The order of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) removing carbon dioxide from the list of gases monitored in motor vehicle emission tests should be made to comply with the Clean Air Act and President Aquino’s National Plan on Climate Change.
Sen. Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate oversight committee on climate change, made the assertion on learning the DOTC had removed CO2 from the emission test monitoring list.
Legarda had initially voiced concern when the order was first unveiled by then Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas.
She pointed out the Clean Air Act provides that the Philippines shall phase out ozone-depleting substances from the atmosphere.
The recently signed National Plan on Climate Change of Mr. Aquino also mandates the pursuit of environmentally sustainable transport measures, including vehicle emission controls and standards setting, the environmental watchdog ANI Kalikasan said in a press statement.
Carbon dioxide is recognized worldwide as the top air pollutant with no less than the Kyoto Protocol underscoring CO2 from motor vehicles as one of the main causes of global warming and climate change. The Philippines is a signatory to the Kyoto
In a statement, ANI Kalikasan reiterated its call to Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya to consider the issues of air pollution and climate change and their implications before implementing the department order.
ANI Kalikasan president Macario Evangelista said the DOTC had regressed in its effort to achieve better air quality from its 2005 standard when it required the testing of four gases, namely, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and oxygen.
The new DOTC order has reverted to testing three gases, dropping carbon dioxide, instead of moving up to six gases to include nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide in accordance with international standards.
In fact, Evangelista said, the provisions of the order do not reflect the recent technological and policy developments already recognized and being implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the lead agency in the implementation of the Clean Air Act.
Evangelista urged the new Transportation and Communications secretary, Joseph Emilio Abaya, to withdraw, or at least hold in abeyance, the implementation of the order pending further review, public hearings and technical studies by the DENR and private sector stakeholders.