PH seeks to address plastic pollution, mobilize youth to pursue climate justice – Legarda

June 10, 2021

MANILA, 10 June 2021 — Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda discussed the movements in the efforts of the Philippines to its commitment in accordance with Decision 1/CP.21 of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through its submitted Nationally Determined Contributions.

In her speech yesterday during the roundtable discussion of COP26 climate defenders with the UK Embassy, Legarda highlighted the country’s initiatives to ban single-use plastics and the critical role of youth in environmental protection and climate action.

“The House of Representatives has recently passed on 2nd reading House Bill 9147, which is a measure I co-authored that seeks to phase out and eventually ban single-use plastics over a period of four years, with some, earlier within one year,” Legarda started.

Citing the recent study of The Ocean Cleanup organization which named the Philippines as the world’s top plastic-emitting country into the ocean with Pasig, Tullahan, and Meycauayan Rivers among the rivers that carry the most amounts of trash and plastic into our seas, the lawmaker expressed dismay over the country’s lack of compliance with the Republic Act 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act which was passed into law two decades ago.

“There is still no updated National Solid Waste Management Framework, and twenty years after the RA 9003’s passage, there are still no concrete guidelines and relevant action plans geared towards the implementation of the phase-out of non-environmentally acceptable products or packaging,” she emphasized.

Legarda recently filed House Resolution No.1829 urging the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry and audit of the National Solid Waste Management Commission and relevant national government agencies in relation to the implementation of the said law and its provision on non-environmentally acceptable products or packaging.

She also filed House Bill 9181 or the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Law which seeks to develop and implement an ecosystem and natural accounting system and which will give importance to the role, value, and impact of our country’s natural resources on the economy.

These are aligned with the Climate Change Commission’s (CCC) nationwide Anti Single-Use Plastic Campaign, supported by the Department of Finance and several government agencies and stakeholders, which seeks to ban single-use plastics nationwide as a way to advance sustainable solid waste practices and curb plastics pollution.

When asked about the role of the youth, Deputy Speaker Legarda said that the youth are very much engaged in climate justice and preservation especially on the digital stage. She specifically mentioned the partnership with the Climate Change Commission and the Department of Education for her online series, Stories for a Better Normal.

Moreover, Legarda believed that the general public and youth’s engagement is crucial in the environmental commitment of the country. She enumerated that climate defenders should support schools and youth organizations to champion the climate and environmental measures like Solid Waste Management, backyard gardens, sustainable lifestyle, among others; organize parallel RTDs for younger audiences to “stocktake” on their views on big issues like GHG avoidance, carbon markets, and adaptation solutions – in the context of participation, inclusion and “intergenerational equity”; assist in ripening youth’s views into appropriate executive or legislative measures; optimize the Sangguniang Kabataan to mobilize youth initiatives.

She also highlighted that stakeholders also play a role by accelerating public awareness of the legislative measures at the household and industry levels; connect stakeholders like enterprises to discuss and develop community-level actions in coordination with LGUs, including feedback for program implementation; and file resolution outlining Philippine resolve to urge the robust delivery of support under the Agreement, with support from other champions from the private sector like energy, industry, local development, based on pathways under the Nationally Determined Contributions.

“I have been working closely with Climate Reality Project and we see the young, bright minds of the youth. I see that the youth are already the leaders of today. They fully understand the laws that I enacted and are practicing them today. Mag recycle, collect rainwater, recycle paper, make organic compost from food waste, promote zero waste. Pag-usapan at isulat how we grow, save our own food and seeds. These are few steps in saving our environment.” Legarda closed. ###