environmental Awareness Month by virtue of Republic Act 9512 enacted in 2008.

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