Press Release
October 17, 2011

Trillanes: Go tough on violators of environmental laws

Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV seeks to boost the campaign for environmental protection through the creation of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA). The primary task of proposed agency shall be to monitor, enforce and ensure compliance with environmental laws.

"We are now experiencing widespread environmental degradation due to years of neglect, haphazard policy-making and weak local environmental management," Trillanes explained. "Something needs to be done, lest we suffer the ill-consequences of our long-time neglect which would be further aggravated by climate change like what is now happening in Bulacan."

"While the state is bound by its commitment to protect the environment, existing laws relating to environmental protection are somewhat inadequate in terms of implementation and enforcement," Trillanes said.

Through Senate Bill No. 168, Trillanes wants a "corps of implementers" that would ensure strict compliance to environmental laws, as well as prosecute and punish violators.

The bill will create a NEPA board that will craft policies on enforcement of environmental laws.

Under the proposal, the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will serve as Chairman and the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DoJ) as the Vice Chairman. Others members are representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BoC), the Maritime Industry Authority (MIA) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Other key tasks and responsibilities of the NEPA Board are the following:

  • Formulate and implement an integrated approach to the enforcement of environmental laws.

  • Undertake the enforcement of environmental laws and investigate violators.

  • Arrest and apprehend as well as search violators and seize or confiscate the effects of the violations. For this purpose, prosecutors and enforcement officers of the agency are authorized to possess firearms in accordance with existing laws. Likewise, enforcers are authorized to enter premises for the purpose of conducting investigations.

  • Monitor, in coordination with the BOC, the Philippine Port Authority, the MIA, DENR and other agencies.

  • Prepare for the prosecution and cause the filing of appropriate criminal and civil charges against the violators. For this purpose, the agency shall coordinate with the DOJ; and

  • Recommend to the appropriate agency the forfeiture of properties and other assets belonging to the violators.

"These violators are not just transgressors of the law. Those who commit environmental crimes usually go unpunished. It is normally the people and the environment that greatly suffer from the dire consequences of their illicit acts. It is high time that we ran after these perpetrators and apply the full force of the law against them," Trillanes said.

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