Oceana wants 'Anti-Red Tape Act' enforced in disaster response ops to avoid lapses | Inquirer News

Oceana wants ‘Anti-Red Tape Act’ enforced in disaster response ops to avoid lapses

By: - Correspondent / @mvirolaINQ
/ 10:51 AM March 15, 2023

CITY OF CALAPAN – International advocacy group Oceana has called on the national government to implement the Republic Act (RA) 9485 or the “Anti-Red Tape Act” in its disaster response operations and related agencies to avoid lapses and improve the delivery of service.

In a statement emailed to Inquirer on Wednesday, March 15, Oceana Vice President lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos said the law should be applied in the dealings within the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and other government agencies involved with disaster response.

Ramos’ statement came after the start of the Senate inquiry Tuesday afternoon (March 14) regarding the sinking of the MT Princess Empress tanker and the subsequent oil spill that it caused.


At the inquiry, Ramos said it was “appalling to hear of the lapses in procedure which regulatory agencies have allowed to take place.”


“Senator Cynthia Villar and further questioning from Senators Risa Hontiveros and Chiz Escudero revealed that MT Princess Empress had no permit to operate – so why was it cleared by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for nine voyages from ports in Bataan and Manila?” Ramos asked.

Oceana is 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 the abundance of Philippine fisheries and marine resources.

“But hats off to the very proactive Governor Humerlito Dolor and mayors of the affected municipalities in Oriental Mindoro who prioritize the welfare of their constituents. They have bravely taken on the responsibility of ensuring that their residents do not give up hope and have shown the compassion that is much needed in these particularly trying times,” said Ramos.

But “public servants and their constituents are at the receiving end of the lapses by the duty-bearers, our regulatory agencies, the consequences of which have gravely affected their livelihood, safety, and survival,” she said.

“The Anti-Red Tape Act must be made applicable to the operations of the NDRRMC as well – as it should apply to all government agencies – because they don’t seem to be aware of the services and timeline required of them especially when disasters occur,” said Ramos.

RA 9485 is meant to improve efficiency in the delivery of government service to the public by reducing bureaucratic red tape and preventing graft and corruption.


The Senators expressed concern over the lack of coordinated disaster response to contain the Feb. 28 oil spill off Oriental Mindoro, which has already spread to coastal areas in three provinces and deprived thousands of fisherfolk of their livelihood.

The Senate committee on environment confirmed that the sunken tanker, which is feared to spill up to 800,000 liters of industrial-grade oil into the sea, did not have the required government permit to be allowed to sail out to sea.


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Beyond cleaning up the oil spill

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