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Legarda calls for ‘environmental audit’

June 18, 2013

MAKATI CITY, Philippines–Senator Loren Legarda said she will call for an “environmental audit” by three oversight committees when the next Congress convenes in July as she agreed with observations that the Philippines has now turned into a “water world.”
The three are the oversight committees on clean water, clean air and solid waste management.
Legarda, who currently heads the committee on climate change, has openly expressed her preference to head in the 16th Congress the environment committee now being chaired by Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero.”
“Because one of the mandates of the Senate has an oversight function in the GAA (General Appropriations Act). We will really ask each and every agency responsible for that,” she said in an interview with reporters in Makati City on Tuesday.
“We will audit the implementation of the seven laws that we’ve done. I-audit natin yung mga batas, yung ating pag-pondo sa mga batas, at tingnan natin saan ba ang roadblock (Let’s audit the laws, the funding, and let’s find out where the roadblock is,” she said.
Among the laws that should be implemented, Legarda said, is the Ecological Solid Waste Management, Climate Change Act, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, and the People’s Survival Fund Law.
“The strict enforcement of the Solid Waste Management Law is very important, most especially in flood-prone areas,” she said.
The senator also cited several measures that she intends to re-file when the 16th Congress opens next month such as the Philippine River Basin System Administration Act, National Land Use Act, Preparedness in Buildings, Soil and Water Conservation Act, and Malungay Development Act.
Legarda explained that the “environmental audit” was not meant to “pin the blame” on anyone or to fight but “to see what went wrong and we can do together.”
The agencies that will be invited in the environmental audit by Congress include the Department of Environment and National Resources, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority, Climate Change Commission, Department of Education, Department of Science and Technology, concerned local government units, among others.
Legarda also agreed with some observations that the country has become a “water world” because of the floods brought by downpour the past days.
“Actually tama ka e. Water world na tayo e. We are intermittently a water world,” she said in response to a reporter’s question.
“We will be less attractive to live in kaya dapat i-decongest (so we have to decongest) Huwag na punta nang punta dito kaya ang growth centers sa mga rehiyon ay tulungan natin (We should stop migrating here (Metro Manila) that’s why we need to help the growth centers in the regions).”
Jobs in the countryside, she said, will be one of the solutions towards decongesting Metro Manila and not increase the risks here.
“At saka huwag na nating gawing basurahan ang mga ilog (Let’s not turn rivers into dumpsite). So let each LGU be responsible for his or backyard,” she added.

Source: <a href=”http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/428823/legarda-calls-for-environmental-audit“>Maila Ager, Philippine Daily Inquirer</a>