DILG’s memo emphasizing LGUs’ indispensable role in protecting the State-guaranteed right to an ecologically balanced environment a victory of the people and the ocean – Oceana
Press Release Date: March 16, 2022
International advocacy group Oceana commends the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) under the leadership of Secretary Eduardo M. Aňo for its February 17 Memorandum Circular to all local government to seriously uphold their critical role in protecting the environment and complying with the safeguards provided by existing laws and regulations including the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System (PEISS) Act to projects which compromise the right of the people to an ecologically balanced environment. This covers the pervasive dump-and-fill projects, also known as reclamation, nationwide.
The Fisheries Code as amended declares that “All government agencies as well as private corporations, firms and entities who intend to undertake activities or projects which will affect the quality of the environment shall be required to prepare a detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prior to undertaking such development activity. The preparation of the EIS shall form an integral part of the entire planning process pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1586 as well as its implementing rules and regulations.”
Local governments are prohibited from using the controversial Letter of No-Objection (LONO) without complying with the requirements of the PEISS. This covers environmentally critical projects such as dump-and-fill and environmentally critical areas such as water bodies and those with mangroves, corals and fisheries.
Under the Local Government Code, RA 7160, environmental protection is a devolved mandate of local governments.
“This Memorandum Circular is a victory for our ocean and for our poor fisherfolk in coastal communities that have been displaced and suffered the devastation caused by these dump-and-fill projects in coastal communities. Oceana and our partners’ call for strict compliance of fisheries and other environmental laws over these projects and the accountability of both national and local governments in ensuring that these go through complete and thorough planning and public consultations before being approved was heeded,” added Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice President of Oceana.
Issued on February 17, 2022, DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2022-018 reiterates the responsibility of all local government units (LGUs) over projects covered by the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System (PEISS) and provides the necessary guidelines. Violation of the circular can subject LGUs to administrative, civil, or criminal liability under existing laws.
“With this recent issuance, LGUs can no longer turn a blind eye to dump-and-fill projects that cause irreversible impact on the fisheries and rich biodiversity of our coastal and marine ecosystems from which many Filipinos depend on for food and livelihood,” said Atty. Rose-Liza Eisma-Osorio, Oceana’s Legal and Policy Director.
For More Information:
Joyce Sierra, Communications Manager, Oceana
Mobile: 09178214430 E-mail: email@example.com