Petitioners welcome SC issuance of Writ of Kalikasan, Writ of Continuing Mandamus vs. National Solid Waste Management Commission and agencies on plastic pollution lawsuit
Press Release Date: December 17, 2021
“The Petitioners welcome and consider the Resolution and the immediate action by the Supreme Court meaningful in the imperative fight against the plastic crisis. The issuance of the Writs by the Supreme Court, and the referral to the Court of Appeals for hearing and reception of evidence, is indication that the Court stands by its affirmed human stewardship of the planet,” said Atty. Camille Parpan, counsel for the petitioners.
In its Resolution dated December 7, 2021, the Supreme Court resolved to issue the Writ of Kalikasan and Writ of Continuing Mandamus, as prayed for by the fifty-two (52) petitioners from non-government organizations including Oceana, the youth sector, fisherfolk, divers, waste pickers, local lawmakers, and former Senator Sergio Osmeña III, filed against the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) and its member-agencies for utter neglect on their mandate to implement the 21-year-old Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The respondents which included the NSWMC and its members Environment secretary Roy A. Cimatu, Trade secretary Ramon M. Lopez, Science and Technology secretary Fortunato dela Peña, Health secretary Francisco Duque III, Public Works secretary Roger Mercado, Agriculture secretary William Dar, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) CEO Benhur Abalos, among others, are required to make a Verified Return and Comment on the Petition before the Court of Appeals within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days from receipt of the writs.
The case was referred to the Court of Appeals for acceptance of the Verified Return and Comment and for hearing, reception of evidence and rendition of judgment. The Supreme Court however denied the prayer for the ex-parte Temporary Environmental Protection Order.
“The Petitioners shall await the copy of the Respondents’ Verified Return and shall extensively prepare for the hearing on the petition. In the meantime, Oceana Philippines International and its fellow petitioners reiterate the urgency and importance of concrete action to stop the plastic pollution at the very source and opting for non-plastic alternatives. While the case is still pending determination by the courts, it is important that everyone contributes in solving the plastic crisis,” said Parpan.
For Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice President of Oceana, the Supreme Court’s decision was “a huge first step to change mindsets and embed the protection of our ocean. This is indeed a very special case that merits the attention and needed action from every Filipino.”
“This sets a solid foundation and precedent upon which we can build our collective efforts to battle the plastic crisis that continues to threaten our natural world including our ocean, food security, livelihood and health,” Ramos added.
A study published in Science Advances in April of this year singled out the Philippines as the largest contributor to plastic emissions in the world emits 356,371 metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste per year, which passes through 4,280 of its rivers and into the ocean. As staggering as that figure is, it represents only 8.8% of the total mismanaged plastic waste of the country, which is estimated at 4,049,670 metric tons per year.
Another study released in 2015 by Ocean Conservancy indicated that the Philippines produced 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste – of which more than half a million metric tons ended up in the ocean. According to the 2019 Waste Management Brand Audit report of the Global Alliance for Incinerators Alternatives (GAIA), the country produces 164 million pieces of sachets, 48 million shopping bags, and 45.2 million pieces of “labo” bags every day.
Oceana is an international advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans. Since 2014, Oceana has been working closely with national and local government agencies, civil society, fisherfolk and other stakeholders to restore abundance of Philippine fisheries and marine resources. (END)
For More Information:
Joyce Sierra, Communications Manager, Oceana
Mobile: 09178214430 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org