Lawmaker backs ConCom proposal on environmental rights

MANILA An administration lawmaker on Wednesday expressed support to the Consultative Committee's (ConCom) plan to include environmental rights in the Bill of Rights of the proposed federal charter.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said the proposal is timely considering the environmental problems hounding Boracay and other tourism destinations.

Boracay will be closed in the next six months, beginning April 26, to fast-track its clean-up and rehabilitation.

It's not only timely but a step in the right direction given the climate change threats that the country's archipelagic geography is facing, Castelo said.

This is one of the game-changing amendments to the Constitution that deserve the full support of all Filipinos, he added.

He said he will support the proposal once the draft charter is submitted to Congress, which will convene as a constituent assembly to finalize the proposed revisions.

ConCom chairman and former chief justice Reynato Puno said the new environmental provisions would include the right to clean air and clean water; right to a healthy environment and ecology; right to the preservation of ecosystems; right to be protected from activities that destroy the environment; right to sustainable development; and right to compensation for damage to environment.

It also contains the recourse to courts for immediate protection; and a stronger writ of kalikasan in the bill of rights so that it may not be subject to withdrawal or revision by Congress or the Supreme Court.

Castelo said there is a need for stronger provisions in the Charter to arrest environmental degradation.

The environment cannot protect itself from man's destructive practices. We have to protect the environment and one way to do it is to empower our people to exercise their right to a healthy life and give them recourse to the courts when these rights are violated, he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency