Group Lambasts Cimatu’s Response to SC Case
Tagged secretary’s statement as ‘empty talk’
Just four (4) days after civil society organizations, communities, and individuals led by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) filed a case at the Supreme Court against the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Secretary Roy Cimatu released a statement with a promise of stricter implementation of DENR’s rules and regulations.
In an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), DENR Secretary said he will continue to implement rules to fulfill its mandate. Cimatu also focused on provisions that support his plans of stricter regulation and implementation of the Clean Air Act.
Meanwhile, PMCJ’s National Coordinator Ian Rivera is dismayed on the secretary’s response. “Cimatu’s reply is a usual standard run of the mill answer for a glaring negligence of a government agency entrusted to regulate and prevent the impacts on health and environment. The continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) that Secretary Cimatu mentioned is operated by coal plant companies but have not been monitored and examined by independent third party. In fact, it is even a suspect if they are being installed by coal plant companies since no independent body is monitoring them on a daily basis.”
The group also challenged DENR to come up and reveal all the records of CEMS of all the coal plants that have been operating since the passage of the clean air act and show all the readings on sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM10), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3).DENR should be concerned of these gases SO2, NO2 and COs. They are lethal to humans and any living creature as well as they also destroy climate.
Glenn Ymata, Energy Program officer of PMCJ also said that Cimatu’s statement is a reflection of his low prioritization on the subject matter. “Fulfilling DENR’s mandate does not only entail stricter implementation.” PMCJ believes that a lot of coal plants are being permitted to operate because of Clean Air Act’s loose character as a tool for regulation. “As secretary, he should spearhead the revisions of the Clean Air Act; its relevance, applicability and scientific accuracy in the present time,” Ymata added.
According to Cimatu, in pursuant to DENR Administrative Order No. 2013-13, a new National Ambient Air Quality Guideline Value (NAAQGV) for Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) was set last January 2016 at 50 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/Ncm) for an average of 24 hours or short term. However, based on a study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 50 micrograms per cubic meter is categorized as unhealthy and is expected to cause respiratory symptoms to sensitive individuals and aggravation of heart or lung diseases, and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary diseases and the elderly.
“Sana ay maliban sa pagsandig nila sa mga siyentipikong pag-aaral sa kalidad ng hangin mula sa planta ay maisama din nila sa pagsusuri ang kalagayan namin. Lahat ng mga sakit at kati sa katawan namin pati na pagkasira ng kapaligiran ay dulot ng maruming hangin dito sa aming lugar,” Daisy Pedraza, Vice President of Limay Concerned Citizens said.
“It is clear that DENR must be alarmed by the possible harm and impacts of its own inaction to the people. There has to be an overhaul to this regulation,” Rivera added.
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