Rep. Paolo Duterte asks House action on single-use plastics bill
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has urged his fellow House of Representatives members to act on the proposal to regulate single-use plastics, a pivotal legislation to combat one of the most pervasive pollutants.
Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, in a statement on Thursday, referred to House Bill (HB) No. 507, which he co-authored with ACT-CIS Reps. Edvic Yap and Jocelyn Tulfo, Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Ralph Wendel Tulfo, and Benguet Rep. Eric Yap.
The bill was filed last June 30, 2022, and was forwarded to the House Committee on ecology on July 26, 2022.
“As we mark Earth Day on April 22, I urge my colleagues in Congress to act on this bill and similar other pending measures so that we can finally phase out single-use plastic products, which remain among the most pervasive kind of waste that pollute our land, choke our oceans and bring harm to our precious marine resources,” Duterte said.
The lawmaker said that the use of single-use plastics must be regulated, given that the Philippines has been one of the world’s significant sources of plastic that pollutes bodies of water.
A 2021 study from the Ocean Cleanup, a Netherlands-based environmental non-government organization, discovered that the Philippines accounts for 36 percent of the plastics in the world’s oceans.
“This is equivalent to 60 billion plastic sachets per year, majority of which are single-use plastics such as plastic drinking bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic grocery bags, plastic lids, straws and stirrers, other types of plastic bags, and foam take-away containers,” Duterte said.
If HB No. 507 is enacted, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and the National Solid Waste Management Commission will be tasked to assess if single-use plastics are:
- high in replaceability
- low in recyclability
- low in retrievability
The DENR would then determine which plastics should be phased out.
“Such measures shall include national consumption reduction, waste recovery targets, and other measures ensuring that reusable and compostable alternatives to single-use plastic products are made available, and that the said products are not free of charge at the point-of-sale to the final consumer,” the bill’s authors said.
Similarly, the bill encourages the use of compostable plastic or products that can be biodegradable.
“The Department of Finance (DOF), DILG, and DTI is tasked under the bill to establish mechanisms that will provide fiscal and non-fiscal rewards and incentives to encourage manufacturers, importers, sellers, and end-users to participate in programs geared towards phasing out single-use plastics,” they added.
Duterte said that the House has not yet approved any measure phasing out single-use plastics, noting that only an excise tax proposal has been approved.
The lawmaker was referring to House Bill (HB) No. 4102 or the Plastic Bags Tax Act, which was approved on the third reading last November 2022.
Under the bill, violators will face a penalty of P50,000 to P500,000 for micro businesses using single-use plastics that have been phased out and P250,000 to P1 million for small, medium, and large enterprises (SMEs).
Business permits may also be revoked depending on the gravity of the violations.
With reports from Aliah Gumasing, INQUIRER.net trainee