Press Release
July 25, 2023

CO-SPONSORSHIP SPEECH
Senate Bill No. 2267 / Committee Report No. 91

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR FACILITIES UTILIZING WASTE-TO ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

July 25, 2023
Session Hall, Senate of the Philippines

Delivered by the Honorable Win Gatchalian, Senator of the 19th Congress:

A pleasant afternoon, Mr. President, dear colleagues.

Today, I stand before you with great enthusiasm as a cosponsor of Senate Bill Number 2267, otherwise known as the Waste-to-Energy Act--a landmark piece of legislation that holds the potential to completely transform our nation's energy resources for the better.

In the 18th Congress, this representation had the privilege of sponsoring this groundbreaking proposal while serving as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Energy. We meticulously developed this proposed measure from scratch due to the alarming garbage crisis currently plaguing the Philippines, which poses an imminent threat of irreversible harm to both our ecosystems and the lives of our fellow citizens. Central to our approach was the emphasis on the 5Rs of the Waste Hierarchy: REFUSE to generate waste, REDUCE the amount of waste produced, REUSE materials, RECYCLE waste materials, and RECOVER other uses for residual garbage.

In relation to the fifth R, RECOVER, through my travels and in-depth research, I have seen firsthand how waste-to-energy facilities have played a crucial role in numerous countries. Among the plethora of technologies available, one stands out with immense untapped potential--the utilization of waste as a feedstock for energy generation through waste-to-energy facilities.

As of 2020, over 53 countries had embraced waste-to-energy technology. Overall, these plants are currently in operation processing close to 400 million metric tons of waste per year, generating over 15.5 million megawatt hours of electricity. That is enough electricity to power almost one million homes worldwide based on average global per capita electricity consumption figures.

For instance, one cannot overlook the remarkable achievements of our ASEAN neighbor, Singapore. This world-class city-state has exemplified the transformative potential of waste-toenergy technology through the operation of its four WTE plants. In 2018 alone, these plants successfully processed an impressive 8,044 tons of waste per day. As a result, Singapore managed to reduce landfill waste volume by a staggering 80 percent, while simultaneously generating enough electricity to power over 20,000 homes.

Mr. President, the remarkable achievements set by Singapore serve as an inspiring model for the Philippines to follow. This example demonstrates that such facilities can operate efficiently and cleanly even in urban areas, without compromising the ecology or the health of the host communities.

To put things into perspective, according to the Department of Energy, our country currently has six operational plants with an aggregate capacity of 10.41 megawatts while another seventeen are on-going projects with a corresponding aggregate capacity of 49.78 megawatts.

These figures clearly show that we have yet to fully capitalize on the enormous potential that waste-to-energy offers for our country. By passing the Waste-to-Energy Act, we can address multiple challenges simultaneously. We can significantly curb environmental concerns associated with waste disposal, while also generating clean and renewable energy to meet our growing power demands.

Foremost, the bill recognizes the importance of safeguarding against potential environmental and health concerns associated with waste-to-energy operations. To achieve this, the legislation outlines the specific powers and responsibilities of key government agencies within a comprehensive whole-of-government waste-toenergy framework. These agencies include the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the Department of Energy, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Health, among others.

By clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of these agencies, the bill establishes a robust regulatory framework. This framework ensures that waste-to-energy operations are carried out with the highest standards of environmental protection and public health in mind. Through effective oversight and coordination among relevant government bodies, we can mitigate potential risks and ensure that waste-to-energy facilities operate in a manner that is both environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.

Furthermore, this bill strives to achieve enhance investor interest and instill confidence in the development of WTE facilities within the Philippines. Specifically, this bill will empower local government units to enter into clustering agreements with nearby LGUs, long-term contracts, and even public-private partnerships for the construction and operation of common WTE facilities. Allowing these arrangements will produce economies of scale for interested developers but will also lead to lower processing fees for the LGUs.

Mr. President, it is also crucial to remember that the intent of the Waste-to-Energy Act is to empower LGUs, providing them with the option to adopt WTE technology if it is deemed feasible and suitable for their specific circumstances. This bill respects the autonomy of LGUs and does not impose a mandate for them to establish WTE plants against their will.

In conclusion, I express my heartfelt gratitude to the sponsor of this bill and chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, Senator Raffy Tulfo, who has played a pivotal role in championing this important measure. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the esteemed authors of this legislation: Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., and Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino, whose valuable insights and contributions have been instrumental in shaping this bill.

The urgency to act cannot be overstated. We have a responsibility to safeguard our environment and secure a sustainable future for our nation. The Waste-to-Energy Act serves as a vital tool to mitigate the damage caused by the garbage crisis and pave the way for a cleaner, healthier, and more resilient Philippines.

Thank you very much, Mr. President, distinguished colleagues.

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