Bong Go files bill for mandatory insurance coverage of critical environmental projects
MANILA, Philippines — An advocate of environmental protection, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has filed Senate Bill No. 1189 which seeks to establish a national framework for the mandatory insurance coverage of environmentally critical projects (ECPs).
Go stressed that it is the duty of the government to ensure the quality of life of its people through the protection of the environment that they live in.
“Proteksyunan natin ang kinabukasan ng ating bansa. Environmental protection must be prioritized in order to also protect our future,” Go emphasized.
In addition to the fact that the country’s geographical location is prone to natural disasters, the lawmaker likewise noted that despite existing measures to protect the environment, there have been various instances of man-made environmental damages in the country, such as the Marcopper mining disaster in Marinduque and the illegal logging activities in Cagayan Valley that led to a massive flooding in the region during Typhoon Ulysses.
“Bago po ako maupo sa Senado, isa po talaga sa aking prayoridad ay ang pangalagaan ang ating kalikasan. Napakalaking halaga po na mabigyan natin ng pansin ang mga isyu na ito dahil dito po tayo kumukuha ng ating mga pangangailangan at dahil ito po mismo ang nagbibigay ng buhay sa ating lahat,” stated Go.
Under the proposed measure, a national framework for Mandatory Environmental Insurance Coverage (MEIC) shall be created, which all owners and operators of ECPs are required to secure.
The measure shall likewise guarantee sufficient funding coverage for the needed restoration and compensation for the adverse environmental consequences which include damage to health and property, and costs for environmental rehabilitation, remediation, cleanup, and other environmental impairments arising from their operations.
ECPs shall include heavy industries, major manufacturing industries, major resource-extractive industries, major infrastructure projects, and other similar projects that could pose serious risks to people and the environment.
Once passed into law, the Secretary of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources shall establish and head an Inter-Agency Technical Committee (IATC), with the Commissioner of the Insurance Commission and representatives of the insurance industry, the mining industry, and other stakeholders that the DENR may deem fit, as members.
The IATC will identify the perils or possible negative environmental impacts, activities, processes or undertakings; conduct risk assessment to determine the appropriate insurance coverage for different ECPs and activities; and formulate guidelines for the identification of primary impact areas and prescription of rehabilitation or remediation environmental damages; among others.
“Ididiin ko po na dapat po natin pangalagaan ang ating kalikasan. Kahit na po may mga hakbang na tayo noon pa man, mas mainam na dagdagan o palakasin pa natin ang mga hakbang natin sa gobyerno sa pangangalaga ng kalikasan,” stressed Go.
“Alam naman po natin na pabago-bago ang ating panahon. Napakarami po nating mga environmental issues sa bansa na kailangan nating bigyang pansin. Kaya naman tiwala po ako na itong panukalang batas na ito ay isa lang sa mga paraan para mapalakas natin ang ating adbokasiya ukol sa kalikasan,” he continued.
Owners and operators of ECPs shall not be allowed to commence construction or commercial operation without initially obtaining the MEIC required under the proposed measure. In case of failure to do so, owners and operators of an ECP shall be subjected to penalty fees.
Meanwhile, government officials, employees, and agents who approve the construction or operation of ECPs without the necessary MEIC shall likewise face penalty charges.
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