Doctors ask Aquino to lead Metro air cleanupBy Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
THE PHILIPPINE Medical Association (PMA) on Saturday urged President Aquino to lead the campaign to clean up the polluted air in Metro Manila.
Dr. Leo Olarte, PMA vice president, said the group would mark National Anti-Corruption Day Sunday by launching a drive to gather a million signatures to ask Mr. Aquino to intervene in the worsening air pollution in the metropolis.
“It is important that our people should know that the major factor blocking the efforts to clean Metro Manila’s life-threatening air pollution is basically the rampant corruption happening in the enforcement of the Clean Act of 1999, the law that was enacted to safeguard air quality in the country,” Olarte said in a statement.
According to him, 80 percent of the air pollution in Metro Manila comes from the emission of motor vehicles that contains “green house gases” that in turn causes climate change and its manifestations like “super typhoons, massive rainfall, and flash floods.”
Aside from these green house gases, motor vehicle emissions also contain particulate matter which causes not only respiratory diseases and cancer but also cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, stroke and even sudden death, he added.
Olarte said that under the Clean Air Act of 1999, all motor vehicles must undergo mandatory emission testing before these can be registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
“However, due to massive corruption like ‘nonappearance motor vehicle testing’ and ‘kotong’ among some roadside antismoke belching units (ASBU), the spirit of the law was rendered impotent,” he added.
“This is why you see in our streets a lot of smoke belching motor vehicles emitting black, life threatening and environmentally hazardous smoke which causes diseases in humans and deadly climate changes as well,” he said.
Olarte announced that PMA and its other partners in the Kaisa sa Kalikasan at Kalusugan (KKK) alliance would launch the signature drive in Manila to ask the President “to lead our fight to clean the air in Metro Manila and save lives by addressing corruption.”
“We will also come up with a comprehensive television documentary explaining to our people our campaign in cleaning the air and why they need to support it. We believe in our President’s “Tuwid na Daan” program and we are hoping that if our President can join our fight, then we can make possible what many perceive as impossible,” Olarte said.
“I am referring to the cleaning of Metro Manila’s deadly air and together, we can do this very soon,” he added.