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On Earth Month, Rep. Duterte renews call to pass single-use plastics regulation bill

Friday, April 21, 2023

First Congressional District Communication and Information Office

On Earth Month, Rep. Duterte renews call to pass single-use plastics regulation bill

DAVAO CITY - First Congressional District Representative Paolo Z. Duterte has pressed for the passage of a measure that aims to regulate the manufacture, sale, use and importation of  single-use plastics products, in line with his advocacy of building a greener and more sustainable economy for the country’s future generations.


Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, Quezon City Second District Rep. Ralph Tulfo and ACT-CIS Partylist Reps. Edvic Yap and Jocelyn Tulfo joined Duterte’s call as the country marks  the Month of Planet Earth this April and Earth Day on April 22. 


Under House Bill (HB) 507 filed by the five lawmakers, regulating non-compostable single-use plastics also cover the distribution, recovery, collection, recycling and disposal of these products. 


“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. 


Duterte pointed out that in Davao City, an ordinance banning single-use plastics, and regulating their sale and distribution, has been in place since 2021.  His Congressional District Office in Davao City also earlier launched the "Save the Earth--No To Plastics Bags" Movement. 

  

While the House of Representatives had already approved on third and final reading a bill that would impose a P100 excise tax on every kilogram of  single-use plastic bags, a measure regulating the eventual phaseout of these and other similar products, along with the proper way of recycling and disposing of them have yet to be enacted, Duterte said. 


Duterte said their proposal under HB 507 covers other single-use plastics, such as  plastic utensils and tableware, containers, packaging, drinking straws, stirrers, sachets and pouches. Duterte and his fellow authors proposed that their use  be gradually phased out within a period of 1 to 4 years. 


HB 507 “seeks to develop an integrated and comprehensive policy for plastic waste management, particularly the regulation of the production, importation, sale, distribution, provision, use, recovery, collection, recycling, and disposal of single-use plastics,” the bill’s authors said. 


They pointed out that the Philippines is one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to marine plastic pollution, with 280,000 to 750,000 tons per year of plastic entering the oceans from the coastal areas in Manila Bay. 


“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,” the bill’s authors said. 


“As a consequence, economic growth, combined with enhanced production and consumption, is leading to higher waste generation in our country,” they added. 


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in coordination with the National Solid Waste Management Commission,  is tasked as the primary agency responsible for implementing and enforcing HB 507’s provisions when it becomes a law. 


Under the bill, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in cooperation with the DENR, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and in consultation with stakeholders, shall formulate a Consumption, Reduction and Recovery program for single-use plastic products. 


“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 states. 


Commercial establishments under the bill are required  to promote reusable, recyclable, and retrievable products in their stores; charge P5.00 from customers for every plastic bag or single-use plastic used for take-out food or delivery service, and encourage customer return of used plastic products to the store.


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. 


Together with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the DENR shall also draw up an information campaign to educate the public about the negative impact of single-use plastics on the environment and the best practices to reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover  these products. 


The bill proposes penalties ranging from  fines of P50,000 up to P500,000 for micro businesses,  and P250,000 up to P1 million for small,  medium and large enterprises (SMEs), along with the revocation of business permits, depending on the gravity of the violations committed under the measure.

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