Press Release
July 26, 2023

CO-SPONSORSHIP SPEECH
Committee Report No. 19

An Act Establishing a National Energy Policy and Regulatory Framework for Facilities Utilizing Waste-to-Energy Technologies

Good afternoon Mr. President and distinguished colleagues:

It is my honor and privilege to co-sponsor Senate Bill No. 2267 under Committee Report No. 91,or the "Waste-to-Energy Act."

Mr. President, our country has been facing major environmental issues including challenges on solid waste management. Based on data from the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the country created solid waste from 9.07 million metric tons in 2000 to 16.63 million metric tons in 2020. Alarmingly, this consistent growth in solid waste is projected to reach 24.50 million metric tons in 2045. Without additional intervention, we will be confronted with creating more garbage as the years go by.

Republic Act 9003 or the "Ecological Solid Waste Management of 2000" mandates the proper management of solid wastes at the barangay level. The poor implementation of this law possibly contributed to our steady increase in our solid waste generation. More than two decades after the enactment of the law, some, if not most, local government units have yet to strictly enforce it. Sadly, this has resulted in widespread negative environmental impact such as ground and surface water contamination, flooding, air pollution, loss of biodiversity and the spread of various diseases. Hindi maikakaila, Mr. President, na higit na ramdam ngayon ang pinsala ng mga bagyo at sakuna kung ihahambing sa mga nakaraang dalawpu o tatlumpung taon. . Tunay na ang kakulangan sa tamang pamamahala sa basura at mga kampanya sa pagpapalaganap ng kaalaman sa wastong pagtatapon ng mga ito ang nagpapalala ng mga pagbaha.

The enactment of the Waste-to-Energy Act will contribute greatly to the protection of the public's health and the environment through a systematic and comprehensive ecological solid waste management program. As contained in the proposed measure, it is the establishment of Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facilities. These will utilize available waste treatment technology while ensuring that these advancements do not emit toxic and poisonous fumes into the environment. The measure also provides that operation of WTE should be in compliance with the best existing practice of preventing and controlling pollution from waste treatment.

Mr. President, while this measure seeks to contribute to the government's effort to address our garbage crisis, it also aims to support our goal of having a sustainable energy in the country. Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act, already adopted as a policy the establishment of WTE facilities. However, there still seem to be a policy gap that needs to be filled. Currently, we only have a total of twenty-three (23) Waste-to-Energy Plants. Of this twenty-three (23), only six (6) Waste-to-Energy plants are operational, which consequently produces an aggregate capacity of 10.41 megawatts. One could only just imagine how much energy would be produced with the tons of waste-to-energy feedstock we possess, should this measure be enacted into law.

Notwithstanding the potential benefits of this measure, we should also be mindful of where we situate our WTE facilities. It is my hope that in the implementation of this measure, proper consultations are conducted with our people, especially those who are residing in potential sites before a single permit be granted.

Mr. President, this measure emphasizes that the protection of the environment should not only be the issue of one sector or department. It must be addressed employing a whole-of-nation approach. With the integration of policies of the Department of Energy, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, Local Government Units and the National Solid Waste Management Commission, we are assured that the programs are harmonized. We expect the active and maximum participation of all sectors.

Thus, I urge my colleagues to support this indisputably timely measure.

Thank you and good afternoon once again.

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