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PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

WHEREAS, the individual and, at times, conflicting, demands of population growth, urbanization, industrial
expansion, rapid natural resources utilization and increasing technological advances have resulted in a
piecemeal-approach concept of environmental protection;
WHEREAS, such tunnel-vision concept is not conducive to the attainment of an ideal environmental situation
where man and nature can thrive in harmony with one another; and
WHEREAS, there is now an urgent need to formulate an intensive, integrated program of environmental
protection that will bring about a concerted effort towards the protection of the entire spectrum of the
environment through a requirement of environmental impact assessments and statements:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested
in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree:
Section 1. Policy. It is hereby declared a continuing policy of the State (a) to create, develop, maintain and
improve conditions under which man and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each
other, (b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of Filipinos,
and (c) to insure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conducive to a life of dignity and well-being.
Section 2. Goal. In pursuing this policy, it shall be the responsibility of the Government, in cooperation with
concerned private organizations and entities, to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential
considerations of national policy, in promoting the general welfare to the end that the Nation may
(a) recognize, discharge and fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee and guardian of the
environment for succeeding generations,
(b) assure the people of a safe, decent, healthful, productive and aesthetic environment,
(c) encourage the widest exploitation of the environment without degrading it, or endangering human life,
health and safety or creating conditions adverse to agriculture, commerce and industry,
(d) preserve important historic and cultural aspects of the Philippine heritage,
(e) attain a rational and orderly balance between population and resource use, and
(f) improve the utilization of renewable and non-renewable resources.
Section 3. Right to a Healthy Environment. In furtherance of these goals and policies, the Government
recognizes the right of the people to a healthful environment. It shall be the duty and responsibility of each
individual to contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the Philippine environment.
Section 4. Environmental Impact Statements. Pursuant to the above enunciated policies and goals, all
agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including government-owned or controlled
corporations, as well as private corporations firms and entities shall prepare, file and include in every action,
project or undertaking which significantly affects the quality of the environment a detail statement on
(a) the environmental impact of the proposed action, project or undertaking
(b) any adverse environmental effect which cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented;
(c) alternative to the proposed action;
(d) a determination that the short-term uses of the resources of the environment are consistent with the
maintenance and enhancement of the long-term productivity of the same; and
(e) whenever a proposal involve the use of depletable or non-renewable resources, a finding must be
made that such use and commitment are warranted.
Before an environmental impact statement is issued by a lead agency, all agencies having jurisdiction over, or
special expertise on, the subject matter involved shall comment on the draft environmental impact statement
made by the lead agency within thirty (30) days from receipt of the same.
Section 5. Agency Guidelines. The different agencies charged with environmental protection as enumerated in
Letter of Instruction No. 422 shall, within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Decree, submit to the
National Environmental Protection Council (NEPC), their respective guidelines, rules and regulations to carry
out the provisions of Sec. 4 hereof on environmental impact assessments and statements.
ESTABLISHING AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT SYSTEM, INCLUDING OTHER
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT RELATED MEASURES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

Section 2. Environmental Impact Statement System. There is hereby established an Environmental Impact
Statement System founded and based on the environmental impact statement required, under Section 4 of
Presidential Decree No. 1151, of all agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including
government-owned or controlled corporations, as well as private corporations, firms and entities, for every
proposed project and undertaking which significantly affect the quality of the environment.

Section 4. Presidential Proclamation of Environmentally Critical Areas and Projects. The President of the
Philippines may, on his own initiative or upon recommendation of the National Environmental Protection
Council, by proclamation declare certain projects, undertakings or areas in the country as environmentally
critical. No person, partnership or corporation shall undertake or operate any such declared environmentally
critical project or area without first securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate issued by the President
or his duly authorized representative. For the proper management of said critical project or area, the President
may by his proclamation reorganize such government offices, agencies, institutions, corporations or
instrumentalities including the re-alignment of government personnel, and their specific functions and
responsibilities.
For the same purpose as above, the Ministry of Human Settlements shall: (a) prepare the proper land or water
use pattern for said critical project(s) or area (s); (b) establish ambient environmental quality standards; (c)
develop a program of environmental enhancement or protective measures against calamituous factors such as
earthquake, floods, water erosion and others, and (d) perform such other functions as may be directed by the
President from time to time.
Section 5. Environmentally Non-Critical Projects. All other projects, undertakings and areas not declared by
the President as environmentally critical shall be considered as non-critical and shall not be required to submit
an environmental impact statement. The National Environmental Protection Council, thru the Ministry of
Human Settlements may however require non-critical projects and undertakings to provide additional
environmental safeguards as it may deem necessary.
Section 9. Penalty for Violation. Any person, corporation or partnership found violating Section 4 of this
Decree, or the terms and conditions in the issuance of the Environmental Compliance Certificate, or of the
standards, rules and regulations issued by the National Environmental Protection Council pursuant to this
Decree shall be punished by the suspension or cancellation of his/its certificate or and/or a fine in an amount
not to exceed Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) for every violation thereof, at the discretion of the National
Environmental Protection Council.

PROCLAIMING CERTAIN AREAS AND TYPES OF PROJECTS AS ENVIRONMENTALLY CRITICAL AND


WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT SYSTEM ESTABLISHED UNDER
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1586.
WHEREAS, it is the national policy to attain and maintain a rational and orderly balance between socio-
economic growth and environmental conservation and protection;
WHEREAS, there is an urgent need to bring about an intensive, integrated program of environmental
protection through a requirement of environmental impact assessments and statements;
WHEREAS, the environmental impact statement system established under Presidential Decree No, 1586 calls
for the proper management of environmentally critical areas;
WHEREAS, the pursuit of a comprehensive and integrated environmental protection program necessitates the
establishment and institutionalization of a system whereby the exigencies of socio-economic undertakings can
be reconciled with the requirements of environmental protection and conservation;
WHEREAS, the national leadership mandates the establishment of such a system to regulate and minimize the
environmental impacts of projects and undertakings which may significantly affect the quality of the
environment in Presidential Decree No. 1586; and
WHEREAS, in the effective implementation of such a system, there arises the need to identify and declare
certain projects determined to be environmentally critical;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested
in me by law, hereby proclaim the following areas and types of projects as environmentally critical and within
the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement System;
A. Environmentally Critical Projects
I. Heavy Industries
a. Non-ferrous metal industries
b. Iron and steel mills
c. Petroleum and petro-chemical industries including oil and gas
d. Smelting plants
II. Resource Extractive Industries
a. Major mining and quarrying projects
b. Forestry projects
1. Logging
2. Major wood processing projects
3. Introduction of fauna (exotic-animals) in public/private forests
4. Forest occupancy
5. Extraction of mangrove products
6. Grazing
c. Fishery Projects
1. Dikes for/and fishpond development projects
III. Infrastructure Projects
a. Major dams
b. Major power plants (fossil-fueled, nuclear fueled, hydroelectric or geothermal)
c. Major reclamation projects
d. Major roads and bridges
B. Environmentally Critical Areas
1. All areas declared by law as national parks, watershed reserves, wildlife preserves and sanctuaries;
2. Areas set aside as aesthetic potential tourist spots;
3. Areas which constitute the habitat for any endangered or threatened species of indigenous Philippine
Wildlife (flora and fauna);
4. Areas of unique historic, archaeological, or scientific interests;
5. Areas which are traditionally occupied by cultural communities or tribes;
6. Areas frequently visited and/or hard-hit by natural calamities (geologic hazards, floods, typhoons, volcanic
activity, etc.);
7. Areas with critical slopes;
8. Areas classified as prime agricultural lands;
9. Recharged areas of aquifers;
10. Water bodies characterized by one or any combination of the following conditions;
a. tapped for domestic purposes
b. within the controlled and/or protected areas declared by appropriate authorities
c. which support wildlife and fishery activities
11. Mangrove areas characterized by one or any combination of the following conditions:
a. with primary pristine and dense young growth;
b. adjoining mouth of major river systems;
c. near or adjacent to traditional productive fry or fishing grounds;
d. which act as natural buffers against shore erosion, strong winds and storm floods;
e. on which people are dependent for their livelihood.
12. Coral reefs characterized by one or any combinations of the following conditions:
a. With 50% and above live coralline cover;
b. Spawning and nursery grounds for fish;
c. which act as natural breakwater of coastlines.
BORACAY FOUNDATION, INC., Petitioner,
vs.
THE PROVINCE OF AKLAN
Nature of the Case
This is an original petition for the issuance of an Environmental Protection Order in the nature of a continuing
mandamus under A.M. No. 09-6-8-SC, otherwise known as the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases,
promulgated on April 29, 2010.
The Parties
Petitioner Boracay Foundation, Inc. (petitioner) is a duly registered, non-stock domestic corporation. Its primary
purpose is "to foster a united, concerted and environment-conscious development of Boracay Island, thereby
preserving and maintaining its culture, natural beauty and ecological balance, marking the island as the crown
jewel of Philippine tourism, a prime tourist destination in Asia and the whole world."1 It counts among its
members at least sixty (60) owners and representatives of resorts, hotels, restaurants, and similar institutions;
at least five community organizations; and several environmentally-conscious residents and advocates.2
Respondent Province of Aklan (respondent Province) is a political subdivision of the government created
pursuant to Republic Act No. 1414, represented by Honorable Carlito S. Marquez, the Provincial Governor
(Governor Marquez).
Respondent Philippine Reclamation Authority (respondent PRA), formerly called the Public Estates Authority
(PEA), is a government entity created by Presidential Decree No. 1084,3 which states that one of the purposes
for which respondent PRA was created was to reclaim land, including foreshore and submerged areas. PEA
eventually became the lead agency primarily responsible for all reclamation projects in the country under
Executive Order No. 525, series of 1979. In June 2006, the President of the Philippines issued Executive Order
No. 543, delegating the power "to approve reclamation projects to PRA through its governing Board, subject to
compliance with existing laws and rules and further subject to the condition that reclamation contracts to be
executed with any person or entity (must) go through public bidding."4
Respondent Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau
(DENR-EMB), Regional Office VI (respondent DENR-EMB RVI), is the government agency in the Western
Visayas Region authorized to issue environmental compliance certificates regarding projects that require the
environment’s protection and management in the region.5
Summary of Antecedent Facts
Boracay Island (Boracay), a tropical paradise located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines and one
of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, was declared a tourist zone and marine reserve in 1973
under Presidential Proclamation No. 1801.6 The island comprises the barangays of Manoc-manoc, Balabag,
and Yapak, all within the municipality of Malay, in the province of Aklan.7
Petitioner describes Boracay as follows:
Boracay is well-known for its distinctive powdery white-sand beaches which are the product of the unique
ecosystem dynamics of the area. The island itself is known to come from the uplifted remnants of an ancient
reef platform. Its beaches, the sandy land strip between the water and the area currently occupied by
numerous establishments, is the primary draw for domestic and international tourists for its color, texture and
other unique characteristics. Needless to state, it is the premier domestic and international tourist destination in
the Philippines.8
More than a decade ago, respondent Province built the Caticlan Jetty Port and Passenger Terminal at
Barangay Caticlan to be the main gateway to Boracay. It also built the corresponding Cagban Jetty Port and
Passenger Terminal to be the receiving end for tourists in Boracay. Respondent Province operates both ports
"to provide structural facilities suited for locals, tourists and guests and to provide safety and security
measures."9
In 2005, Boracay 2010 Summit was held and participated in by representatives from national government
agencies, local government units (LGUs), and the private sector. Petitioner was one of the organizers and
participants thereto. The Summit aimed "to re-establish a common vision of all stakeholders to ensure the
conservation, restoration, and preservation of Boracay Island" and "to develop an action plan that [would allow]
all sectors to work in concert among and with each other for the long term benefit and sustainability of the
island and the community."10 The Summit yielded a Terminal Report11 stating that the participants had shared
their dream of having world-class land, water and air infrastructure, as well as given their observations that
government support was lacking, infrastructure was poor, and, more importantly, the influx of tourists to
Boracay was increasing. The Report showed that there was a need to expand the port facilities at Caticlan due
to congestion in the holding area of the existing port, caused by inadequate facilities, thus tourists suffered long
queues while waiting for the boat ride going to the island.12
Respondent Province claimed that tourist arrivals to Boracay reached approximately 649,559 in 2009 and
779,666 in 2010, and this was expected to reach a record of 1 million tourist arrivals in the years to come.
Thus, respondent Province conceptualized the expansion of the port facilities at Barangay Caticlan.13
The Sangguniang Barangay of Caticlan, Malay Municipality, issued Resolution No. 13, s. 200814 on April 25,
2008 stating that it had learned that respondent Province had filed an application with the DENR for a
foreshore lease of areas along the shorelines of Barangay Caticlan, and manifesting its strong opposition to
said application, as the proposed foreshore lease practically covered almost all the coastlines of said
barangay, thereby technically diminishing its territorial jurisdiction, once granted, and depriving its constituents
of their statutory right of preference in the development and utilization of the natural resources within its
jurisdiction. The resolution further stated that respondent Province did not conduct any consultations with the
Sangguniang Barangay of Caticlan regarding the proposed foreshore lease, which failure the Sanggunian
considered as an act of bad faith on the part of respondent Province.15
On November 20, 2008, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of respondent Province approved Resolution No.
2008-369,16 formally authorizing Governor Marquez to enter into negotiations towards the possibility of
effecting self-liquidating and income-producing development and livelihood projects to be financed through
bonds, debentures, securities, collaterals, notes or other obligations as provided under Section 299 of the
Local Government Code, with the following priority projects: (a) renovation/rehabilitation of the
Caticlan/Cagban Passenger Terminal Buildings and Jetty Ports; and (b) reclamation of a portion of Caticlan
foreshore for commercial purposes.17 This step was taken as respondent Province’s existing jetty port and
passenger terminal was funded through bond flotation, which was successfully redeemed and paid ahead of
the target date. This was allegedly cited as one of the LGU’s Best Practices wherein respondent Province was
given the appropriate commendation.18
Respondent Province included the proposed expansion of the port facilities at Barangay Caticlan in its 2009
Annual Investment Plan,19 envisioned as its project site the area adjacent to the existing jetty port, and
identified additional areas along the coastline of Barangay Caticlan as the site for future project expansion.20
Governor Marquez sent a letter to respondent PRA on March 12, 200921 expressing the interest of respondent
Province to reclaim about 2.64 hectares of land along the foreshores of Barangay Caticlan, Municipality of
Malay, Province of Aklan.
Sometime in April 2009, respondent Province entered into an agreement with the Financial Advisor/Consultant
that won in the bidding process held a month before, to conduct the necessary feasibility study of the proposed
project for the Renovation/Rehabilitation of the Caticlan Passenger Terminal Building and Jetty Port,
Enhancement and Recovery of Old Caticlan Coastline, and Reclamation of a Portion of Foreshore for
Commercial Purposes (the Marina Project), in Malay, Aklan.22
Subsequently, on May 7, 2009, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of respondent Province issued Resolution No.
2009–110,23 which authorized Governor Marquez to file an application to reclaim the 2.64 hectares of
foreshore area in Caticlan, Malay, Aklan with respondent PRA.
Sometime in July 2009, the Financial Advisor/Consultant came up with a feasibility study which focused on the
land reclamation of 2.64 hectares by way of beach enhancement and recovery of the old Caticlan coastline for
the rehabilitation and expansion of the existing jetty port, and for its future plans – the construction of
commercial building and wellness center. The financial component of the said study was Two Hundred Sixty
Million Pesos (₱260,000,000.00). Its suggested financing scheme was bond flotation.24
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of Malay expressed its strong opposition to the
intended foreshore lease application, through Resolution No. 044,25 approved on July 22, 2009, manifesting
therein that respondent Province’s foreshore lease application was for business enterprise purposes for its
benefit, at the expense of the local government of Malay, which by statutory provisions was the rightful entity
"to develop, utilize and reap benefits from the natural resources found within its jurisdiction."26
In August 2009, a Preliminary Geohazard Assessment27 for the enhancement/expansion of the existing
Caticlan Jetty Port and Passenger Terminal through beach zone restoration and Protective Marina
Developments in Caticlan, Malay, Aklan was completed.
Thereafter, Governor Marquez submitted an Environmental Performance Report and Monitoring Program
(EPRMP)28 to DENR-EMB RVI, which he had attached to his letter29 dated September 19, 2009, as an initial
step for securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). The letter reads in part:
With the project expected to start its construction implementation next month, the province hereby assures
your good office that it will give preferential attention to and shall comply with whatever comments that you
may have on this EPRMP.30 (Emphasis added.)
Respondent Province was then authorized to issue "Caticlan Super Marina Bonds" for the purpose of funding
the renovation of the Caticlan Jetty Port and Passenger Terminal Building, and the reclamation of a portion of
the foreshore lease area for commercial purposes in Malay, Aklan through Provincial Ordinance No. 2009-013,
approved on September 10, 2009. The said ordinance authorized Governor Marquez to negotiate, sign and
execute agreements in relation to the issuance of the Caticlan Super Marina Bonds in the amount not
exceeding ₱260,000,000.00.31
Subsequently, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Aklan issued Provincial Ordinance No. 2009-
01532 on October 1, 2009, amending Provincial Ordinance No. 2009-013, authorizing the bond flotation of the
Province of Aklan through Governor Marquez to fund the Marina Project and appropriate the entire proceeds of
said bonds for the project, and further authorizing Governor Marquez to negotiate, sign and execute contracts
or agreements pertinent to the transaction.33
Within the same month of October 2009, respondent Province deliberated on the possible expansion from its
original proposed reclamation area of 2.64 hectares to forty (40) hectares in order to maximize the utilization of
its resources and as a response to the findings of the Preliminary Geohazard Assessment study which showed
that the recession and retreat of the shoreline caused by coastal erosion and scouring should be the first major
concern in the project site and nearby coastal area. The study likewise indicated the vulnerability of the coastal
zone within the proposed project site and the nearby coastal area due to the effects of sea level rise and
climate change which will greatly affect the social, economic, and environmental situation of Caticlan and
nearby Malay coastal communities.34
In his letter dated October 22, 2009 addressed to respondent PRA, Governor Marquez wrote:
With our substantial compliance with the requirements under Administrative Order No. 2007-2 relative to our
request to PRA for approval of the reclamation of the [proposed Beach Zone Restoration and Protection
Marine Development in Barangays Caticlan and Manoc-Manoc] and as a result of our discussion during the
[meeting with the respondent PRA on October 12, 2009], may we respectfully submit a revised Reclamation
Project Description embodying certain revisions/changes in the size and location of the areas to be reclaimed.
x x x.
On another note, we are pleased to inform your Office that the bond flotation we have secured with the Local
Government Unit Guarantee Corporation (LGUGC) has been finally approved last October 14, 2009. This will
pave the way for the implementation of said project. Briefly, the Province has been recognized by the Bureau
of Local Government Finance (BLGF) for its capability to meet its loan obligations. x x x.
With the continued increase of tourists coming to Boracay through Caticlan, the Province is venturing into such
development project with the end in view of protection and/or restoring certain segments of the shoreline in
Barangays Caticlan (Caticlan side) and Manoc-manoc (Boracay side) which, as reported by experts, has been
experiencing tremendous coastal erosion.
For the project to be self-liquidating, however, we will be developing the reclaimed land for commercial and
tourism-related facilities and for other complementary uses.35 (Emphasis ours.)
Then, on November 19, 2009, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan enacted Resolution No. 2009-29936 authorizing
Governor Marquez to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with respondent PRA in the
implementation of the Beach Zone Restoration and Protection Marina Development Project, which shall
reclaim a total of 40 hectares in the areas adjacent to the jetty ports at Barangay Caticlan and Barangay
Manoc-manoc. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved the terms and conditions of the necessary
agreements for the implementation of the bond flotation of respondent Province to fund the
renovation/rehabilitation of the existing jetty port by way of enhancement and recovery of the Old Caticlan
shoreline through reclamation of an area of 2.64 hectares in the amount of ₱260,000,000.00 on December 1,
2009.37
Respondent Province gave an initial presentation of the project with consultation to the Sangguniang Bayan of
Malay38 on December 9, 2009.
Respondent PRA approved the reclamation project on April 20, 2010 in its Resolution No. 4094 and authorized
its General Manager/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to enter into a MOA with respondent Province for the
implementation of the reclamation project.39
On April 27, 2010, DENR-EMB RVI issued to respondent Province ECC-R6-1003-096-7100 (the questioned
ECC) for Phase 1 of the Reclamation Project to the extent of 2.64 hectares to be done along the Caticlan side
beside the existing jetty port.40
On May 17, 2010, respondent Province entered into a MOA41 with respondent PRA. Under Article III, the
Project was described therein as follows:
The proposed Aklan Beach Zone Restoration and Protection Marina Development Project involves the
reclamation and development of approximately forty (40) hectares of foreshore and offshore areas of the
Municipality of Malay x x x.
The land use development of the reclamation project shall be for commercial, recreational and institutional and
other applicable uses.42 (Emphases supplied.)
It was at this point that respondent Province deemed it necessary to conduct a series of what it calls
"information-education campaigns," which provided the venue for interaction and dialogue with the public,
particularly the Barangay and Municipal officials of the Municipality of Malay, the residents of Barangay
Caticlan and Boracay, the stakeholders, and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The details of the
campaign are summarized as follows43 :
a. June 17, 2010 at Casa Pilar Beach Resort, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan;44
b. July 28, 2010 at Caticlan Jetty Port and Passenger Terminal;45
c. July 31, 2010 at Barangay Caticlan Plaza;46
d. September 15, 2010 at the Office of the Provincial Governor with Municipal Mayor of Malay – Mayor
John P. Yap;47
e. October 12, 2010 at the Office of the Provincial Governor with the Provincial Development Council
Executive Committee;48 and
f. October 29, 2010 at the Office of the Provincial Governor with Officials of LGU-Malay and
Petitioner.49
Petitioner claims that during the "public consultation meeting" belatedly called by respondent Province on June
17, 2010, respondent Province presented the Reclamation Project and only then detailed the actions that it had
already undertaken, particularly: the issuance of the Caticlan Super Marina Bonds; the execution of the MOA
with respondent PRA; the alleged conduct of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the
reclamation project; and the expansion of the project to forty (40) hectares from 2.64 hectares.50
In Resolution No. 046, Series of 2010, adopted on June 23, 2010, the Malay Municipality reiterated its strong
opposition to respondent Province’s project and denied its request for a favorable endorsement of the Marina
Project.51
The Malay Municipality subsequently issued Resolution No. 016, Series of 2010, adopted on August 3, 2010,
to request respondent PRA "not to grant reclamation permit and notice to proceed to the Marina Project of the
[respondent] Provincial Government of Aklan located at Caticlan, Malay, Aklan."52
In a letter53 dated October 12, 2010, petitioner informed respondent PRA of its opposition to the reclamation
project, primarily for the reason that, based on the opinion of Dr. Porfirio M. Aliño, an expert from the University
of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), which he rendered based on the documents submitted by
respondent Province to obtain the ECC, a full EIA study is required to assess the reclamation project’s
likelihood of rendering critical and lasting effect on Boracay considering the proximity in distance, geographical
location, current and wind direction, and many other environmental considerations in the area. Petitioner noted
that said documents had failed to deal with coastal erosion concerns in Boracay. It also noted that respondent
Province failed to comply with certain mandatory provisions of the Local Government Code, particularly, those
requiring the project proponent to conduct consultations with stakeholders.
Petitioner likewise transmitted its Resolution No. 001, Series of 2010, registering its opposition to the
reclamation project to respondent Province, respondent PRA, respondent DENR-EMB, the National Economic
Development Authority Region VI, the Malay Municipality, and other concerned entities.54
Petitioner alleges that despite the Malay Municipality’s denial of respondent Province’s request for a favorable
endorsement, as well as the strong opposition manifested both by Barangay Caticlan and petitioner as an
NGO, respondent Province still continued with the implementation of the Reclamation Project.55
On July 26, 2010, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of respondent Province set aside Resolution No. 046, s.
2010, of the Municipality of Malay and manifested its support for the implementation of the aforesaid project
through its Resolution No. 2010-022.56
On July 27, 2010, the MOA was confirmed by respondent PRA Board of Directors under its Resolution No.
4130. Respondent PRA wrote to respondent Province on October 19, 2010, informing the latter to proceed with
the reclamation and development of phase 1 of site 1 of its proposed project. Respondent PRA attached to
said letter its Evaluation Report dated October 18, 2010.57
Petitioner likewise received a copy of respondent PRA’s letter dated October 19, 2010, which authorized
respondent Province to proceed with phase 1 of the reclamation project, subject to compliance with the
requirements of its Evaluation Report. The reclamation project was described as:
"[A] seafront development involving reclamation of an aggregate area of more or less, forty (40) hectares in
two (2) separate sites both in Malay Municipality, Aklan Province. Site 1 is in Brgy. Caticlan with a total area of
36.82 hectares and Site 2 in Brgy. Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island with a total area of 3.18 hectares. Sites 1
and 2 are on the opposite sides of Tabon Strait, about 1,200 meters apart. x x x." 58 (Emphases added.)
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan, through Resolution No. 2010-034,59 addressed the apprehensions
of petitioner embodied in its Resolution No. 001, s. 2010, and supported the implementation of the project.
Said resolution stated that the apprehensions of petitioner with regard to the economic, social and political
negative impacts of the projects were mere perceptions and generalities and were not anchored on definite
scientific, social and political studies.
In the meantime, a study was commissioned by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Boracay
(PCCI-Boracay), funded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) with the assistance of, among others, petitioner.
The study was conducted in November 2010 by several marine biologists/experts from the Marine
Environmental Resources Foundation (MERF) of the UPMSI. The study was intended to determine the
potential impact of a reclamation project in the hydrodynamics of the strait and on the coastal erosion patterns
in the southern coast of Boracay Island and along the coast of Caticlan.60
After noting the objections of the respective LGUs of Caticlan and Malay, as well as the apprehensions of
petitioner, respondent Province issued a notice to the contractor on December 1, 2010 to commence with the
construction of the project.61
On April 4, 2011, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan, through its Committee on Cooperatives, Food,
Agriculture, and Environmental Protection and the Committee on Tourism, Trade, Industry and Commerce,
conducted a joint committee hearing wherein the study undertaken by the MERF-UPMSI was discussed.62 In
attendance were Mr. Ariel Abriam, President of PCCI-Boracay, representatives from the Provincial
Government, and Dr. Cesar Villanoy, a professor from the UPMSI. Dr. Villanoy said that the subject project,
consisting of 2.64 hectares, would only have insignificant effect on the hydrodynamics of the strait traversing
the coastline of Barangay Caticlan and Boracay, hence, there was a distant possibility that it would affect the
Boracay coastline, which includes the famous white-sand beach of the island.63
Thus, on April 6, 2011, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan enacted Resolution No. 2011-06564 noting the
report on the survey of the channel between Caticlan and Boracay conducted by the UPMSI in relation to the
effects of the ongoing reclamation to Boracay beaches, and stating that Dr. Villanoy had admitted that nowhere
in their study was it pointed out that there would be an adverse effect on the white-sand beach of Boracay.
During the First Quarter Regular Meeting of the Regional Development Council, Region VI (RDC-VI) on April
16, 2011, it approved and supported the subject project (covering 2.64 hectares) through RDC-VI Resolution
No. VI-26, series of 2011.65
Subsequently, Mr. Abriam sent a letter to Governor Marquez dated April 25, 2011 stating that the study
conducted by the UPMSI confirms that the water flow across the Caticlan-Boracay channel is primarily tide-
driven, therefore, the marine scientists believe that the 2.64-hectare project of respondent Province would not
significantly affect the flow in the channel and would unlikely impact the Boracay beaches. Based on this,
PCCI-Boracay stated that it was not opposing the 2.64-hectare Caticlan reclamation project on environmental
grounds.66
On June 1, 2011, petitioner filed the instant Petition for Environmental Protection Order/Issuance of the Writ of
Continuing Mandamus. On June 7, 2011, this Court issued a Temporary Environmental Protection Order
(TEPO) and ordered the respondents to file their respective comments to the petition.67
After receiving a copy of the TEPO on June 9, 2011, respondent Province immediately issued an order to the
Provincial Engineering Office and the concerned contractor to cease and desist from conducting any
construction activities until further orders from this Court.
--------------------------------------------------
Petitioner objects to respondent Province’s classification of the reclamation project as single instead of co-
located, as "non-environmentally critical," and as a mere "rehabilitation" of the existing jetty port. Petitioner
points out that the reclamation project is on two sites (which are situated on the opposite sides of Tabon Strait,
about 1,200 meters apart):
•36.82 hectares – Site 1, in Bgy. Caticlan
•3.18 hectares – Site 2, in Manoc-manoc, Boracay Island69
Phase 1, which was started in December 2010 without the necessary permits,70 is located on the Caticlan side
of a narrow strait separating mainland Aklan from Boracay. In the implementation of the project, respondent
Province obtained only an ECC to conduct Phase 1, instead of an ECC on the entire 40 hectares. Thus,
petitioner argues that respondent Province abused and exploited the Revised Procedural Manual for DENR
Administrative Order No. 30, Series of 2003 (DENR DAO 2003-30)71 relating to the acquisition of an ECC by:
1. Declaring the reclamation project under "Group II Projects-Non-ECP (environmentally critical project)
in ECA (environmentally critical area) based on the type and size of the area," and
2. Failing to declare the reclamation project as a co-located project application which would have
required the Province to submit a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)72 or
Programmatic Environmental [Performance] Report Management Plan (PE[P]RMP).73 (Emphases
ours.)
Petitioner further alleges that the Revised Procedural Manual (on which the classification above is based,
which merely requires an Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] for Group II projects) is patently ultra vires,
and respondent DENR-EMB RVI committed grave abuse of discretion because the laws on EIS, namely,
Presidential Decree Nos. 1151 and 1586, as well as Presidential Proclamation No. 2146, clearly indicate that
projects in environmentally critical areas are to be immediately considered environmentally critical. Petitioner
complains that respondent Province applied for an ECC only for Phase 1; hence, unlawfully evading the
requirement that co-located projects74 within Environmentally Critical Areas (ECAs) must submit a PEIS
and/or a PEPRMP.
Petitioner argues that respondent Province fraudulently classified and misrepresented the project as a Non-
ECP in an ECA, and as a single project instead of a co-located one. The impact assessment allegedly
performed gives a patently erroneous and wrongly-premised appraisal of the possible environmental impact of
the reclamation project. Petitioner contends that respondent Province’s choice of classification was designed to
avoid a comprehensive impact assessment of the reclamation project.
---------------------------
Nature of the project
The first question must be answered by respondent DENR-EMB RVI as the agency with the expertise and
authority to state whether this is a new project, subject to the more rigorous environmental impact study
requested by petitioner, or it is a mere expansion of the existing jetty port facility.
The second issue refers to the classification of the project by respondent Province, approved by respondent
DENR-EMB RVI, as single instead of co-located. Under the Revised Procedural Manual, the "Summary List of
Additional Non-Environmentally-Critical Project (NECP) Types in ECAs Classified under Group II" (Table I-2)
lists "buildings, storage facilities and other structures" as a separate item from "transport terminal facilities."
This creates the question of whether this project should be considered as consisting of more than one type of
activity, and should more properly be classified as "co-located," under the following definition from the same
Manual, which reads:
f) Group IV (Co-located Projects in either ECA or NECA): A co-located project is a group of single projects,
under one or more proponents/locators, which are located in a contiguous area and managed by one
administrator, who is also the ECC applicant. The co-located project may be an economic zone or industrial
park, or a mix of projects within a catchment, watershed or river basin, or any other geographical, political or
economic unit of area. Since the location or threshold of specific projects within the contiguous area will yet be
derived from the EIA process based on the carrying capacity of the project environment, the nature of the
project is called "programmatic." (Emphasis added.)
Respondent DENR-EMB RVI should conduct a thorough and detailed evaluation of the project to address the
question of whether this could be deemed as a group of single projects (transport terminal facility, building,
etc.) in a contiguous area managed by respondent Province, or as a single project.
The third item in the above enumeration will be discussed as a separate issue.
The answer to the fourth question depends on the final classification of the project under items 1 and 3 above
because the type of EIA study required under the Revised Procedural Manual depends on such classification.
The very definition of an EIA points to what was most likely neglected by respondent Province as project
proponent, and what was in turn overlooked by respondent DENR-EMB RVI, for it is defined as follows:
An [EIA] is a ‘process that involves predicting and evaluating the likely impacts of a project (including
cumulative impacts) on the environment during construction, commissioning, operation and abandonment. It
also includes designing appropriate preventive, mitigating and enhancement measures addressing these
consequences to protect the environment and the community’s welfare.146 (Emphases supplied.)
Thus, the EIA process must have been able to predict the likely impact of the reclamation project to the
environment and to prevent any harm that may otherwise be caused.
The project now before us involves reclamation of land that is more than five times the size of the original
reclaimed land. Furthermore, the area prior to construction merely contained a jetty port, whereas the
proposed expansion, as described in the EPRMP submitted by respondent Province to respondent DENR-
EMB RVI involves so much more, and we quote:
The expansion project will be constructed at the north side of the existing jetty port and terminal that will have a
total area of 2.64 hectares, more or less, after reclamation. The Phase 1 of the project construction costing
around ₱260 million includes the following:
1. Reclamation - 3,000 sq m (expansion of jetty port)
2. Reclamation - 13,500 sq m (buildable area)
3. Terminal annex building - 250 sq m
4. 2-storey commercial building – 2,500 sq m (1,750 sq m of leasable space)
5. Health and wellness center
6. Access road - 12 m (wide)
7. Parking, perimeter fences, lighting and water treatment sewerage system
8. Rehabilitation of existing jetty port and terminal
xxxx
The succeeding phases of the project will consist of [further] reclamation, completion of the commercial center
building, bay walk commercial strip, staff building, ferry terminal, a cable car system and wharf marina. This will
entail an additional estimated cost of ₱785 million bringing the total investment requirement to about ₱1.0
billion.147 (Emphases added.)
As may be gleaned from the breakdown of the 2.64 hectares as described by respondent Province above, a
significant portion of the reclaimed area would be devoted to the construction of a commercial building, and the
area to be utilized for the expansion of the jetty port consists of a mere 3,000 square meters (sq. m). To be true
to its definition, the EIA report submitted by respondent Province should at the very least predict the impact
that the construction of the new buildings on the reclaimed land would have on the surrounding environment.
These new constructions and their environmental effects were not covered by the old studies that respondent
Province previously submitted for the construction of the original jetty port in 1999, and which it re-submitted in
its application for ECC in this alleged expansion, instead of conducting updated and more comprehensive
studies.
Any impact on the Boracay side cannot be totally ignored, as Caticlan and Boracay are separated only by a
narrow strait. This becomes more imperative because of the significant contributions of Boracay’s white-sand
beach to the country’s tourism trade, which requires respondent Province to proceed with utmost caution in
implementing projects within its vicinity.
We had occasion to emphasize the duty of local government units to ensure the quality of the environment
under Presidential Decree No. 1586 in Republic of the Philippines v. The City of Davao,148 wherein we held:
Section 15 of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, defines a local government
unit as a body politic and corporate endowed with powers to be exercised by it in conformity with law. As such,
it performs dual functions, governmental and proprietary. Governmental functions are those that concern the
health, safety and the advancement of the public good or welfare as affecting the public generally. Proprietary
functions are those that seek to obtain special corporate benefits or earn pecuniary profit and intended for
private advantage and benefit. When exercising governmental powers and performing governmental duties, an
LGU is an agency of the national government. When engaged in corporate activities, it acts as an agent of the
community in the administration of local affairs.
Found in Section 16 of the Local Government Code is the duty of the LGUs to promote the people’s right to a
balanced ecology. Pursuant to this, an LGU, like the City of Davao, can not claim exemption from the coverage
of PD 1586. As a body politic endowed with governmental functions, an LGU has the duty to ensure the quality
of the environment, which is the very same objective of PD 1586.
xxxx
Section 4 of PD 1586 clearly states that "no person, partnership or corporation shall undertake or operate any
such declared environmentally critical project or area without first securing an Environmental Compliance
Certificate issued by the President or his duly authorized representative." The Civil Code defines a person as
either natural or juridical. The state and its political subdivisions, i.e., the local government units are juridical
persons. Undoubtedly therefore, local government units are not excluded from the coverage of PD 1586.
Lastly, very clear in Section 1 of PD 1586 that said law intends to implement the policy of the state to achieve a
balance between socio-economic development and environmental protection, which are the twin goals of
sustainable development. The above-quoted first paragraph of the Whereas clause stresses that this can only
be possible if we adopt a comprehensive and integrated environmental protection program where all the
sectors of the community are involved, i.e., the government and the private sectors. The local government
units, as part of the machinery of the government, cannot therefore be deemed as outside the scope of the EIS
system.149 (Emphases supplied.)
The Court chooses to remand these matters to respondent DENR-EMB RVI for it to make a proper study, and
if it should find necessary, to require respondent Province to address these environmental issues raised by
petitioner and submit the correct EIA report as required by the project’s specifications. The Court requires
respondent DENR-EMB RVI to complete its study and submit a report within a non-extendible period of three
months. Respondent DENR-EMB RVI should establish to the Court in said report why the ECC it issued for the
subject project should not be canceled.
Lack of prior public consultation
The Local Government Code establishes the duties of national government agencies in the maintenance of
ecological balance, and requires them to secure prior public consultation and approval of local government
units for the projects described therein.
In the case before us, the national agency involved is respondent PRA. Even if the project proponent is the
local government of Aklan, it is respondent PRA which authorized the reclamation, being the exclusive agency
of the government to undertake reclamation nationwide. Hence, it was necessary for respondent Province to
go through respondent PRA and to execute a MOA, wherein respondent PRA’s authority to reclaim was
delegated to respondent Province. Respondent DENR-EMB RVI, regional office of the DENR, is also a
national government institution which is tasked with the issuance of the ECC that is a prerequisite to projects
covered by environmental laws such as the one at bar.
This project can be classified as a national project that affects the environmental and ecological balance of
local communities, and is covered by the requirements found in the Local Government Code provisions that
are quoted below:
Section 26. Duty of National Government Agencies in the Maintenance of Ecological Balance. - It shall be the
duty of every national agency or government-owned or controlled corporation authorizing or involved in the
planning and implementation of any project or program that may cause pollution, climatic change, depletion of
non-renewable resources, loss of crop land, rangeland, or forest cover, and extinction of animal or plant
species, to consult with the local government units, nongovernmental organizations, and other sectors
concerned and explain the goals and objectives of the project or program, its impact upon the people and the
community in terms of environmental or ecological balance, and the measures that will be undertaken to
prevent or minimize the adverse effects thereof.
Section 27. Prior Consultations Required. - No project or program shall be implemented by government
authorities unless the consultations mentioned in Sections 2 (c) and 26 hereof are complied with, and prior
approval of the sanggunian concerned is obtained: Provided, That occupants in areas where such projects are
to be implemented shall not be evicted unless appropriate relocation sites have been provided, in accordance
with the provisions of the Constitution.
In Lina, Jr. v. Paño,150 we held that Section 27 of the Local Government Code applies only to "national
programs and/or projects which are to be implemented in a particular local community"151 and that it should
be read in conjunction with Section 26. We held further in this manner:
Thus, the projects and programs mentioned in Section 27 should be interpreted to mean projects and
programs whose effects are among those enumerated in Section 26 and 27, to wit, those that: (1) may cause
pollution; (2) may bring about climatic change; (3) may cause the depletion of non-renewable resources; (4)
may result in loss of crop land, range-land, or forest cover; (5) may eradicate certain animal or plant species
from the face of the planet; and (6) other projects or programs that may call for the eviction of a particular
group of people residing in the locality where these will be implemented. Obviously, none of these effects will
be produced by the introduction of lotto in the province of Laguna.152 (Emphasis added.)
During the oral arguments held on September 13, 2011, it was established that this project as described above
falls under Section 26 because the commercial establishments to be built on phase 1, as described in the
EPRMP quoted above, could cause pollution as it could generate garbage, sewage, and possible toxic fuel
discharge.153
Our ruling in Province of Rizal v. Executive Secretary154 is instructive:
We reiterated this doctrine in the recent case of Bangus Fry Fisherfolk v. Lanzanas, where we held that there
was no statutory requirement for the sangguniang bayan of Puerto Galera to approve the construction of a
mooring facility, as Sections 26 and 27 are inapplicable to projects which are not environmentally critical.
Moreover, Section 447, which enumerates the powers, duties and functions of the municipality, grants the
sangguniang bayan the power to, among other things, "enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate
funds for the general welfare of the municipality and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of th(e) Code."
These include:
(1) Approving ordinances and passing resolutions to protect the environment and impose appropriate
penalties for acts which endanger the environment, such as dynamite fishing and other forms of
destructive fishing, illegal logging and smuggling of logs, smuggling of natural resources products and
of endangered species of flora and fauna, slash and burn farming, and such other activities which result
in pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and lakes, or of ecological imbalance; [Section 447
(1)(vi)]
(2) Prescribing reasonable limits and restraints on the use of property within the jurisdiction of the
municipality, adopting a comprehensive land use plan for the municipality, reclassifying land within the
jurisdiction of the city, subject to the pertinent provisions of this Code, enacting integrated zoning
ordinances in consonance with the approved comprehensive land use plan, subject to existing laws,
rules and regulations; establishing fire limits or zones, particularly in populous centers; and regulating
the construction, repair or modification of buildings within said fire limits or zones in accordance with the
provisions of this Code; [Section 447 (2)(vi-ix)]
(3) Approving ordinances which shall ensure the efficient and effective delivery of the basic services
and facilities as provided for under Section 17 of this Code, and in addition to said services and
facilities, …providing for the establishment, maintenance, protection, and conservation of communal
forests and watersheds, tree parks, greenbelts, mangroves, and other similar forest development
projects …and, subject to existing laws, establishing and providing for the maintenance, repair and
operation of an efficient waterworks system to supply water for the inhabitants and purifying the source
of the water supply; regulating the construction, maintenance, repair and use of hydrants, pumps,
cisterns and reservoirs; protecting the purity and quantity of the water supply of the municipality and, for
this purpose, extending the coverage of appropriate ordinances over all territory within the drainage
area of said water supply and within one hundred (100) meters of the reservoir, conduit, canal,
aqueduct, pumping station, or watershed used in connection with the water service; and regulating the
consumption, use or wastage of water." [Section 447 (5)(i) & (vii)]
Under the Local Government Code, therefore, two requisites must be met before a national project that affects
the environmental and ecological balance of local communities can be implemented: prior consultation with the
affected local communities, and prior approval of the project by the appropriate sanggunian. Absent either of
these mandatory requirements, the project’s implementation is illegal.155 (Emphasis added.)
Based on the above, therefore, prior consultations and prior approval are required by law to have been
conducted and secured by the respondent Province. Accordingly, the information dissemination conducted
months after the ECC had already been issued was insufficient to comply with this requirement under the Local
Government Code. Had they been conducted properly, the prior public consultation should have considered
the ecological or environmental concerns of the stakeholders and studied measures alternative to the project,
to avoid or minimize adverse environmental impact or damage. In fact, respondent Province once tried to
obtain the favorable endorsement of the Sangguniang Bayan of Malay, but this was denied by the latter.
Moreover, DENR DAO 2003-30 provides:
5.3 Public Hearing / Consultation Requirements
For projects under Category A-1, the conduct of public hearing as part of the EIS review is mandatory unless
otherwise determined by EMB. For all other undertakings, a public hearing is not mandatory unless specifically
required by EMB.
Proponents should initiate public consultations early in order to ensure that environmentally relevant concerns
of stakeholders are taken into consideration in the EIA study and the formulation of the management plan. All
public consultations and public hearings conducted during the EIA process are to be documented. The public
hearing/consultation Process report shall be validated by the EMB/EMB RD and shall constitute part of the
records of the EIA process. (Emphasis supplied.)
In essence, the above-quoted rule shows that in cases requiring public consultations, the same should be
initiated early so that concerns of stakeholders could be taken into consideration in the EIA study. In this case,
respondent Province had already filed its ECC application before it met with the local government units of
Malay and Caticlan.
The claim of respondent DENR-EMB RVI is that no permits and/or clearances from National Government
Agencies (NGAs) and LGUs are required pursuant to the DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2007-08. However,
we still find that the LGC requirements of consultation and approval apply in this case. This is because a
Memorandum Circular cannot prevail over the Local Government Code, which is a statute and which enjoys
greater weight under our hierarchy of laws.
Subsequent to the information campaign of respondent Province, the Municipality of Malay and the Liga ng
mga Barangay-Malay Chapter still opposed the project. Thus, when respondent Province commenced the
implementation project, it violated Section 27 of the LGC, which clearly enunciates that "[no] project or program
shall be implemented by government authorities unless the consultations mentioned in Sections 2(c) and 26
hereof are complied with, and prior approval of the sanggunian concerned is obtained."
The lack of prior public consultation and approval is not corrected by the subsequent endorsement of the
reclamation project by the Sangguniang Barangay of Caticlan on February 13, 2012, and the Sangguniang
Bayan of the Municipality of Malay on February 28, 2012, which were both undoubtedly achieved at the urging
and insistence of respondent Province. As we have established above, the respective resolutions issued by the
LGUs concerned did not render this petition moot and academic.
It is clear that both petitioner and respondent Province are interested in the promotion of tourism in Boracay
and the protection of the environment, lest they kill the proverbial hen that lays the golden egg. At the
beginning of this decision, we mentioned that there are common goals of national significance that are very
apparent from both the petitioner’s and the respondents’ respective pleadings and memoranda.
The parties are evidently in accord in seeking to uphold the mandate found in Article II, Declaration of
Principles and State Policies, of the 1987 Constitution, which we quote below:
SECTION 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology
in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
xxxx
SECTION 20. The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise,
and provides incentives to needed investments.
The protection of the environment in accordance with the aforesaid constitutional mandate is the aim, among
others, of Presidential Decree No. 1586, "Establishing an Environmental Impact Statement System, Including
Other Environmental Management Related Measures and For Other Purposes," which declared in its first
Section that it is "the policy of the State to attain and maintain a rational and orderly balance between socio-
economic growth and environmental protection."
The parties undoubtedly too agree as to the importance of promoting tourism, pursuant to Section 2 of
Republic Act No. 9593, or "The Tourism Act of 2009," which reads:
SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. – The State declares tourism as an indispensable element of the national
economy and an industry of national interest and importance, which must be harnessed as an engine of
socioeconomic growth and cultural affirmation to generate investment, foreign exchange and employment, and
to continue to mold an enhanced sense of national pride for all Filipinos. (Emphasis ours.)
The primordial role of local government units under the Constitution and the Local Government Code of 1991
in the subject matter of this case is also unquestionable. The Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act
No. 7160) pertinently provides:
Section 2. Declaration of Policy. - (a) It is hereby declared the policy of the State that the territorial and political
subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their
fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of
national goals. Toward this end, the State shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local
government structure instituted through a system of decentralization whereby local government units shall be
given more powers, authority, responsibilities, and resources. The process of decentralization shall proceed
from the national government to the local government units.156 (Emphases ours.)
As shown by the above provisions of our laws and rules, the speedy and smooth resolution of these issues
would benefit all the parties. Thus, respondent Province’s cooperation with respondent DENR-EMB RVI in the
Court-mandated review of the proper classification and environmental impact of the reclamation project is of
utmost importance.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby PARTIALLY GRANTED.1âwphi1 The TEPO issued
by this Court is hereby converted into a writ of continuing mandamus specifically as follows:
1. Respondent Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau
Regional Office VI shall revisit and review the following matters:
a. its classification of the reclamation project as a single instead of a co-located project;
b. its approval of respondent Province’s classification of the project as a mere expansion of the
existing jetty port in Caticlan, instead of classifying it as a new project; and
c. the impact of the reclamation project to the environment based on new, updated, and
comprehensive studies, which should forthwith be ordered by respondent DENR-EMB RVI.
2. Respondent Province of Aklan shall perform the following:
a. fully cooperate with respondent DENR-EMB RVI in its review of the reclamation project
proposal and submit to the latter the appropriate report and study; and
b. secure approvals from local government units and hold proper consultations with non-
governmental organizations and other stakeholders and sectors concerned as required by
Section 27 in relation to Section 26 of the Local Government Code.
3. Respondent Philippine Reclamation Authority shall closely monitor the submission by respondent
Province of the requirements to be issued by respondent DENR-EMB RVI in connection to the
environmental concerns raised by petitioner, and shall coordinate with respondent Province in
modifying the MOA, if necessary, based on the findings of respondent DENR-EMB RVI.
4. The petitioner Boracay Foundation, Inc. and the respondents The Province of Aklan, represented by
Governor Carlito S. Marquez, The Philippine Reclamation Authority, and The DENR-EMB (Region VI)
are mandated to submit their respective reports to this Court regarding their compliance with the
requirements set forth in this Decision no later than three (3) months from the date of promulgation of
this Decision.
5. In the meantime, the respondents, their concerned contractor/s, and/or their agents, representatives
or persons acting in their place or stead, shall immediately cease and desist from continuing the
implementation of the project covered by ECC-R6-1003-096-7100 until further orders from this Court.
For this purpose, the respondents shall report within five (5) days to this Court the status of the project
as of their receipt of this Decision, copy furnished the petitioner.
This Decision is immediately executory.
SPECIAL PEOPLE, INC. FOUNDATION, REPRESENTED BY ITS CHAIRMAN, ROBERTO P. CERICOS,
Petitioner,
vs.
NESTOR M. CANDA
Antecedents
The petitioner was a proponent of a water-resource development and utilization project in Barangay Jimilia-an
in the Municipality of Loboc, Bohol that would involve the tapping and purifying of water from the Loboc River,
and the distribution of the purified water to the residents of Loboc and six other municipalities. The petitioner
applied for a Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) with the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region 7, seeking to be exempt from the
requirement of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) under Section 4 of Presidential Decree No.
1586 on the following justifications, to wit:
1) The whole project simply involves tapping of water from the Loboc River, filtering and purifying it, and
distributing the same to the consumers in the covered towns;
2) From the source to the filtration plant, then to the purifier stations, then finally to the consumers’
households, water flows through steel pipes;
3) The filtration and purifying process employs the latest technology—"electrocatalytic"—internationally
accepted for safety and environment friendliness;
4) No waste is generated, as the electrocatalytic process dissolves all impurities in the water;
5) The project involves no destruction [n]or harm to the environment. On the other hand, it is
environment friendly.1
Upon evaluating the nature and magnitude of the environmental impact of the project, respondent Nestor M.
Canda, then Chief of EMB in Bohol, rendered his findings in a letter dated December 4, 2001, as follows:
1) The project is located within a critical area; hence, Initial Environmental Examination is required.
2) The project is socially and politically sensitive therefore proof of social acceptability should be
established. Proper indorsement from the Protected Area Management Bureau or PAMB should be
secured.2 (Emphasis supplied)
On January 11, 2002, the petitioner appealed Canda’s findings to respondent EMB Region 7 Director
Bienvenido L. Lipayon (RD Lipayon), claiming that it should also be issued a CNC because the project was no
different from the Loboc-Loay waterworks project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
that had recently been issued a CNC.3
On April 3, 2002, RD Lipayon notified the petitioner that its documents substantially complied with the
procedural aspects of the EMB’s review, and that the application was assigned EMB-DENR-7 Control No.
CNC-02-080 for easy reference in case of follow-up and submission of additional requirements.4
Later on, RD Lipayon informed the petitioner that an Initial Environmental Examination document was required
for the project due to its significant impact in the area.5
On August 26, 2002, RD Lipayon required the petitioner to submit the following documents to enable the EMB
to determine whether the project was within an environmentally critical area or not, to wit:
1. Certification from DENR, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) that it is not
within areas declared by law as national parks, watershed reserves, wildlife preservation area,
sanctuaries and not within the purview of Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected
Areas System (NIPAS) Act, and other issuances including international commitments and declarations;
2. Certification from the DENR Regional Office/ PENRO [that] the areas within the project do not
constitute the habitat for any endangered or threatened species or indigenous wildlife (Flora and
Fauna).
3. Certification from the following:
3.1. Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)
that the area is not frequently visited or hard-hit by typhoons. This shall refer to all areas where
typhoon signal no. 3 not hoisted for at least twice a year during the last five (5) years prior to the
year of reckoning. Years to be considered shall be from January 1995 to December 2001.
3.2. Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) that the area was not
subjected to an earthquake of at least intensity VII in the Rossi-Forel scale or its equivalent and
hit by tsunamis during the period of 1638 until the year 2001.
3.3. PHIVOLCS that the area was not subjected to earthquakes of at least intensity VII in the
Rossi-Forel scale or its equivalent during the period of 1949 until the year 2001.
3.4. PAGASA that the area is not storm surge-prone.
3.5. Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 7 (MGB 7) that the area is not located along fault
lines or within fault zones and not located in critical slope.
3.6. City Mayor and/or City Engineers Office that the area is not flood prone.
3.7. Network of Protected Areas for Agriculture (NPAA) of the Bureau of Soils and Water
Management (BSWM) that the area is not classified as Prime Agricultural Land.
4. Certification from the Provincial Tourism Office or its equivalent office that areas in your project are
not set-aside as aesthetic potential tourist spot.
5. Certification from the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) that areas within your project are not
recharged areas of aquifer.
6. Certification from DENR regional Office and/or Environmental Management Bureau 7 (EMB 7) that
Loboc River is not characterized by one or any combination of the following conditions:
a. Tapped for domestic purposes;
b. With controlled and/or protected areas declared by appropriate authorities; and
c. Which support wildlife and fishery activities.
A Certificate of Non-Coverage will duly be issued to your foundation once all the above mentioned required
certifications are complied with.
Projects that are covered by P.D. 1586 or the Environmental Impact System (EIS) Law should not start unless
the Project Proponent should secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), otherwise penalties shall
be imposed.6 (Emphases supplied)
On January 28, 2003, the petitioner submitted eight certifications,7 including the certification issued by the
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), as follows:
That the project area, Loboc, Bohol was subjected to an earthquake of Intensity VII in the adapted Rossi-Forel
scale of I-IX last February 8, 1990. The magnitude of the earthquake is 6.8 and the highest intensity reported
was VIII, based on the Rossi-Forel Intensity Scale. During the said earthquake, the PMI Academy Building
collapsed while minor cracks were sustained by the municipal hall, public school, town church and some other
houses in the town. There were reports that immediately after the earthquake, the force of the incoming waves
from the sea caused Alijuan River in the town of Duero to flow inland. The report also states that the waves
affected 10-50 meters of the coastal beach of the towns of Jagna, Duero, Guindulman, Garcia Hernandez and
Valencia.8 (Emphases supplied)
The petitioner failed to secure a certification from the Regional Office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau
(RO-MGB) to the effect that the project area was not located along a fault line/fault zone or a critical slope
because RO-MGB did not have the data and expertise to render such finding, and thus had to forward the
petitioner’s request to the MGB Central Office.9
Upon the MGB’s advice, the petitioner sought and obtained the required certification from PHIVOLCS, but the
certification did not state whether the project area was within a critical slope. Instead, the certification stated
that the project site was approximately 18 kilometers west of the East Bohol Fault.10
Given the tenor of the certification from PHIVOLCS, RD Lipayon’s letter dated February 4, 2003 declared that
the project was within an environmentally critical area, and that the petitioner was not entitled to the CNC, viz:
After thorough review of your submitted certifications, it was found out that the area was subjected to an
earthquake of Intensity VII in the adapted Rossi-Forel scale wherein the magnitude of the earthquake is 6.8
with the highest intensity reported of VIII and you fail to support certification that the project area is not within
critical slope. And based on the Water Usage and Classification per Department Order (DAO) 34 Series of
1990, subject river system was officially classified as Class B intended for swimming and bathing purposes.
Moreover, one component of your project involves opening of roadway connected to the barangay road.
Therefore, we reiterate our previous stand that your project is covered by the EIS System pursuant to P.D.
1586, the Environmental Impact Statement Law.11
On March 27, 2003, the petitioner filed a petition for mandamus and damages in the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) in Loay, Bohol,12 alleging that it was now entitled to a CNC as a matter of right after having complied
with the certification requirements; and that the EMB had earlier issued a CNC to the DPWH for a similar
waterworks project in the same area.
In the decision dated November 18, 2003,13 the RTC dismissed the petition for mandamus upon the following
considerations, namely: (1) PHIVOLCS certified that the project site had been subjected to an Intensity VII
earthquake in 1990; (2) the CNC issued by the EMB to a similar waterworks project of the DPWH in the same
area was only for the construction of a unit spring box intake and pump house, and the DENR issued a cease
and desist order relative to the DPWH’s additional project to put up a water filtration plant therein; (3) the
determination of whether an area was environmentally critical was a task that pertained to the EMB; (4) the
assignment of a control number by the EMB to the petitioner’s application did not mean that the application
was as good as approved; (5) the RTC would not interfere with the primary prerogative of the EMB to review
the merits of the petitioner’s application for the CNC; and (6) there was already a pending appeal lodged with
the DENR Secretary.
Hence, this appeal brought directly to the Court via petition for review on certiorari.
Issues
The petitioner submits the following issues:
A. WHETHER OR NOT, AFTER PETITIONER’S DUE COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS
MANDATED BY RESPONDENTS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF THE CERTIFICATE OF NON-
COVERAGE (CNC) APPLIED FOR BY PETITIONER, IT IS NOW THE RIPENED DUTY OF
RESPONDENTS, THROUGH RESPONDENT EMB REGIONAL DIRECTOR, TO ISSUE SAID
DOCUMENT IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER;
B. WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER HAS EXHAUSTED AVAILABLE ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES
THROUGH AN APPEAL TO RESPONDENT DENR SECRETARY WHO HAS SAT ON SAID APPEAL
UP TO THE PRESENT;
C. WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER IS ENTITLED TO RECOVER DAMAGES FROM
RESPONDENTS IN THEIR PERSONAL CAPACITY.14
The petitioner insists that RD Lipayon already exercised his discretion by finding that the application
substantially complied with the procedural aspects for review and by assigning Control No. CNC-02-080 to its
application; that after the petitioner complied with the requirements enumerated in the August 26, 2002 letter of
RD Lipayon, the EMB became duty-bound to issue the CNC to the petitioner; that the EMB issued a CNC to a
similar project of the DPWH in the same area; that it filed an appeal with the DENR Secretary, but the appeal
remained unresolved; and that it brought the petition for mandamus precisely as a speedier recourse.
In their comment, RD Lipayon and Canda aver that the act complained of against them involved an exercise of
discretion that could not be compelled by mandamus; that the petitioner’s proposed project was located within
an environmentally critical area, and the activities to be done were so significant that they would create
massive earth movement and environmental degradation; that the petitioner violated the rule against forum
shopping; and that the petitioner had no cause of action against them for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies.
On his part, the DENR Secretary, through the Solicitor General, contends that the petition raises questions of
fact that are not proper in a petition for review; that the petitioner should have appealed to the CA under Rule
41 of the Rules of Court; that the grant or denial of a CNC application is discretionary and cannot be compelled
by mandamus; and that the petitioner failed to exhaust administrative remedies.
Accordingly, the Court is called upon to resolve, firstly, whether the appeal directly to this Court from the RTC
was proper, and, secondly, whether the petition for mandamus was the correct recourse.
Another reason for denying due course to this review is that the petitioner did not establish that the
grant of its application for the CNC was a purely ministerial in nature on the part of RD Lipayon. Hence,
mandamus was not a proper remedy.
The CNC is a certification issued by the EMB certifying that a project is not covered by the Environmental
Impact Statement System (EIS System) and that the project proponent is not required to secure an ECC.26
The EIS System was established by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1586 pursuant to Section 4 of P.D. No.
1151 (Philippine Environmental Policy) that required all entities to submit an EIS for projects that would have a
significant effect on the environment (Sec. 4)
P.D. No. 1586 exempted from the requirement of an EIS the projects and areas not declared by the President
of the Philippines as environmentally critical
On December 14, 1981, the President issued Proclamation No. 2146 declaring areas and types of
projects as environmentally critical and within the scope of the EIS System
The foregoing considerations indicate that the grant or denial of an application for ECC/CNC is not an act that
is purely ministerial in nature, but one that involves the exercise of judgment and discretion by the EMB
Director or Regional Director, who must determine whether the project or project area is classified as critical to
the environment based on the documents to be submitted by the applicant.
The petitioner maintains that RD Lipayon already exercised his discretion in its case when he made his finding
that the application substantially complied with the procedural requirements for review. As such, he was then
obliged to issue the CNC once the petitioner had submitted the required certifications.
The petitioner errs on two grounds.
Firstly, RD Lipayon had not yet fully exercised his discretion with regard to the CNC application when he made
his finding. It is clear that his finding referred to the "procedural requirements for review" only. He had still to
decide on the substantive aspect of the application, that is, whether the project and the project area were
considered critical to the environment. In fact, this was the reason why RD Lipayon required the petitioner to
submit certifications from the various government agencies concerned. Surely, the required certifications were
not mere formalities, because they would serve as the bases for his decision on whether to grant or deny the
application.
Secondly, there is no sufficient showing that the petitioner satisfactorily complied with the requirement to
submit the needed certifications. For one, it submitted no certification to the effect that the project site was not
within a critical slope. Also, the PHIVOLCS’s certification showed that the project site had experienced an
Intensity VII earthquake in 1990, a fact that sufficed to place the site in the category of "areas frequently visited
and/or hard-hit by natural calamities." Clearly, the petitioner failed to establish that it had the legal right to be
issued the CNC applied for, warranting the denial of its application.
It is not amiss for us to observe, therefore, that the petitioner grossly misunderstood the nature of the remedy
of mandamus. To avoid similar misunderstanding of the remedy hereafter, a short exposition on the nature and
office of the remedy is now appropriate.
The writ of mandamus is of very ancient and obscure origin. It is believed that the writ was originally part of the
class of writs or mandates issued by the English sovereign to direct his subjects to perform a particular act or
duty.28 The earliest writs were in the form of letters missive, and were mere personal commands. The
command was a law in itself, from which there was no appeal. The writ of mandamus was not only declaratory
of a duty under an existing law, but was a law in itself that imposed the duty, the performance of which it
commanded.29 The King was considered as the fountain and source of justice, and when the law did not
afford a remedy by the regular forms of proceedings, the prerogative powers of the sovereign were invoked in
aid of the ordinary powers of the courts.30
A judicial writ of mandamus, issued in the King’s name out of the court of King’s Bench that had a general
supervisory power over all inferior jurisdictions and officers, gradually supplanted the old personal command of
the sovereign.31 The court of King’s Bench, acting as the general guardian of public rights and in the exercise
of its authority to grant the writ, rendered the writ of mandamus the suppletory means of substantial justice in
every case where there was no other specific legal remedy for a legal right, and ensured that all official duties
were fulfilled whenever the subject-matter was properly within its control.32 Early on, the writ of mandamus
was particularly used to compel public authorities to return the petitioners to public offices from which they had
been unlawfully removed.33
Mandamus was, therefore, originally a purely prerogative writ emanating from the King himself, superintending
the police and preserving the peace within the realm.34 It was allowed only in cases affecting the sovereign, or
the interest of the public at large.35 The writ of mandamus grew out of the necessity to compel the inferior
courts to exercise judicial and ministerial powers invested in them by restraining their excesses, preventing
their negligence and restraining their denial of justice.36
Over time, the writ of mandamus has been stripped of its highly prerogative features and has been assimilated
to the nature of an ordinary remedy. Nonetheless, the writ has remained to be an extraordinary remedy in the
sense that it is only issued in extraordinary cases and where the usual and ordinary modes of proceeding and
forms of remedy are powerless to afford redress to a party aggrieved, and where without its aid there would be
a failure of justice.37
The writ of mandamus has also retained an important feature that sets it apart from the other remedial writs,
i.e., that it is used merely to compel action and to coerce the performance of a pre-existing duty.38 In fact, a
doctrine well-embedded in our jurisprudence is that mandamus will issue only when the petitioner has a clear
legal right to the performance of the act sought to be compelled and the respondent has an imperative duty to
perform the same.39 The petitioner bears the burden to show that there is such a clear legal right to the
performance of the act, and a corresponding compelling duty on the part of the respondent to perform the
act.40
A key principle to be observed in dealing with petitions for mandamus is that such extraordinary remedy lies to
compel the performance of duties that are purely ministerial in nature, not those that are discretionary.41 A
purely ministerial act or duty is one that an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts, in a prescribed
manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of its own judgment
upon the propriety or impropriety of the act done. The duty is ministerial only when its discharge requires
neither the exercise of official discretion or judgment.42
The petitioner's disregard of the foregoing fundamental requisites for mandamus rendered its petition in the
RTC untenable and devoid of merit.
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari; and ORDERS the petitioner to pay the
costs of suit.
PILAR CAÑEDA BRAGA v HON. JOSEPH EMILIO A. ABAYA

This is an Urgent Petition for a Writ of Continuing Mandamus and/or Writ of Kalikasan with a
prayer for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO). The petition is
directed against the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the
Philippine Ports Authority's (PPA) modernization project: the Davao Sasa Wharf (the project), a
30-year concession to develop, operate, and manage the port under the Public-Private
Partnership (PPP) scheme.

The project is allegedly being carried out without the necessary Environmental Compliance
Certificate (ECC) or Environmental Impact Statements required under Presidential Decree No.
(P.D.) 15861 and P.D. 1151.2 The project also allegedly failed to conduct local consultation and
to secure prior sanggunian approval as required by the Local Government
Code.3chanrobleslaw

The Facts

The Port of Davao is a seaport located in Mindanao. It is compose of several ports, all within
the gulf of Davao, but its base port is the Sasa Wharf located at Barangay Sasa, Davao City.

In 2011, the Sasa Wharf was pegged for privatization under the PPP scheme.

In 2012, the PPA commissioned a feasibility study (PPA study) on the current condition of the
Sasa Wharf and its potential new targets in volume increase expansion. The study, which was
completed in 2012, was conducted by Science & Vision For Technology, Inc.

The PPA study estimated that the modernization project would cost an estimated 3.5 Billion
pesos for the purchase of new equipment and the installation of new facilities.4chanrobleslaw

However, the DOTC commissioned another firm, Hamburg port Consultants, to conduct a
second feasibility study (DOTC study) which was concluded in 2013. The DOTC study has a
projected cost of 18 billion pesos and requires the expansion of Sasa Wharf by 27.9
hectares.5chanrobleslaw

The DOTC study served as one of the primary considerations for current Sasa Wharf expansion
project.

On December 21, 2014, the Regional Development Council for Region XI (the Council)
endorsed the project through Resolution No. 118 subject to the following conditions that must
be met before its implementation:6

1. The DOTC shall immediately secure the acquisition of 6.4 hectares of right of way, per
recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority - Investment
Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC);

2. The DOTC shall ensure that appropriate compensation is paid to the owners of the
properties to be acquired as additional right of way;

3. The DOTC shall ensure the proper relocation/resettlement of the informal settlers
affected by the project; and cralawlawlibrary

4. The DOTC shall ensure the project will also benefit the port users and the people of
Davao by providing better, more affordable service, and generating sustainable
employment opportunities.7

On April 10, 2015, the DOTC published an invitation to pre-qualify and bid for the
Project.8chanrobleslaw

On March 15, 2016, the petitioners - all stakeholders from Davao City and Samal, Davao del
Norte - filed this Urgent Petition for a Writ of Continuing Mandamus and/or Writ of Kalikasan.

The Petition

The petitioners allege: (1) that the DOTC issued the notice of public bidding despite
noncompliance with Resolution No. 118; (2) that the DOTC did not conduct prior consultation
and public hearings nor secure the approval of the sanggunian concerned as required under
Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC; (3) that the Davao City sanggunian had passed a resolution
objecting to the project for its noncompliance with the LGC; and (4) that the DOTC has not yet
obtained an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) as required under P.D. 1586.

They argue that the DOTC's implementation of the project - one that as a significant impact on
the environment - without preparing an Environmental Impact Statement, securing an ECC, or
consulting the affected stakeholders, violates their constitutional right to a healthy and balanced
ecology.

The petitioners seek to restrain the implementation of the Project - including its bidding and
award - until the respondents secure an ECC and comply with the LGC.

The petition is premature.

To better understand our judgment, we must first delve into the relevant laws and their
progression over time.
On June 6, 1977, President Ferdinand Marcos enacted P.D. 1151, the Philippine Environmental
Policy. It required all agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, including
government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), as well as private corporations, firms,
and entities to prepare a detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for every project or
undertaking that significantly affects the quality of the environment.12chanrobleslaw

A year later on June 11, 1978, President Marcos issued P.D. 1586 which expounded on P.D.
1151 to institutionalized a more comprehensive EIS System.13 It introduced the ECC, a
certificate issued by the President his representative) to environmentally critical projects that
have sufficient safeguards to protect and preserve the environment. It also penalized th who
violate the Environmental Impact System, its implementing rules, or the conditions of their
ECC.14chanrobleslaw

P.D. 1586 tasked the National Environmental Protection Council (the Council) to issue its
implementing rules and regulations (IRR). Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), a
bureau under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), absorbed these
powers later on after the council was abolished.15chanrobleslaw

In 1991, Congress enacted the LGC which promoted public participation by requiring national
government agencies to consult stakeholders before undertaking programs with significant
ecological impact.

In 1996, President Fidel V. Ramos mandated the continuous Strengthening of DENR's


Environmental Impact Assessment Capability.16 He also required project proponents to conduct
the environmental impact study and the feasibility study of proposed projects simultaneously in
order to maximize the use of resources.17chanrobleslaw

In an effort to further rationalize the EIS System and streamline the CC application process,
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the DENR Secretary to issue new guidelines in
2002.18chanrobleslaw

Consequently, the DENR issued Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2003-30, the current IRR for
the EIS System.

Impact Assessment and the EIS System

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process of evaluating and predicting the
likely impacts - including cumulative impacts - of an undertaking on the environment.19 Its goal
is to prevent or mitigate potential harm to the environment and to protect the welfare of the
affected community. To this end, the process requires proponents to truthfully and responsibly
disclose all relevant information on the project through the EIS. This facilitates meaningful and
informed public participation that ensures the project's social acceptability to the community.

The EIS contains a detailed project description of the nature, configuration, the raw
materials/natural resources to be used, production system, waste generation and control,
timelines, and all other related activities of the proposed project.23 It also includes an
Environmental Management Plan (EMP) detailing the proponent's preventive, mitigating,
compensatory, and contingent measures to enhance the project's positive impacts and
minimize ecological risks.24chanrobleslaw

Projects with potentially significant negative environmental impacts are further required to
conduct public consultations so that the environmental concerns of stakeholders are addressed
in formulating the EMP.25cralawredchanrobleslaw

The impact assessment concludes with EMB's approval (in the form of an ECC) or rejection (in
the form of a denial letter).26 The ECC signifies that the proposed project will not cause
significant negative impact on the environment based on the proponent's representation. It also
certifies that the proponent has complied with the EIS System and has committed to implement
its approved EMP. Accordingly, the ECC contains the specific measures and conditions that the
proponent must undertake to mitigate the identified environmental impacts.

The duty to comply with the EIS System rests on the proponent.

The Sasa Wharf Modernization Project has the potential to significantly affect the quality of the
environment, putting it within the purview of the EIS System. However, (1) who is responsible
for preparing and filing the EIS and (2) when does this duty arise?

P.D. 1151 and P.D. 1586 requires all agencies and instrumentalities of national government,
including GOCCs, and private corporations, firms, and entities to file the EIS for every
proposed project or undertaking that significantly affects the quality of the environment.
On the other hand, P.D. 1586 states:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Section 2. Environmental Impact Statement System. There is hereby established an


Environmental Impact Statement System founded and based on the environmental impact
statement required, under Section 4 of Presidential Decree No. 1151, of all agencies and
instrumentalities of the national government, including government-owned or controlled
corporations, as well as private corporations, firms and entities, for every proposed project and
undertaking which significantly affect the quality of the environment.29chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

These provisions demonstrate the expansive scope of the EIS System. Unfortunately, they are also
ambiguous when it comes to identifying with particularity the responsible party in multilateral and collaborative
projects.

The IRR of the EIS System simply designates the responsible party as the proponent. Ordinarily, the
proponent is easy to identify - it is the natural or juridical person intending to implement the project.30 But who
ane the proponents in PPP Projects which are a collaborative effort between the government and the private
sector?

Republic Act No. 695731 as amended by R.A. 7718, commonly known as the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT)
Law, identifies the proponent in a PPP project as "the private sector entity which shall have contractual
responsibility for the project"32 Accordingly, there is yet no project proponent responsible for the EIS and the
ECC until the bidding process has concluded and the contract has been awarded.

Considering that the Project is still in the bidding stage, the petition or continuing mandamus to compel the
respondents to submit an EIS and secure an ECC is premature. It is also misplaced because the public
respondents DO NOT have the duty to submit the EIS or secure an ECC.

The LGC requires the lead agency to conduct local consultation and secure the approval of the concerned
sanggunian prior to the implementation of the project.

The issuance of the ECC does not exempt the project from ompliance with other relevant laws. The LGC, in
particular, requires the government agency authorizing the project to conduct local consultation and kecure
prior consent for ecologically impactful projects:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Section 26. Duty of National Government Agencies in the Maintenance of Ecological Balance. - It
shall be the duty of every national agency or government-owned or -controlled corporation
authorizing or involved in the planning and implementation of any project or program that
may cause pollution, climatic change, depletion of nonrenewable resources, loss of crop land,
rangeland, or forest cover, and extinction of animal or plant species, to consult with the local
government units, nongovernmental organizations, and other sectors concerned and explain
the goals and objectives of the project or program, its impact upon the people and the community
in terms of environmental or ecological balance, and the measures that will be undertaken to
prevent or minimize the adverse effects thereof.

Section 27. Prior Consultations Required. - No project or program shall be implemented by


government authorities unless the consultations mentioned in Sections 2 (c) and 26 hereof are
complied with, and prior approval of the sanggunian concerned is obtained: Provided, That
occupants in areas where such projects are to be implemented shall not be evicted unless
appropriate relocation sites have been provided, in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution.33chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

The duty to consult the concerned local government units and the stakeholders belongs to the national
government agency or GOCC authorizing or involved in the planning and implementation of the project - not
the private sector proponent. In this case, this refers to the DOTC.

The LGC does not prohibit the agency from acting through a medium such as the project proponent.34 In fact,
the required consultation under the LGC may overlap with the consultation prescribed under the EIS System.
Both are intended to measure a project's social acceptability and secure the community's approval before the
project's implementation.

However, the agency is responsible for ensuring that: (1) the concerned LGUs and stakeholders have been
thoroughly and truthfully informed of the objectives of the program and its ecological impact on the community;
so that (2) the community, through their sanggunian, can intelligently give their approval to socially acceptable
projects and reject the unacceptable ones. These requirements must be complied with befor the project is
implemented.

But when does implementation begin?

The BOT Law defines the proponent as the private sector entity with the contractual responsibility over the
project.35 The contract to a project is executed between the concerned agency and the winning bidder within
seven (7) days from the latter's receipt of the notice from the agency that all conditions stated in the Notice of
Award have been complied with.36chanrobleslaw
Upon the signing of the contract, the winning bidder becomes the project proponent. Within another 7 days
from the date of approval or signing of the contract by the head of the Agency, the agency will isjsue a "Notice
to Commence Implementation" to the proponent.37 Interestingly enough, even this does not signal the start of
the implementation stage.

Upon receipt of the Notice, the proponent is required to prepare detailed engineering designs and plans based
on the prescribed minimum design and performance standards and specifications in the bid/tender
documents.38 The agency shall review the detailed engineering designs in terms of its compliance with the
prescribed standards and specification the designs are found acceptable, the agency shall approve them
incorporation in the contract to be signed by the proponent and the agency.39chanrobleslaw

The proponent shall construct the project based on the design and performance standards and specifications
in the detailed engineering design.40 The signing of the finalized contract incorporating the detailed
engineering design is the reckoning point when implementation can begin. This is the start of the Construction
Stage.

The Sasa Wharf Modernization Project has not yet reached the construction stage. The bidding process had
not even been concluded when ithe present petition was filed. On this account, the petition is also premature
for the purpose of compelling the respondents to comply with Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC.

The purpose of a writ of continuing mandamus is to compel the espondent to perform his duties under the law.
This remedy is available When any government agency, instrumentality, or officer unlawfully neglects a
Specific legal duty in connection with the enforcement or violation of an environmental law, rule, or
regulation, or a right therein, unlawfully excludes another from the use or enjoyment of such right and :here is
no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.41chanrobleslaw

The writ cannot be resorted to when the respondent is not the person obliged to perform the duty under the
law (as is the case under the EIS System) or when the period for the respondent to perform its legal duty has
not yet expired (as is. the case with the consultation requirements of the LGC). Accordingly, we cannot issue a
writ of continuing mandamus.

The petition does not warrant a writ of Kalikasan.

Likewise, the Court cannot issue a writ of kalikasan based on the petition. The writ is a remedy to anyone
whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated or threatened with violation by an
lawful act or omission. However, the violation must involve environmental damage of such magnitude as to
prejudice the life, health, or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces in order to arrant the
issuance of the writ.42chanrobleslaw

The petitioners allege that the respondents have begun the process of transgressing their right to health and a
balanced ecology through the bidding process.43 They cite The Competitiveness of Global Port-Cities:
Synthesis Report44 to identify the four major negative impacts related to port operations: 1) environmental
impacts, 2) land use impacts, 3) traffic impacts, and 4) other impacts. The synthesis report claims that most of
these impacts affect the surrounding localities.

They claim that the environmental impacts of port operations "are within the field of air emissions, water
quality, soil, waste, biodiversity, noise and other impacts. These environmental impacts can have
consequences for the health of the population of the port city, especially the poorer parts of port
cities."45chanrobleslaw

The petitioners also cite Managing Impacts of Development in Coastal Zone, a joint publication of the DENR,
the Bureau of Fisheries Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Department of the Interior and Government (DILG),
and the DENR Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP) that identified the effects of coastal
construction and reclam including ports and offshore moorings.46 The petition alleges
that:ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
26.According to Managing Impacts, "Coastal construction has been the most widespread of
activities affecting coastal resources" since "Any construction that modifies the shoreline
will invariably change currents, wave action, tidal fluctuations, and the transport of
sediments along the coast" while "Coastal construction that restricts the circulation of
coastal water bodies can also degrade water quali[t]y and coastal ecosystems."47

However, these allegations are insufficient to warrant a writ of kalikasan.

First, the petition failed to identify the particular threats from the Project itself. All it does is cite the negative
impacts of operating a port inside a city based on the Synthesis Report. However, these impacts already exist
because the Port of Davao has been operating since 1900. The Project is not for the creation of a new port
but the modernization of an existing one. At best, the allegations in support of the application for the writ of
kalikasan are hazy and speculative.

Second, the joint publication is titled Managing Impacts of Development in the Coastal Zone for a reason; it
identifies the potential environmental impacts and proposes mitigation measures to protest the environment.
The petition is misleading because it only identified the isks but neglected to mention the existence and
availability of mitigating measures.48chanrobleslaw

Moreover, this Court does not have the technical competence to ssess the Project, identify the environmental
threats, and weigh the sufficiency or insufficiency of any proposed mitigation measures. This specialized
competence is lodged in the DENR, who acts through the EMB In the EIA process. As we have already
established, the application of the EIS System is premature until a proponent is selected.

Further, we fail to see an environmental risk that threatens to prejudice the inhabitants of two or more cities or
municipalities if we do not estrain the conduct of the bidding process. The bidding process is not equivalent to
the implementation of the project. The bidding process itself 'annot conceivably cause any environmental
damage.

Finally, it is premature to conclude that the respondents violated the conditions of Resolution No. 118 issued
by the Regional Development Council of Region XI. Notably, the Resolution requires compliance before the
implementation of the project. Again, the project has not yet reached the implementation stage.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for its prematurity and lack of merit.

SUMMIT ONE CONDOMINIUM CORPORATION, Petitioner


vs.
POLLUTION ADJUDICATION BOARD AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUREAU - NATIONAL
CAPITAL REGION
R.A. No. 9275 was enacted pursuant to the State's policy of pursuing economic growth in a manner consistent
with the protection, preservation and revival of the quality of fresh, brackish and marine waters.6 Towards this
end, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) requires owners and operators of
facilities that discharge regulated effluents7 to secure a permit to discharge. This permit is the legal
authorization granted by the DENR to discharge wastewater into a particular body of water.8
On March 11, 2010, respondent Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) - National Capital Region (NCR)
conducted an inspection of the wastewater samples gathered from the sewage treatment facility of SOCC. The
authorized inspection was through a "grab sample" taken from SOCC's sewage treatment plant (STP) for the
purpose of monitoring SOCC's compliance with R.A. No. 9275 and as a necessary consequence of its
application for wastewater "Discharge Permit." The laboratory analysis yielded that the SOCC's wastewater
failed to comply with the DENR Effluent Standards set by the Revised Effluent Regulations of 1990 on four (4)
parameters, namely, color, biological oxygen demand (BOD 5 mg/L), Suspended Solids mg/L, and Total
Coliform (MPN/l00m/L).
On May 12, 2010, the EMB-NCR, through Engr. Roberto D. Sheen, OIC, Regional Director, sent a Notice of
Violation9 to SOCC, directing the latter to appear in a technical conference to be held on May 25, 2010 to
thresh out the issue on the laboratory results. During the conference, SOCC agreed to introduce bio-
remediation10 measures and enzyme addition to lower the concentration of bacteria in its sewage water.
Subsequently, SOCC hired Milestone Water Industries, Inc. (Milestone) to conduct an independent analysis of
its wastewater. The results of the laboratory analysis for the months of March, April, and May 2010 revealed
that the sewage water of SOCC passed the Effluent Standards.11
On December 15, 2010, EMB-NCR conducted another inspection on SOCC's STP. The results of the physical-
chemical analysis disclosed that the wastewater of SOCC passed the Effluent Standards.
In its September 20, 2012 Order,12 the PAB adopted the recommendation of the Committee on Fines
penalizing SOCC for its initial failure to comply with the Effluent Standard. A fine was imposed on SOCC in the
amount of PhP 2,790,000. SOCC moved for reconsideration13 but failed to obtain favorable relief as this was
denied by the P AB in its July 12, 2013 Order.14
On October 2, 2013, SOCC appealed15 the PAB's September 20, 2012 and July 12, 2013 Orders with the CA,
which the latter denied in its May 29, 2014 Decision.16 Its June 26, 2014 Motion for Reconsideration17 having
been denied in the October 13, 2014 Resolution,18 SOCC filed the instant petition.
Petitioner contends that the CA erred when (1) it affirmed the PAB's reliance on the results of EMB-NCR's test
results based on a "grab sample"; (2) it ignored the fact that EMB-NCR failed to timely conduct a "compliance
test" after it was informed that SOCC successfully implemented "bioremediation measure"; (3) it ignored EMB-
NCR's failure to timely furnish SOCC of the results of the test within five (5) days from the release of the
laboratory analysis; (4) it rejected the findings of Milestone because it was not an accredited laboratory; and (5)
it affirmed the amount of fines imposed on SOCC, which is a violation of P AB's own rules, considering that it is
arbitrary, amounting to a violation of its right to due process.
Petitioner likewise contends that its efforts to comply with DENR's Effluent Standards "should mitigate" the
fines imposed upon it. In order to comply therewith, petitioner even engaged the services of Milestone to
conduct monthly examinations of its wastewater as early as July 2009. Petitioner further contends that
assuming EMB-NCR's test is valid, SOCC should only be liable for the following period: March 11, 2010 until
March 17, 2010, or a total of seven days. This is so, considering that the subsequent test conducted by
Milestone in March 17, 2010 showed that SOCC complied with the Effluent Standards.
In their Comment, PAB and EMB-NCR, through the OSG, aver that the issues raised by petitioner, i.e., the CA
erred in affirming PAB's twin Orders, inclusive of the imposition of fines, are factual issues which are not the
proper subjects of a petition for review under Rule 45.
The Appeal is bereft of merit.
This appeal by certiorari is being taken under Rule 45, whose Section 1 expressly requires that the petition
shall raise only questions of law which must be distinctly set forth. Yet, the SOCC hereby raises a question of
fact which resolution is decisive in this case. That issue of fact concerns whether or not the CA committed error
in affirming SOCC's non-compliance with the DENR Effluent Standards and in imposing fines thereon. For this
reason, the Court is constrained to deny due course to the petition for review.
It is a settled rule that in the exercise of the Court's power of review, the Court is not a trier of facts and does
not normally undertake the reexamination of the evidence presented by the contending parties during the trial
of the case.19 This Court relies on the findings of fact of the CA or of the trial court, and accepts such findings
as conclusive and binding unless any of the exceptions20 laid down by jurisprudence obtains in the factual
setting of the case. However, none of these exceptions apply herein.
Likewise, it is worth stressing that the courts generally accord great respect, if not finality, to factual findings of
administrative agencies because of their special knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their
jurisdiction.21
Here, the PAB, which is vested under Section 19 of Executive Order 192 or the order Providing For The
Reorganization Of The Department Of Environment, Energy And Natural Resources; Renaming It As The
Department Of Environment And Natural Resources And .For Other Purposes,22 with the specific power to
adjudicate pollution cases in general; and, EMB-NCR, which serves as the Secretariat of the PAB,23 found
that SOCC failed to comply with the DENR Effluent Standards that caused pollution to the waters. It also found
that SOCC's reliance on Milestone's water analysis showing its subsequent compliance with the DENR Effluent
Standards cannot be given credence considering that Milestone is not a DENR-accredited laboratory. The CA
accorded great weight to these findings and We find no justification to deviate therefrom.
Indeed, by reason of their special knowledge and expertise over matters falling under their jurisdiction,
administrative agencies, like respondents PAB and EMB-NCR, are in a better position to pass judgment
thereon, and their findings of fact are generally accorded great respect, if not finality, by the courts. Such
findings must be respected as long as they are supported by substantial evidence, even if such evidence is not
overwhelming or even preponderant.24 It is not the task of the appellate court or this Court to once again
weigh the evidence submitted before and passed upon by the administrative body and to substitute its own
judgment regarding the sufficiency of the evidence.25 Since SOCC failed to show that the PAB and EMB-NCR
have acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, this Court cannot entertain the instant petition questioning their rulings.26
We cannot subscribe to SOCC's claim that the CA erred in affirming the arbitrary fines imposed by respondents
PAB and EMB-NCR.
Records clearly show that SOCC admitted its failure to comply with the DENR's rules with respect to the
Effluent Standards. In its petition, SOCC pleaded for the mitigation of fines by the mere fact that it exerted its
effort in good faith in complying with the Effluent Standards by hiring Milestone to conduct the monthly
examination. It even went further in informing this Court that "it has an on-going project wherein it is currently in
the process of installing a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant - the Hitachi STP-MBR", and would, among
other things, "allow SOCC to recycle 80% of the water in effluent for use for drinking." Indeed, these
statements indicate that SOCC was aware that it failed to comply with the DENR Effluent Standards test during
the March 11, 2010 inspection conducted by EMB-NCR. At that juncture, it was incumbent on PAB to impose a
penalty on SOCC, i.e., a fine in the amount of PhP 2,790,000.
That SOCC subsequently complied with the DENR Effluent Standards in the months of March, April, and May
2010 is of no moment when We consider these established facts: first, Milestone is a "non-DENR-accredited or
non-DENR-recognized environmental laboratory"; and second, its non-compliance with the DENR Effluent
Standards, as revealed by the March 11, 2010 inspection resulted in the pollution of bodies of water. As
correctly pointed out by the PAB and EMB-NCR, thus:
It is undeniable, however, that petitioner nonetheless initially failed to comply with the Effluent Standards in
violation of the Revised Effluent Regulations. x x x.

xxxx

Rule 27.5 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004
states that the continuation of the violation for which a daily fine shall be imposed shall not be
construed to be a continuation of the discharge or pollutive activity but the continuation of the
existence of the pollution.

xxxx

The submission of Self-Monitoring Reports (SMR) based on findings and certifications of Milestone,
a non-DENR-Accredited or non-DENR-recognized environmental laboratory entity, is
inconsequential as it cannot be considered compliance at all. Accordingly, the EMB-NCR cannot be
expected to act on it. Moreover, when petitioner's SMR was not acted upon for a long period of
time, it should have prompted petitioner to inquire upon its SMR before the EMB-NCR, which
petitioner miserably failed to do.27 (Emphasis ours)
Prescinding from the above disquisition, this Court is of the view that the CA did not err when it affirmed the
PAB's September 20, 2012 and July 12, 2013 Orders.1âwphi1
A final note. The protection of the environment, like the bodies of water which are within the Metropolis, is the
duty and responsibility, not only of government agencies tasked to oversee environmental preservation and
restoration, but, more importantly, of the entire citizenry, including manufacturing plants and industrial plants
including domestic, commercial and recreational facilities. PAB dealt with the barrage of pollution threats
pouring out from the SOCC's sewerage within its vicinity when it conducted an inspection of the wastewater
samples, thus, giving teeth to the policy of R.A. No. 9275 which is to pursue a policy of economic growth in a
manner consistent with the protection, preservation and revival of the quality of our fresh, brackish and marine
waters. The least that SOCC could do is to be more responsible, more familiar and more responsive to the call
of environmental conservation.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The May 29, 2014 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
132046, which dismissed the Petition for Review filed on October 2, 2013 and affirmed the Orders dated
September 20, 2012 and July 12, 2013 both issued by the Pollution Adjudication Board, which imposed a fine
of PhP 2, 790,000 on Summit One Condominium Corporation for its alleged violation of Republic Act No. 9275,
otherwise known as the Philippine Clear Water Act of 2004, is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. RONALD M. COSALAN
The Antecedents
The controversy involves a parcel of land located in Sitio Adabong, Barrio Kapunga, Municipality of Tublay,
Benguet, with an area of 98,205 square meters, more or less, under an approved Survey Plan PSU-204810,
issued by the Bureau of Lands on March 12, 1964.
Respondent alleged that the Cosalan clan came from the Ibaloi Tribe of Bokod and Tublay, Benguet; that he
was the eldest son of Andres Acop Cosalan (Andres), the youngest son of Fernando Cosalan (Fernando), also
a member of the said tribe; that he was four generations away from his great-grandparents, Opilis and Adonis,
who owned a vast tract of land in Tublay, Benguet; that this property was passed on to their daughter Peran
who married Bangkilay Acop (Bangkilay) in 1858; that the couple then settled, developed and farmed the said
property; that Acop enlarged the inherited landholdings, and utilized the same for agricultural purposes,
principally as pasture land for their hundreds of cattle;4 that at that time, Benguet was a cattle country with
Mateo Cariño (Mateo) of the landmark case Cariño v. Insular Government,5 having his ranch in what became
Baguio City, while Acop established his ranch in Betdi, later known as Acop's Place in Tublay Benguet, that
Mateo and Acop were contemporaries, and became "abalayans" (in-laws) as the eldest son of Mateo, named
Sioco, married Guilata, the eldest daughter of Acop; and that Guilata was the sister of Aguinaya Acop Cosalan
(Aguinaya), the grandmother of respondent.6
Respondent also alleged that Peran and Bangkilay had been in possession of the land under claim of
ownership since their marriage in 1858 until Bangkilay died in 1918; that when Bangkilay died, the ownership
and possession of the land was passed on to their children, one of whom was Aguinaya who married
Fernando; that Acop's children continued to utilize part of the land for agriculture, while the other parts for
grazing of work animals, horses and family cattle; that when Fernando and Aguinaya died in 1945 and 1950,
respectively, their children, Nieves Cosalan Ramos (Nieves), Enrique Cosalan (Enrique), and Andres inherited
their share of the land; that Nieves registered her share consisting of 107,219 square meters under Free
Patent No. 576952, and was issued Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P- 776;7 that Enrique, on the other
hand, registered his share consisting of 212,688 square meters through judicial process, docketed as Land
Registration Case (LRC) No. N-87, which was granted by then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Baguio and
Benguet, Branch 3, and was affirmed by the Court in its Decision8 dated May 7, 1992, and that OCT No. O-
238 was issued in his favor.9
Similarly, Andres sought the registration of his share (now the subject land) consisting of 98,205 square
meters, more or less, through judicial process. He had the subject land surveyed and was subsequently issued
by the Director of Lands the Surveyor's Certificate10 dated March 12, 1964. Thereafter, he filed a case for
registration, docketed as LRC Case No. N-422 (37), Record No. N54212, before RTC Branch 8. The case,
which was archived on August 23, 1983, was dismissed on motion of Andres in the Order11 dated November
13, 2004.
In 1994, Andres sold the subject land to his son, respondent, for the sum of P300,000.00, evidenced by the
Deed of Absolute Sale of Unregistered Land12 dated August 31, 1994.
On February 8, 2005, respondent filed an application for registration of title of the subject land before RTC
Branch 10.13 Respondent presented himself and Andres as principal witnesses and the owners of the
properties adjoining the subject land namely, Priscilla Baban (Priscilla) and Bangilan Acop (Bangilan).
Respondent in his application alleged, among others, that he acquired the subject land in open, continuous,
exclusive, peaceful, notorious and adverse occupation, cultivation and actual possession, in the concept of an
owner, by himself and through his predecessors-in-interest since time immemorial; that he occupied the said
land which was an ancestral land; that he was a member of the cultural minorities belonging to the Ibaloi
Tribe;14 that he took possession of the subject land and performed acts of dominion over the area by fencing it
with barbed wires, constructing a 200-meter road, levelling some areas for gardening and future construction
and planted pine trees, coffee and bamboos; and that he declared the subject land for taxation purposes and
paid taxes regularly and continuously.15
Priscilla, the maternal first cousin of Andres, testified that she was born in Acop, Tublay, Benguet on January
15, 1919 to parents Domingo Sapang and Margarina Acop (Margarina); that she inherited the property
adjacent to the subject land from Margarina who, in turn, inherited it from her father Bangkilay; that her
property and the subject land used to be parts of the vast tract of land owned by Bangkilay; that when
Bangkilay died, the property was inherited by his children; that one of his daughters, Aguinaya, took
possession of her share of the property; that Aguinaya and her husband Fernando then used the land for
vegetation, raising cattle and agricultural planting; that when spouses Aguinaya and Fernando died, Andres
took possession of the subject land and planted pine trees which he sold as Christmas trees, but when the sale
of pine trees was banned, he allowed other people to use the trees for firewood; and that Andres thereafter
sold the property to respondent.16
Bangilan, on the other hand, testified that he was 73 years old; that he had been residing in Barangay Adabong
since he was seven (7) years old; that his father Cid Acop inherited the property adjoining the subject land; and
that his fathers property was issued a certificate of title.17
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR),
opposed the application filed by respondent on the ground that the subject land was part of the Central
Cordillera Forest Reserve established under Proclamation No. 217.
he petition is not meritorious.
As a rule, forest land located within the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve cannot be a subject of private
appropriation and registration. Respondent, however, was able to prove that the subject land was an ancestral
land, and had been openly and continuously occupied by him and his predecessors in-interest, who were
members of the ICCs/IPs.
Section 3 (b) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 837130 otherwise known as The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of
1997 (IPRA Law) defined ancestral lands as follows:
Section 3 (b) Ancestral Lands - Subject to Section 56 hereof, refers to land occupied, possessed and utilized
by individuals, families and clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since time immemorial, by themselves or
through their predecessors-in-interest, under claims of individual or traditional group ownership, continuously,
to the present except when interrupted by war, force majeure or displacement by force, deceit, stealth, or as a
consequence of government projects and other voluntary dealings entered into by government and private
individuals/corporations, including, but not limited to, residential lots, rice terraces or paddies, private forests,
swidden farms and tree lots[.]

Ancestral lands are covered by the concept of native title that "refers to pre-conquest rights to lands and
domains which, as far back as memory reaches, have been held under a claim of private ownership by
ICCs/IPs, have never been public lands and are thus indisputably presumed to have been held that way since
before the Spanish Conquest."31 To reiterate, they are considered to have never been public lands and are
thus indisputably presumed to have been held that way.
The CA has correctly relied on the case of Cruz v. Secretary of DENR,32 which institutionalized the concept of
native title. Thus:
Every presumption is and ought to be taken against the Government in a case like the present. It might,
perhaps, be proper and sufficient to say that when, as far back as testimony or memory goes, the land has
been held by individuals under a claim of private ownership, it will be presumed to have been held in the same
way before the Spanish conquest, and never to have been public land.33 (emphasis supplied)

From the foregoing, it appears that lands covered by the concept of native title are considered an exception to
the Regalian Doctrine embodied in Article XII, Section 2 of the Constitution which provides that all lands of the
public domain belong to the State which is the source of any asserted right to any ownership of land.34
The possession of the subject land by respondent's predecessors-in interest had been settled in the case of
Republic v. CA and Cosalan35 filed by respondent's uncle, Enrique Cosalan. In the said case, Aguinaya, the
mother of Enrique, and grandmother of respondent, filed an application for free patent on the parcels of land
which included the subject land as early as 1933. The Court held that Enrique and his predecessors-in-interest
had been in continuous possession and occupation of the land since the 1840s, long before the subject land
was declared part of a forest reserve.36 Moreover, the CA in its decision noted that Nieves and Cid Acop,
whose lands were adjacent to the subject land, were awarded titles to their respective lands despite being
located within the same forest reserve as the subject land.
Petitioner's reliance on the ruling of Director of Land Management and Director of Forest Development v. CA
and Hilario37 is misplaced. The said case is not on all fours with the present case as the evidence presented in
this case sufficiently established that private interests had intervened even prior to the declaration of the
subject land as part of a forest reserve. As discussed in Republic v. CA and Cosalan:38
The present case, however, admits of a certain twist as compared to the case of Director of Lands, supra, in
that evidence in this case shows that as early as 1933, Aguinaya, mother of petitioner has filed an Application
for Free Patent for the same piece of land. In the said application, Aguinaya claimed to have been in
possession of the property for 25 years prior to her application and that she inherited the land from her father,
named Acop, who himself had been in possession of the same for 60 years before the same was transferred to
her.

It appears, therefore, that respondent Cosalan and his predecessors-in-interest have been in
continuous possession and occupation of the land since the 1840s. Moreover, as observed by the
appellate court, the application of Aguinaya was returned to her, not due to lack of merit, but –

"As the land applied for has been occupied and cultivated prior to July 26, 1894, title
thereto should be perfected thru judicial proceedings in accordance with Section 45 (b)
of the Public Land Act No. 2874, as amended."
Despite the general rule that forest lands cannot be appropriated by private ownership, it has been
previously held that "while the Government has the right to classify portions of public land, the
primary right of a private individual who possessed and cultivated the land in good faith much prior
to such classification must be recognized and should not be prejudiced by after-events which could
not have been anticipated ... Government in the first instance may, by reservation, decide for itself
what portions of public land shall be considered forestry land, unless private interests have
intervened before such reservation is made.39 (emphases supplied)

Hence, respondent's application for registration under Section 12 of the IPRA Law in relation to Section 48 of
the CA No. 141 was correct. Section 12, Chapter III of IPRA Law states that individually-owned ancestral lands,
which are agricultural in character and actually used for agricultural, residential, pasture, and tree farming
purposes, including those with a slope of eighteen percent (18%) or more, are hereby classified as alienable
and disposable agricultural lands.
As stated, respondent and his witnesses were able to prove that the subject land had been used for
agricultural purposes even prior to its declaration as part of the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve. The subject
land had been actually utilized for dry land agriculture where camote, corn and vegetables were planted and
some parts of which were used for grazing farm animals, horses and cattle. Moreover, several improvements
have been introduced like the 200-meter road and the levelling of areas for future construction, gardening,
planting of more pine trees, coffee and bamboo.
Verily, as the IPRA Law expressly provides that ancestral lands are considered public agricultural lands, the
provisions of the Public Land Act or C.A. No. 141 govern the registration of the subject land. Also, Section 48
(b) and (c) of the same Act declares who may apply for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles to
wit:
SEC. 48. The following described citizens of the Philippines, occupying lands of public domain or claiming to
own any such lands or an interest therein, but whose titles have not been perfected or completed, may apply to
the Regional Trial Court of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the
issuance of a certificate of title therefor, under the Property Registration Decree to wit:

xxxx

(b)
Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest, have been in open,
continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands
of public domain, under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, since June 12, 1945, except
when prevented by war or force majeure. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed
all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under
the provisions of this chapter.

(c)
Members of the national cultural minorities who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-
interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of
alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, under a bona fide claim of ownership, since
June 12, 1945 (As amended by PD. No. 1073, dated January 25, 1997).

In Heirs of Gamos v. Heirs of Frando,40 it was held that where all the necessary requirements for a grant by
the Government are complied with through actual physical possession openly, continuously, and publicly, with
a right to a certificate of title to said land under the provisions of Chapter VIII of Act No. 2874, amending Act
No. 926 (carried over as Chapter VIII of Commonwealth Act No. 141), the possessor is deemed to have
already acquired by operation of law not only a right to a grant, but a grant of the Government, for it is not
necessary that a certificate of title be issued in order that said grant may be sanctioned by the court — an
application therefore being sufficient.41
Certainly, it has been proven that respondent and his predecessors-in interest had been in open and
continuous possession of the subject land since time immemorial even before it was declared part of the
Central Cordillera Forest Reserve under Proclamation No. 217. Thus, the registration of the subject land in
favor of respondent is proper.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The August 27, 2014 Decision and the February 4, 2015 Resolution of
the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 98224 are AFFIRMED in toto.
SO ORDERED.

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A COMPREHENSIVE WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT AND FOR OTHER
SECTION 3. Coverage of the Act. - This Act shall apply to water quality management in all water bodies:
Provided, That it shall primarily apply to the abatement and control of pollution from land based sources:
Provided, further, That the water quality standards and regulations and the civil liability and penal provisions
under this Act shall be enforced irrespective of sources of pollution.
SECTION 4. Definition of Terms
h) Contamination - means the production of substances not found in the natural composition of water that
make the water less desirable or unfit desirable or unfit for intended use.
j) Discharge includes, but is not limited to, the act of spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying,
releasing or dumping of any material into a water body or onto land from which it might flow or drain into said
water.
l) Dumping - means any unauthorized or illegal disposal into any body of water or land of wastes or toxic or
hazardous material: Provided, That it does not mean a release of effluent coming from commercial, industrial,
and domestic sources which are within the effluent standards.
bb) Pollutant- shall refer to any substance, whether solid, liquid, gaseous or radioactive, which directly or
indirectly:
(i) alters the quality of any segment of the receiving water body to affect or tend to affect adversely any
beneficial use thereof;
(ii) is hazardous or potential hazardous to health;
(iii) imparts objectionable odor, temperature change, or physical, chemical or biological change to any
segment of the water body; or
(iv) is in excess of the allowable limits, concentrations, or quality standards specified, or in
contravention of the condition, limitation or restriction prescribed in this Act.
pp) Water Pollution - means any alteration of the physical, chemical, biological, or radiological properties of a
water body resulting in the impairment of its purity or quality.
SECTION 15. Financial Liability for Environmental Rehabilitation. - The Department shall require program
and project proponents to put up environmental guarantee fund {EGF) as part of the environmental
management plan attached to the environmental compliance certificate pursuant to Presidential Decree
No.1586 and its implementing rules and regulations. The EGF shall finance the maintenance of the health of
the ecosystems and specially the conservation of watersheds and aquifers affected by the development, and
the needs of emergency response, clean-up or rehabilitation of areas that may be damaged during the
program's or project's actual implementation. Liability for damages shall continue even after the termination of
a program or project and, until the lapse of a given period indicated in the environmental compliance certificate,
as determined by the Department. The EGF may be in the form of a trust fund, environmental insurance,
surety bonds, letters of credit, self-insurance and any other instruments which may be identified by the
Department. The choice of the guarantee instrument or combinations thereof shall depend, among others, on
the assessment of the risks involved and financial test mechanisms devised by the Department. Proponents
required to put up guarantee instruments shall furnish the Department with evidence of availment of such
instruments from accredited financial instrument providers.
SECTION 16. Clean-Up Operations. - Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 15 and 26 hereof, any
person who causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies in excess of the applicable and prevailing standards
shall be responsible to contain, remove and clean-up any pollution incident at his own expense to the extent
that the same water bodies have been rendered unfit for utilization and beneficial use: Provided, That in the
event emergency clean-up operations are necessary and the polluter fails to immediately undertake the same,
the Department, in coordination with other government agencies concerned, shall conduct containment,
removal and clean-up operations. Expenses incurred in said operations shall be reimbursed by the persons
found to have caused such pollution upon proper administrative determination in accordance with this Act.
Reimbursements of the cost incurred shall be made to the Water Quality Management Fund or to such other
funds where said disbursements were sourced.
SECTION 17. Programmatic Environmental Impact Assessment. - The Department shall implement
programmatic compliance with the environmental impact assessment system, as in the following types of
development:
a) development consisting of a series of similar projects, or a project subdivided into several phases
and/or stages whether situated in a contiguous area or geographically dispersed; and
b) development consisting of several components or a cluster of projects co-located in an area such as
an industrial estate, an export processing zone, or a development zone identified in a local land use
plan.
Programmatic compliance with the environmental impact assessment system shall be guided by carrying
capacity assessments determined from ecological profiles. Ecological profiles shall Identify environmental
constraints and opportunities in programmatic areas. Programmatic assessment shall also take into account
cumulative impacts and risks.
Consistent with the provisions of the Local Government Code, the Department may enter into agreement with
LGUs to incorporate programmatic environmental impact assessment into the preparation, updating or revision
of local land use plans and area development plans.
SECTION 27. Prohibited Acts. - The following acts are hereby prohibited:
a) Discharging, depositing or causing to be deposited material of any kind directly or indirectly into the
water bodies or along the margins of any surface water, where, the same shall be liable to be washed
into such surface water, either by tide action or by storm, floods or otherwise, which could cause water
pollution or impede natural flow in the water body;
b) Discharging, injecting or allowing to seep into the soil or sub-soil any substance in any form that
would pollute groundwater. In the case of geothermal projects, and subject to the approval of the
Department, regulated discharge for short- term activities (e.g. well testing, flushing, commissioning,
venting) and deep re-injection of geothermal liquids may be allowed: Provided, That safety measures
are adopted to prevent the contamination of the groundwater;
c) Operating facilities that discharge regulated water pollutants without the valid required permits or
after the permit was revoked for any violation of any condition therein;
d) Disposal of potentially infectious medical waste into sea water by vessels unless the health or safety
of individuals on board the vessel is threatened by a great and imminent peril;
e) Unauthorized transport or dumping into sea waters of sewage sludge or solid waste as defined under
Republic Act No.9003;
f) Transport, dumping or discharge of prohibited chemicals, substances or pollutants listed under
Republic Act No.6969;
g) Operate facilities that discharge or allow to seep, willfully or through gross negligence, prohibited
chemicals, substances or pollutants listed under R. A. No. 6969 into water bodies or wherein the same
shall be liable to be washed into such surface, ground, coastal, and marine water;
h) Undertaking activities or development and expansion of projects, or operating wastewater/sewerage
facilities in violation of Presidential Decree. No.1586 and its implementing rules, and regulations;
i) Discharging regulated water pollutants without the valid required discharge permit pursuant to this Act
or after the permit was revoked for any violation of condition therein;
j) Non-compliance of the LGU with the Water Quality Framework and Management Area Action Plan. In
such a case, sanctions shall be imposed on the local government officials concerned;
k) Refusal to allow entry, inspection and monitoring by the Department in accordance with this Act;
l) Refusal to allow access by the Department to relevant reports and records in accordance with this
Act;
m) Refusal or failure to submit reports whenever required by the Department in accordance with this
Act;
n) Refusal or failure to designate pollution control officers whenever required by, the Department in
accordance with this Act; and
o) Directly using booster pumps in the distribution system or tampering with the water supply in such a
way as to alter or impair the water quality.
SECTION 29. Administrative Sanctions Against Non-compliance with the Water Quality Management
Area Action Plan. - Local government officials concerned shall be subject to Administrative sanctions incase
of failure to comply with their action plan accordance with the relevant provisions of R.A. No. 7160.
CHAPTER 6
ACTIONS
SECTION 30. Administrative Action. - Without prejudice to the right of any affected person to file an
administrative action, the Department shall, on its own instance or upon verified complaint by any person,
institute administrative proceedings in the proper forum against any person who violates:
a) Standards or limitations provided by this Act; or
b) By any such order, rule or regulation issued by the Department with respect to such standard or
limitation.

MMDA v. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay, G.R. No. 171947-48


The need to address environmental pollution, as a cause of climate change, has of late gained the attention of the
international community. Media have finally trained their sights on the ill effects of pollution, the destruction of forests
and other critical habitats, oil spills, and the unabated improper disposal of garbage. And rightly so, for the magnitude
of environmental destruction is now on a scale few ever foresaw and the wound no longer simply heals by itself.[2] But
amidst hard evidence and clear signs of a climate crisis that need bold action, the voice of cynicism, naysayers, and
procrastinators can still be heard.

This case turns on government agencies and their officers who, by the nature of their respective offices or by
direct statutory command, are tasked to protect and preserve, at the first instance, our internal waters, rivers,
shores, and seas polluted by human activities. To most of these agencies and their official complement, the
pollution menace does not seem to carry the high national priority it deserves, if their track records are to be
the norm. Their cavalier attitude towards solving, if not mitigating, the environmental pollution problem, is a sad
commentary on bureaucratic efficiency and commitment.

At the core of the case is the Manila Bay, a place with a proud historic past, once brimming with marine life
and, for so many decades in the past, a spot for different contact recreation activities, but now a dirty and
slowly dying expanse mainly because of the abject official indifference of people and institutions that could
have otherwise made a difference.
This case started when, on January 29, 1999, respondents Concerned Residents of Manila Bay filed a
complaint before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Imus, Cavite against several government agencies, among
them the petitioners, for the cleanup, rehabilitation, and protection of the Manila Bay. Raffled to Branch 20 and
docketed as Civil Case No. 1851-99 of the RTC, the complaint alleged that the water quality of the Manila Bay
had fallen way below the allowable standards set by law, specifically Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1152 or the
Philippine Environment Code. This environmental aberration, the complaint stated, stemmed from:

x x x [The] reckless, wholesale, accumulated and ongoing acts of omission or commission [of the defendants]
resulting in the clear and present danger to public health and in the depletion and contamination of the marine
life of Manila Bay, [for which reason] ALL defendants must be held jointly and/or solidarily liable and be
collectively ordered to clean up Manila Bay and to restore its water quality to class B waters fit for swimming,
skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.[3]

In their individual causes of action, respondents alleged that the continued neglect of petitioners in abating the
pollution of the Manila Bay constitutes a violation of, among others:

(1) Respondents constitutional right to life, health, and a balanced ecology;


(2) The Environment Code (PD 1152);
(3) The Pollution Control Law (PD 984);
(4) The Water Code (PD 1067);
(5) The Sanitation Code (PD 856);
(6) The Illegal Disposal of Wastes Decree (PD 825);
(7) The Marine Pollution Law (PD 979);
(8) Executive Order No. 192;
(9) The Toxic and Hazardous Wastes Law (Republic Act No. 6969);
(10) Civil Code provisions on nuisance and human relations;
(11) The Trust Doctrine and the Principle of Guardianship; and
(12) International Law

Inter alia, respondents, as plaintiffs a quo, prayed that petitioners be ordered to clean the Manila Bay and
submit to the RTC a concerted concrete plan of action for the purpose.

The trial of the case started off with a hearing at the Manila Yacht Club followed by an ocular inspection of the
Manila Bay. Renato T. Cruz, the Chief of the Water Quality Management Section, Environmental Management
Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), testifying for petitioners, stated that water
samples collected from different beaches around the Manila Bay showed that the amount of fecal coliform
content ranged from 50,000 to 80,000 most probable number (MPN)/ml when what DENR Administrative Order
No. 34-90 prescribed as a safe level for bathing and other forms of contact recreational activities, or the SB
level, is one not exceeding 200 MPN/100 ml.[4]

Rebecca de Vera, for Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and in behalf of other
petitioners, testified about the MWSS efforts to reduce pollution along the Manila Bay through the Manila
Second Sewerage Project. For its part, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) presented, as part of its evidence,
its memorandum circulars on the study being conducted on ship-generated waste treatment and disposal, and
its Linis Dagat (Clean the Ocean) project for the cleaning of wastes accumulated or washed to shore.

The RTC Ordered Petitioners to Clean Up and Rehabilitate Manila Bay

On September 13, 2002, the RTC rendered a Decision[5] in favor of respondents. The dispositive portion
reads:

WHEREFORE, finding merit in the complaint, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the abovenamed
defendant-government agencies, jointly and solidarily, to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore its
waters to SB classification to make it fit for swimming, skin-diving and other forms of contact recreation. To
attain this, defendant-agencies, with defendant DENR as the lead agency, are directed, within six (6) months
from receipt hereof, to act and perform their respective duties by devising a consolidated, coordinated and
concerted scheme of action for the rehabilitation and restoration of the bay.
In particular:

Defendant MWSS is directed to install, operate and maintain adequate [sewerage] treatment facilities in
strategic places under its jurisdiction and increase their capacities.

Defendant LWUA, to see to it that the water districts under its wings, provide, construct and operate sewage
facilities for the proper disposal of waste.
Defendant DENR, which is the lead agency in cleaning up Manila Bay, to install, operate and maintain waste
facilities to rid the bay of toxic and hazardous substances.

Defendant PPA, to prevent and also to treat the discharge not only of ship-generated wastes but also of other
solid and liquid wastes from docking vessels that contribute to the pollution of the bay.

Defendant MMDA, to establish, operate and maintain an adequate and appropriate sanitary landfill and/or
adequate solid waste and liquid disposal as well as other alternative garbage disposal system such as re-use
or recycling of wastes.

Defendant DA, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to revitalize the marine life in Manila
Bay and restock its waters with indigenous fish and other aquatic animals.

Defendant DBM, to provide and set aside an adequate budget solely for the purpose of cleaning up and
rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

Defendant DPWH, to remove and demolish structures and other nuisances that obstruct the free flow of waters
to the bay. These nuisances discharge solid and liquid wastes which eventually end up in Manila Bay. As the
construction and engineering arm of the government, DPWH is ordered to actively participate in removing
debris, such as carcass of sunken vessels, and other non-biodegradable garbage in the bay.

Defendant DOH, to closely supervise and monitor the operations of septic and sludge companies and require
them to have proper facilities for the treatment and disposal of fecal sludge and sewage coming from septic
tanks.

Defendant DECS, to inculcate in the minds and hearts of the people through education the importance of
preserving and protecting the environment.

Defendant Philippine Coast Guard and the PNP Maritime Group, to protect at all costs the Manila Bay from all
forms of illegal fishing.

No pronouncement as to damages and costs.

SO ORDERED.
The MWSS, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), and PPA filed before the Court of Appeals (CA)
individual Notices of Appeal which were eventually consolidated and docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 76528.

On the other hand, the DENR, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Metropolitan Manila
Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime
Group, and five other executive departments and agencies filed directly with this Court a petition for review
under Rule 45. The Court, in a Resolution of December 9, 2002, sent the said petition to the CA for
consolidation with the consolidated appeals of MWSS, LWUA, and PPA, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 74944.

Petitioners, before the CA, were one in arguing in the main that the pertinent provisions of the Environment
Code (PD 1152) relate only to the cleaning of specific pollution incidents and do not cover cleaning in general.
And apart from raising concerns about the lack of funds appropriated for cleaning purposes, petitioners also
asserted that the cleaning of the Manila Bay is not a ministerial act which can be compelled by mandamus.

We shall first dwell on the propriety of the issuance of mandamus under the premises.

Generally, the writ of mandamus lies to require the execution of a ministerial duty.[8] A ministerial duty is one that
requires neither the exercise of official discretion nor judgment.[9] It connotes an act in which nothing is left to the
discretion of the person executing it. It is a simple, definite duty arising under conditions admitted or proved to exist
and imposed by law.[10] Mandamus is available to compel action, when refused, on matters involving discretion, but
not to direct the exercise of judgment or discretion one way or the other.

Petitioners maintain that the MMDAs duty to take measures and maintain adequate solid waste and liquid
disposal systems necessarily involves policy evaluation and the exercise of judgment on the part of the agency
concerned. They argue that the MMDA, in carrying out its mandate, has to make decisions, including choosing
where a landfill should be located by undertaking feasibility studies and cost estimates, all of which entail the
exercise of discretion.

Respondents, on the other hand, counter that the statutory command is clear and that petitioners duty to
comply with and act according to the clear mandate of the law does not require the exercise of discretion.
According to respondents, petitioners, the MMDA in particular, are without discretion, for example, to choose
which bodies of water they are to clean up, or which discharge or spill they are to contain. By the same token,
respondents maintain that petitioners are bereft of discretion on whether or not to alleviate the problem of solid
and liquid waste disposal; in other words, it is the MMDAs ministerial duty to attend to such services.
We agree with respondents.

First off, we wish to state that petitioners obligation to perform their duties as defined by law, on one hand, and
how they are to carry out such duties, on the other, are two different concepts. While the implementation of the
MMDAs mandated tasks may entail a decision-making process, the enforcement of the law or the very act of
doing what the law exacts to be done is ministerial in nature and may be compelled by mandamus. We said so
in Social Justice Society v. Atienza[11] in which the Court directed the City of Manila to enforce, as a matter of
ministerial duty, its Ordinance No. 8027 directing the three big local oil players to cease and desist from
operating their business in the so-called Pandacan Terminals within six months from the effectivity of the
ordinance. But to illustrate with respect to the instant case, the MMDAs duty to put up an adequate and
appropriate sanitary landfill and solid waste and liquid disposal as well as other alternative garbage disposal
systems is ministerial, its duty being a statutory imposition. The MMDAs duty in this regard is spelled out in
Sec. 3(c) of Republic Act No. (RA) 7924 creating the MMDA. This section defines and delineates the scope of
the MMDAs waste disposal services to include:

Solid waste disposal and management which include formulation and implementation of policies, standards,
programs and projects for proper and sanitary waste disposal. It shall likewise include the establishment and
operation of sanitary land fill and related facilities and the implementation of other alternative programs
intended to reduce, reuse and recycle solid waste. (Emphasis added.)

The MMDA is duty-bound to comply with Sec. 41 of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003)
which prescribes the minimum criteria for the establishment of sanitary landfills and Sec. 42 which provides the
minimum operating requirements that each site operator shall maintain in the operation of a sanitary landfill.
Complementing Sec. 41 are Secs. 36 and 37 of RA 9003,[12] enjoining the MMDA and local government units,
among others, after the effectivity of the law on February 15, 2001, from using and operating open dumps for
solid waste and disallowing, five years after such effectivity, the use of controlled dumps.

The MMDAs duty in the area of solid waste disposal, as may be noted, is set forth not only in the Environment
Code (PD 1152) and RA 9003, but in its charter as well. This duty of putting up a proper waste disposal system
cannot be characterized as discretionary, for, as earlier stated, discretion presupposes the power or right given
by law to public functionaries to act officially according to their judgment or conscience.[13] A discretionary duty
is one that allows a person to exercise judgment and choose to perform or not to perform.[14] Any suggestion
that the MMDA has the option whether or not to perform its solid waste disposal-related duties ought to be
dismissed for want of legal basis.

A perusal of other petitioners respective charters or like enabling statutes and pertinent laws would yield this
conclusion: these government agencies are enjoined, as a matter of statutory obligation, to perform certain
functions relating directly or indirectly to the cleanup, rehabilitation, protection, and preservation of the Manila
Bay. They are precluded from choosing not to perform these duties. Consider:

(1) The DENR, under Executive Order No. (EO) 192,[15] is the primary agency responsible for the
conservation, management, development, and proper use of the countrys environment and natural resources.
Sec. 19 of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 (RA 9275), on the other hand, designates the DENR as the
primary government agency responsible for its enforcement and implementation, more particularly over all
aspects of water quality management. On water pollution, the DENR, under the Acts Sec. 19(k), exercises
jurisdiction over all aspects of water pollution, determine[s] its location, magnitude, extent, severity, causes and
effects and other pertinent information on pollution, and [takes] measures, using available methods and
technologies, to prevent and abate such pollution.
The DENR, under RA 9275, is also tasked to prepare a National Water Quality Status Report, an Integrated
Water Quality Management Framework, and a 10-year Water Quality Management Area Action Plan which is
nationwide in scope covering the Manila Bay and adjoining areas. Sec. 19 of RA 9275 provides:

Sec. 19 Lead Agency.The [DENR] shall be the primary government agency responsible for the implementation
and enforcement of this Act x x x unless otherwise provided herein. As such, it shall have the following
functions, powers and responsibilities:
a) Prepare a National Water Quality Status report within twenty-four (24) months from the effectivity of this
Act: Provided, That the Department shall thereafter review or revise and publish annually, or as the need
arises, said report;

b) Prepare an Integrated Water Quality Management Framework within twelve (12) months following the
completion of the status report;

c) Prepare a ten (10) year Water Quality Management Area Action Plan within 12 months following the
completion of the framework for each designated water management area. Such action plan shall be reviewed
by the water quality management area governing board every five (5) years or as need arises.
The DENR has prepared the status report for the period 2001 to 2005 and is in the process of completing the
preparation of the Integrated Water Quality Management Framework.[16] Within twelve (12) months thereafter,
it has to submit a final Water Quality Management Area Action Plan.[17] Again, like the MMDA, the DENR
should be made to accomplish the tasks assigned to it under RA 9275.
Parenthetically, during the oral arguments, the DENR Secretary manifested that the DENR, with the assistance
of and in partnership with various government agencies and non-government organizations, has completed, as
of December 2005, the final draft of a comprehensive action plan with estimated budget and time frame,
denominated as Operation Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy, for the rehabilitation, restoration, and
rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.

The completion of the said action plan and even the implementation of some of its phases should more than
ever prod the concerned agencies to fast track what are assigned them under existing laws.

(2) The MWSS, under Sec. 3 of RA 6234,[18] is vested with jurisdiction, supervision, and control over all
waterworks and sewerage systems in the territory comprising what is now the cities of Metro Manila and
several towns of the provinces of Rizal and Cavite, and charged with the duty:
(g) To construct, maintain, and operate such sanitary sewerages as may be necessary for the proper sanitation
and other uses of the cities and towns comprising the System; x x x

(3) The LWUA under PD 198 has the power of supervision and control over local water districts. It can
prescribe the minimum standards and regulations for the operations of these districts and shall monitor and
evaluate local water standards. The LWUA can direct these districts to construct, operate, and furnish facilities
and services for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewerage, waste, and storm water. Additionally,
under RA 9275, the LWUA, as attached agency of the DPWH, is tasked with providing sewerage and sanitation
facilities, inclusive of the setting up of efficient and safe collection, treatment, and sewage disposal system in
the different parts of the country.[19] In relation to the instant petition, the LWUA is mandated to provide
sewerage and sanitation facilities in Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan to prevent pollution in
the Manila Bay.
(4) The Department of Agriculture (DA), pursuant to the Administrative Code of 1987 (EO 292),[20] is
designated as the agency tasked to promulgate and enforce all laws and issuances respecting the
conservation and proper utilization of agricultural and fishery resources. Furthermore, the DA, under the
Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (RA 8550), is, in coordination with local government units (LGUs) and other
concerned sectors, in charge of establishing a monitoring, control, and surveillance system to ensure that
fisheries and aquatic resources in Philippine waters are judiciously utilized and managed on a sustainable
basis.[21] Likewise under RA 9275, the DA is charged with coordinating with the PCG and DENR for the
enforcement of water quality standards in marine waters.[22] More specifically, its Bureau of Fisheries and
Aquatic Resources (BFAR) under Sec. 22(c) of RA 9275 shall primarily be responsible for the prevention and
control of water pollution for the development, management, and conservation of the fisheries and aquatic
resources.

(5) The DPWH, as the engineering and construction arm of the national government, is tasked under EO
292[23] to provide integrated planning, design, and construction services for, among others, flood control and
water resource development systems in accordance with national development objectives and approved
government plans and specifications.

In Metro Manila, however, the MMDA is authorized by Sec. 3(d), RA 7924 to perform metro-wide services
relating to flood control and sewerage management which include the formulation and implementation of
policies, standards, programs and projects for an integrated flood control, drainage and sewerage system.

On July 9, 2002, a Memorandum of Agreement was entered into between the DPWH and MMDA, whereby
MMDA was made the agency primarily responsible for flood control in Metro Manila. For the rest of the country,
DPWH shall remain as the implementing agency for flood control services. The mandate of the MMDA and
DPWH on flood control and drainage services shall include the removal of structures, constructions, and
encroachments built along rivers, waterways, and esteros (drainages) in violation of RA 7279, PD 1067, and
other pertinent laws.

(6) The PCG, in accordance with Sec. 5(p) of PD 601, or the Revised Coast Guard Law of 1974, and Sec. 6 of
PD 979,[24] or the Marine Pollution Decree of 1976, shall have the primary responsibility of enforcing laws,
rules, and regulations governing marine pollution within the territorial waters of the Philippines. It shall
promulgate its own rules and regulations in accordance with the national rules and policies set by the National
Pollution Control Commission upon consultation with the latter for the effective implementation and
enforcement of PD 979. It shall, under Sec. 4 of the law, apprehend violators who:

a. discharge, dump x x x harmful substances from or out of any ship, vessel, barge, or any other floating craft,
or other man-made structures at sea, by any method, means or manner, into or upon the territorial and inland
navigable waters of the Philippines;

b. throw, discharge or deposit, dump, or cause, suffer or procure to be thrown, discharged, or deposited either
from or out of any ship, barge, or other floating craft or vessel of any kind, or from the shore, wharf,
manufacturing establishment, or mill of any kind, any refuse matter of any kind or description whatever other
than that flowing from streets and sewers and passing therefrom in a liquid state into tributary of any navigable
water from which the same shall float or be washed into such navigable water; and

c. deposit x x x material of any kind in any place on the bank of any navigable water or on the bank of any
tributary of any navigable water, where the same shall be liable to be washed into such navigable water, either
by ordinary or high tides, or by storms or floods, or otherwise, whereby navigation shall or may be impeded or
obstructed or increase the level of pollution of such water.

(7) When RA 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Act of 1990 was signed into
law on December 13, 1990, the PNP Maritime Group was tasked to perform all police functions over the
Philippine territorial waters and rivers. Under Sec. 86, RA 6975, the police functions of the PCG shall be taken
over by the PNP when the latter acquires the capability to perform such functions. Since the PNP Maritime
Group has not yet attained the capability to assume and perform the police functions of PCG over marine
pollution, the PCG and PNP Maritime Group shall coordinate with regard to the enforcement of laws, rules, and
regulations governing marine pollution within the territorial waters of the Philippines. This was made clear in
Sec. 124, RA 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, in which both the PCG and PNP Maritime Group
were authorized to enforce said law and other fishery laws, rules, and regulations.[25]

(8) In accordance with Sec. 2 of EO 513, the PPA is mandated to establish, develop, regulate, manage and
operate a rationalized national port system in support of trade and national development.[26] Moreover, Sec. 6-
c of EO 513 states that the PPA has police authority within the

ports administered by it as may be necessary to carry out its powers and functions and attain its purposes and
objectives, without prejudice to the exercise of the functions of the Bureau of Customs and other law
enforcement bodies within the area. Such police authority shall include the following:
xxxx

b) To regulate the entry to, exit from, and movement within the port, of persons and vehicles, as well as
movement within the port of watercraft.[27]
Lastly, as a member of the International Marine Organization and a signatory to the International Convention
for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, as amended by MARPOL 73/78,[28] the Philippines, through the
PPA, must ensure the provision of adequate reception facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of
sewage from the ships docking in Philippine ports. Thus, the PPA is tasked to adopt such measures as are
necessary to prevent the discharge and dumping of solid and liquid wastes and other ship-generated wastes
into the Manila Bay waters from vessels docked at ports and apprehend the violators. When the vessels are
not docked at ports but within Philippine territorial waters, it is the PCG and PNP Maritime Group that have
jurisdiction over said vessels.

(9) The MMDA, as earlier indicated, is duty-bound to put up and maintain adequate sanitary landfill and solid
waste and liquid disposal system as well as other alternative garbage disposal systems. It is primarily
responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of RA 9003, which would necessary
include its penal provisions, within its area of jurisdiction.[29]

Among the prohibited acts under Sec. 48, Chapter VI of RA 9003 that are frequently violated are dumping of
waste matters in public places, such as roads, canals or esteros, open burning of solid waste, squatting in
open dumps and landfills, open dumping, burying of biodegradable or non- biodegradable materials in flood-
prone areas, establishment or operation of open dumps as enjoined in RA 9003, and operation of waste
management facilities without an environmental compliance certificate.

Under Sec. 28 of the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (RA 7279), eviction or demolition may be
allowed when persons or entities occupy danger areas such as esteros, railroad tracks, garbage dumps,
riverbanks, shorelines, waterways, and other public places such as sidewalks, roads, parks and playgrounds.
The MMDA, as lead agency, in coordination with the DPWH, LGUs, and concerned agencies, can dismantle
and remove all structures, constructions, and other encroachments built in breach of RA 7279 and other
pertinent laws along the rivers, waterways, and esteros in Metro Manila. With respect to rivers, waterways, and
esteros in Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga, Cavite, and Laguna that discharge wastewater directly or eventually
into the Manila Bay, the DILG shall direct the concerned LGUs to implement the demolition and removal of
such structures, constructions, and other encroachments built in violation of RA 7279 and other applicable laws
in coordination with the DPWH and concerned agencies.

(10) The Department of Health (DOH), under Article 76 of PD 1067 (the Water Code), is tasked to promulgate
rules and regulations for the establishment of waste disposal areas that affect the source of a water supply or a
reservoir for domestic or municipal use. And under Sec. 8 of RA 9275, the DOH, in coordination with the
DENR, DPWH, and other concerned agencies, shall formulate guidelines and standards for the collection,
treatment, and disposal of sewage and the establishment and operation of a centralized sewage treatment
system. In areas not considered as highly urbanized cities, septage or a mix sewerage-septage management
system shall be employed.

In accordance with Sec. 72[30] of PD 856, the Code of Sanitation of the Philippines, and Sec. 5.1.1[31] of
Chapter XVII of its implementing rules, the DOH is also ordered to ensure the regulation and monitoring of the
proper disposal of wastes by private sludge companies through the strict enforcement of the requirement to
obtain an environmental sanitation clearance of sludge collection treatment and disposal before these
companies are issued their environmental sanitation permit.

(11) The Department of Education (DepEd), under the Philippine Environment Code (PD 1152), is mandated to
integrate subjects on environmental education in its school curricula at all levels.[32] Under Sec. 118 of RA
8550, the DepEd, in collaboration with the DA, Commission on Higher Education, and Philippine Information
Agency, shall launch and pursue a nationwide educational campaign to promote the development,
management, conservation, and proper use of the environment. Under the Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act (RA 9003), on the other hand, it is directed to strengthen the integration of environmental
concerns in school curricula at all levels, with an emphasis on waste management principles.[33]
(12) The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is tasked under Sec. 2, Title XVII of the Administrative
Code of 1987 to ensure the efficient and sound utilization of government funds and revenues so as to
effectively achieve the countrys development objectives.[34]

One of the countrys development objectives is enshrined in RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of
2004. This law stresses that the State shall pursue a policy of economic growth in a manner consistent with the
protection, preservation, and revival of the quality of our fresh, brackish, and marine waters. It also provides
that it is the policy of the government, among others, to streamline processes and procedures in the
prevention, control, and abatement of pollution mechanisms for the protection of water resources; to promote
environmental strategies and use of appropriate economic instruments and of control mechanisms for the
protection of water resources; to formulate a holistic national program of water quality management that
recognizes that issues related to this management cannot be separated from concerns about water sources
and ecological protection, water supply, public health, and quality of life; and to provide a comprehensive
management program for water pollution focusing on pollution prevention.

Thus, the DBM shall then endeavor to provide an adequate budget to attain the noble objectives of RA 9275 in
line with the countrys development objectives.

All told, the aforementioned enabling laws and issuances are in themselves clear, categorical, and complete as
to what are the obligations and mandate of each agency/petitioner under the law. We need not belabor the
issue that their tasks include the cleanup of the Manila Bay.

Now, as to the crux of the petition. Do Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code encompass the cleanup of
water pollution in general, not just specific pollution incidents?

Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code


Include Cleaning in General

The disputed sections are quoted as follows:

Section 17. Upgrading of Water Quality.Where the quality of water has deteriorated to a degree where its state
will adversely affect its best usage, the government agencies concerned shall take such measures as may be
necessary to upgrade the quality of such water to meet the prescribed water quality standards.

Section 20. Clean-up Operations.It shall be the responsibility of the polluter to contain, remove and clean-up
water pollution incidents at his own expense. In case of his failure to do so, the government agencies
concerned shall undertake containment, removal and clean-up operations and expenses incurred in said
operations shall be charged against the persons and/or entities responsible for such pollution.

When the Clean Water Act (RA 9275) took effect, its Sec. 16 on the subject, Cleanup Operations, amended the
counterpart provision (Sec. 20) of the Environment Code (PD 1152). Sec. 17 of PD 1152 continues, however,
to be operational.

The amendatory Sec. 16 of RA 9275 reads:

SEC. 16. Cleanup Operations.Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 15 and 26 hereof, any person who
causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies in excess of the applicable and prevailing standards shall be
responsible to contain, remove and clean up any pollution incident at his own expense to the extent that the
same water bodies have been rendered unfit for utilization and beneficial use: Provided, That in the event
emergency cleanup operations are necessary and the polluter fails to immediately undertake the same, the
[DENR] in coordination with other government agencies concerned, shall undertake containment, removal and
cleanup operations. Expenses incurred in said operations shall be reimbursed by the persons found to have
caused such pollution under proper administrative determination x x x. Reimbursements of the cost incurred
shall be made to the Water Quality Management Fund or to such other funds where said disbursements were
sourced.

As may be noted, the amendment to Sec. 20 of the Environment Code is more apparent than real since the
amendment, insofar as it is relevant to this case, merely consists in the designation of the DENR as lead
agency in the cleanup operations.

Petitioners contend at every turn that Secs. 17 and 20 of the Environment Code concern themselves only with
the matter of cleaning up in specific pollution incidents, as opposed to cleanup in general. They aver that the
twin provisions would have to be read alongside the succeeding Sec. 62(g) and (h), which defines the terms
cleanup operations and accidental spills, as follows:

g. Clean-up Operations [refer] to activities conducted in removing the pollutants discharged or spilled in water
to restore it to pre-spill condition.

h. Accidental Spills [refer] to spills of oil or other hazardous substances in water that result from accidents such
as collisions and groundings.

Petitioners proffer the argument that Secs. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 merely direct the government agencies
concerned to undertake containment, removal, and cleaning operations of a specific polluted portion or
portions of the body of water concerned. They maintain that the application of said Sec. 20 is limited only to
water pollution incidents, which are situations that presuppose the occurrence of specific, isolated pollution
events requiring the corresponding containment, removal, and cleaning operations. Pushing the point further,
they argue that the aforequoted Sec. 62(g) requires cleanup operations to restore the body of water to pre-spill
condition, which means that there must have been a specific incident of either intentional or accidental spillage
of oil or other hazardous substances, as mentioned in Sec. 62(h).

As a counterpoint, respondents argue that petitioners erroneously read Sec. 62(g) as delimiting the application
of Sec. 20 to the containment, removal, and cleanup operations for accidental spills only. Contrary to
petitioners posture, respondents assert that Sec. 62(g), in fact, even expanded the coverage of Sec. 20.
Respondents explain that without its Sec. 62(g), PD 1152 may have indeed covered only pollution
accumulating from the day-to-day operations of businesses around the Manila Bay and other sources of
pollution that slowly accumulated in the bay. Respondents, however, emphasize that Sec. 62(g), far from being
a delimiting provision, in fact even enlarged the operational scope of Sec. 20, by including accidental spills as
among the water pollution incidents contemplated in Sec. 17 in relation to Sec. 20 of PD 1152.

To respondents, petitioners parochial view on environmental issues, coupled with their narrow reading of their
respective mandated roles, has contributed to the worsening water quality of the Manila Bay. Assuming,
respondents assert, that petitioners are correct in saying that the cleanup coverage of Sec. 20 of PD 1152 is
constricted by the definition of the phrase cleanup operations embodied in Sec. 62(g), Sec. 17 is not hobbled
by such limiting definition. As pointed out, the phrases cleanup operations and accidental spills do not appear
in said Sec. 17, not even in the chapter where said section is found.

Respondents are correct. For one thing, said Sec. 17 does not in any way state that the government agencies
concerned ought to confine themselves to the containment, removal, and cleaning operations when a specific
pollution incident occurs. On the contrary, Sec. 17 requires them to act even in the absence of a specific
pollution incident, as long as water quality has deteriorated to a degree where its state will adversely affect its
best usage. This section, to stress, commands concerned government agencies, when appropriate, to take
such measures as may be necessary to meet the prescribed water quality standards. In fine, the underlying
duty to upgrade the quality of water is not conditional on the occurrence of any pollution incident.

For another, a perusal of Sec. 20 of the Environment Code, as couched, indicates that it is properly applicable
to a specific situation in which the pollution is caused by polluters who fail to clean up the mess they left
behind. In such instance, the concerned government agencies shall undertake the cleanup work for the
polluters account. Petitioners assertion, that they have to perform cleanup operations in the Manila Bay only
when there is a water pollution incident and the erring polluters do not undertake the containment, removal,
and cleanup operations, is quite off mark. As earlier discussed, the complementary Sec. 17 of the Environment
Code comes into play and the specific duties of the agencies to clean up come in even if there are no pollution
incidents staring at them. Petitioners, thus, cannot plausibly invoke and hide behind Sec. 20 of PD 1152 or
Sec. 16 of RA 9275 on the pretext that their cleanup mandate depends on the happening of a specific pollution
incident. In this regard, what the CA said with respect to the impasse over Secs. 17 and 20 of PD 1152 is at
once valid as it is practical. The appellate court wrote: PD 1152 aims to introduce a comprehensive program of
environmental protection and management. This is better served by making Secs. 17 & 20 of general
application rather than limiting them to specific pollution incidents.[35]

Granting arguendo that petitioners position thus described vis--vis the implementation of Sec. 20 is correct,
they seem to have overlooked the fact that the pollution of the Manila Bay is of such magnitude and scope that
it is well-nigh impossible to draw the line between a specific and a general pollution incident. And such
impossibility extends to pinpointing with reasonable certainty who the polluters are. We note that Sec. 20 of PD
1152 mentions water pollution incidents which may be caused by polluters in the waters of the Manila Bay itself
or by polluters in adjoining lands and in water bodies or waterways that empty into the bay. Sec. 16 of RA
9275, on the other hand, specifically adverts to any person who causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies,
which may refer to an individual or an establishment that pollutes the land mass near the Manila Bay or the
waterways, such that the contaminants eventually end up in the bay. In this situation, the water pollution
incidents are so numerous and involve nameless and faceless polluters that they can validly be categorized as
beyond the specific pollution incident level.
Not to be ignored of course is the reality that the government agencies concerned are so undermanned that it
would be almost impossible to apprehend the numerous polluters of the Manila Bay. It may perhaps not be
amiss to say that the apprehension, if any, of the Manila Bay polluters has been few and far between. Hence,
practically nobody has been required to contain, remove, or clean up a given water pollution incident. In this
kind of setting, it behooves the Government to step in and undertake cleanup operations. Thus, Sec. 16 of RA
9275, previously Sec. 20 of PD 1152, covers for all intents and purposes a general cleanup situation.

The cleanup and/or restoration of the Manila Bay is only an aspect and the initial stage of the long-term
solution. The preservation of the water quality of the bay after the rehabilitation process is as important as the
cleaning phase. It is imperative then that the wastes and contaminants found in the rivers, inland bays, and
other bodies of water be stopped from reaching the Manila Bay. Otherwise, any cleanup effort would just be a
futile, cosmetic exercise, for, in no time at all, the Manila Bay water quality would again deteriorate below the
ideal minimum standards set by PD 1152, RA 9275, and other relevant laws. It thus behooves the Court to put
the heads of the petitioner-department-agencies and the bureaus and offices under them on continuing notice
about, and to enjoin them to perform, their mandates and duties towards cleaning up the Manila Bay and
preserving the quality of its water to the ideal level. Under what other judicial discipline describes as continuing
mandamus,[36] the Court may, under extraordinary circumstances, issue directives with the end in view of
ensuring that its decision would not be set to naught by administrative inaction or indifference. In India, the
doctrine of continuing mandamus was used to enforce directives of the court to clean up the length of the
Ganges River from industrial and municipal pollution.[37]
The Court can take judicial notice of the presence of shanties and other unauthorized structures which do not
have septic tanks along the Pasig-Marikina-San Juan Rivers, the National Capital Region (NCR) (Paraaque-
Zapote, Las Pias) Rivers, the Navotas-Malabon-Tullahan-Tenejeros Rivers, the Meycuayan-Marilao-Obando
(Bulacan) Rivers, the Talisay (Bataan) River, the Imus (Cavite) River, the Laguna De Bay, and other minor
rivers and connecting waterways, river banks, and esteros which discharge their waters, with all the
accompanying filth, dirt, and garbage, into the major rivers and eventually the Manila Bay. If there is one factor
responsible for the pollution of the major river systems and the Manila Bay, these unauthorized structures
would be on top of the list. And if the issue of illegal or unauthorized structures is not seriously addressed with
sustained resolve, then practically all efforts to cleanse these important bodies of water would be for naught.
The DENR Secretary said as much.[38]

Giving urgent dimension to the necessity of removing these illegal structures is Art. 51 of PD 1067 or the Water
Code,[39] which prohibits the building of structures within a given length along banks of rivers and other
waterways. Art. 51 reads:

The banks of rivers and streams and the shores of the seas and lakes throughout their entire length
and within a zone of three (3) meters in urban areas, twenty (20) meters in agricultural areas and forty (40)
meters in forest areas, along their margins, are subject to the easement of public use in the interest of
recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing and salvage. No person shall be allowed to stay in this zone
longer than what is necessary for recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing or salvage or to build structures of
any kind. (Emphasis added.)

Judicial notice may likewise be taken of factories and other industrial establishments standing along or near
the banks of the Pasig River, other major rivers, and connecting waterways. But while they may not be treated
as unauthorized constructions, some of these establishments undoubtedly contribute to the pollution of the
Pasig River and waterways. The DILG and the concerned LGUs, have, accordingly, the duty to see to it that
non-complying industrial establishments set up, within a reasonable period, the necessary waste water
treatment facilities and infrastructure to prevent their industrial discharge, including their sewage waters, from
flowing into the Pasig River, other major rivers, and connecting waterways. After such period, non-complying
establishments shall be shut down or asked to transfer their operations.

At this juncture, and if only to dramatize the urgency of the need for petitioners-agencies to comply with their
statutory tasks, we cite the Asian Development Bank-commissioned study on the garbage problem in Metro
Manila, the results of which are embodied in the The Garbage Book. As there reported, the garbage crisis in
the metropolitan area is as alarming as it is shocking. Some highlights of the report:

1. As early as 2003, three land-filled dumpsites in Metro Manila - the Payatas, Catmon and Rodriquez
dumpsites - generate an alarming quantity of lead and leachate or liquid run-off. Leachate are toxic liquids that
flow along the surface and seep into the earth and poison the surface and groundwater that are used for
drinking, aquatic life, and the environment.

2. The high level of fecal coliform confirms the presence of a large amount of human waste in the dump sites
and surrounding areas, which is presumably generated by households that lack alternatives to sanitation. To
say that Manila Bay needs rehabilitation is an understatement.

3. Most of the deadly leachate, lead and other dangerous contaminants and possibly strains of pathogens
seeps untreated into ground water and runs into the Marikina and Pasig River systems and Manila Bay.[40]
Given the above perspective, sufficient sanitary landfills should now more than ever be established as
prescribed by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003). Particular note should be taken of the
blatant violations by some LGUs and possibly the MMDA of Sec. 37, reproduced below:
Sec. 37. Prohibition against the Use of Open Dumps for Solid Waste.No open dumps shall be established and
operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including LGUs which [constitute] the use
of open dumps for solid waste, be allowed after the effectivity of this Act: Provided, further that no controlled
dumps shall be allowed (5) years following the effectivity of this Act. (Emphasis added.)

RA 9003 took effect on February 15, 2001 and the adverted grace period of five (5) years which ended on
February 21, 2006 has come and gone, but no single sanitary landfill which strictly complies with the
prescribed standards under RA 9003 has yet been set up.

In addition, there are rampant and repeated violations of Sec. 48 of RA 9003, like littering, dumping of waste
matters in roads, canals, esteros, and other public places, operation of open dumps, open burning of solid
waste, and the like. Some sludge companies which do not have proper disposal facilities simply discharge
sludge into the Metro Manila sewerage system that ends up in the Manila Bay. Equally unabated are violations
of Sec. 27 of RA 9275, which enjoins the pollution of water bodies, groundwater pollution, disposal of infectious
wastes from vessels, and unauthorized transport or dumping into sea waters of sewage or solid waste and of
Secs. 4 and 102 of RA 8550 which proscribes the introduction by human or machine of substances to the
aquatic environment including dumping/disposal of waste and other marine litters, discharge of petroleum or
residual products of petroleum of carbonaceous materials/substances [and other] radioactive, noxious or
harmful liquid, gaseous or solid substances, from any water, land or air transport or other human-made
structure.

In the light of the ongoing environmental degradation, the Court wishes to emphasize the extreme necessity for
all concerned executive departments and agencies to immediately act and discharge their respective official
duties and obligations. Indeed, time is of the essence; hence, there is a need to set timetables for the
performance and completion of the tasks, some of them as defined for them by law and the nature of their
respective offices and mandates.

The importance of the Manila Bay as a sea resource, playground, and as a historical landmark cannot be over-
emphasized. It is not yet too late in the day to restore the Manila Bay to its former splendor and bring back the
plants and sea life that once thrived in its blue waters. But the tasks ahead, daunting as they may be, could
only be accomplished if those mandated, with the help and cooperation of all civic-minded individuals, would
put their minds to these tasks and take responsibility. This means that the State, through petitioners, has to
take the lead in the preservation and protection of the Manila Bay.

The era of delays, procrastination, and ad hoc measures is over. Petitioners must transcend their limitations,
real or imaginary, and buckle down to work before the problem at hand becomes unmanageable. Thus, we
must reiterate that different government agencies and instrumentalities cannot shirk from their mandates; they
must perform their basic functions in cleaning up and rehabilitating the Manila Bay. We are disturbed by
petitioners hiding behind two untenable claims: (1) that there ought to be a specific pollution incident before
they are required to act; and (2) that the cleanup of the bay is a discretionary duty.

RA 9003 is a sweeping piece of legislation enacted to radically transform and improve waste management. It
implements Sec. 16, Art. II of the 1987 Constitution, which explicitly provides that the State shall protect and
advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of
nature.

So it was that in Oposa v. Factoran, Jr. the Court stated that the right to a balanced and healthful ecology need
not even be written in the Constitution for it is assumed, like other civil and political rights guaranteed in the Bill
of Rights, to exist from the inception of mankind and it is an issue of transcendental importance with
intergenerational implications.[41] Even assuming the absence of a categorical legal provision specifically
prodding petitioners to clean up the bay, they and the men and women representing them cannot escape their
obligation to future generations of Filipinos to keep the waters of the Manila Bay clean and clear as humanly as
possible. Anything less would be a betrayal of the trust reposed in them.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

PROVIDING FOR THE REVISION OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 600 GOVERNING MARINE
POLLUTION – 979

Section 2. Statement of Policy. It is hereby declared a national policy to prevent and control the pollution of
seas by the dumping of wastes and other matter which create hazards to human health, harm living resources
and marine life, damage amenities, or interfere with the legitimate uses of the sea within the territorial
jurisdiction of the Philippines.
Section 3. Definition of Terms. For the purposes of this Decree:
(a) "Discharge" includes, but is not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying
or dumping but does not include discharge of effluents from industrial or manufacturing establishments,
or mill of any kind.
(b) "Dumping" means any deliberate disposal at sea and into navigable waters of wastes or other
matter from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea, including the disposal of
wastes or other matter directly arising from or related to the exploration, exploitation and associated off-
shore processing of sea bed mineral resources unless the same is permitted and/or regulated under
this decree: Provided, That it does not mean a disposition of any effluent from any outfall structure to
the extent that such disposition is regulated under the provisions of Republic Act Numbered Three
Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty-One, nor does it mean a routine discharge of effluent or other matter
incidental to the propulsion of, or derived from the normal operations of vessels, aircraft, platforms or
other man-made structures at sea and their equipment.
Section 4. Prohibited Acts. Except in cases of emergency imperiling life or property, or unavoidable accident,
collision, or stranding or in any cases which constitute danger to human life or property or a real threat to
vessels, aircraft, platforms, or other man-made structure, or if damping appears to be the only way of averting
the threat and if there is probability that the damage consequent upon such dumping will be lees than would
otherwise occur, and except as otherwise permitted by regulations prescribed by the National Pollution Control
Commission or the Philippine Coast Guard, it shall be unlawful for any person to
(a) discharge, dump or suffer, permit the discharge of oil, noxious gaseous and liquid substances and
other harmful substances from or out of any ship, vessel, barge, or any other floating craft, or other
man-made structures at sea, by any method, means or manner, into or upon the territorial and inland
navigable waters of the Philippines;
(b) throw, discharge or deposit, dump, or cause suffer or procure to be thrown, discharged, or deposited
either from or out of any ship, barge, or other floating craft of vessel of any kind, or from the shore,
wharf, manufacturing establishment, or mill of any kind, any refuse matter of any kind or description
whatever other than that flowing from streets and sewers and passing therefrom in a liquid state into
tributary of any navigable water from which the same shall float or be washed into such navigable
water; and
(c) deposit or cause, suffer or procure to be deposited material of any kind in any place on the bank of
any navigable water or on the bank of any tributary of any navigable water, where the same shall be
liable to be washed into such navigable water, either by ordinary or high tides, or by storms or floods, or
otherwise, whereby navigation shall or may be impeded or obstructed or increased the level of pollution
of such water.
Section 5. It shall be the primary responsibility of the National Pollution Control Commission to promulgate
national rules and policies governing marine pollution, including but not limited to the discharge of effluents
from any outfall structure, industrial and manufacturing establishments or mill of any kind to the extent that it is
regulated under the provisions of Republic Act Numbered Three Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty-One, and to
issue the appropriate rules and regulations upon consultation with the Philippine Coast Guard.
The Philippine Coast Guard shall promulgate its own rules and regulations in accordance with the national
rules and policies set by the National Pollution Control Commission upon consultation with the latter, for the
effective implementation and enforcement of this decree and other applicable laws, rules and regulations
promulgated by the government.
The rules and regulations issued by the National Pollution Control Commission or the Philippine Coast Guard
shall not include deposit of oyster, shells, or other materials when such deposit is made for the purpose of
developing, maintaining or harvesting fisheries resources and is otherwise regulated by law or occurs pursuant
to an authorized government program: Provided, That the Philippine Coast Guard, whenever in its judgment
navigation will not be injured thereby and upon consultation with and concurrence of the National Pollution
Control Commission, may permit the deposit of any of the materials above-mentioned in navigable waters, and
whenever any permit is so granted, the conditions thereof shall be strictly complied with.
Section 6. Enforcement and Implementation. The Philippine Coast Guard shall have the primary responsibility
of enforcing the laws, rules and regulations governing marine pollution. However, it shall be the joint
responsibility of the Philippine Coast Guard and the National Pollution Control Commission to coordinate and
cooperate with each other in the enforcement of the provisions of this decree and its implementing rules and
regulations, and may call upon any other government office, instrumentality or agency to extend every
assistance in this respect.
Republic Act No. 9483 June 02, 2007
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1992 INTERNATIONAL
CONVENTI0N ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR OIL POLLUTION DAMAGE AND THE 1992 INTERNATIONAL
CONVENTION ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR COMPENSATION FOR
OIL POLLUTION DAMAGE, PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. - The State, in the protection of its marine wealth in its archipelagic waters,
territorial sea and exclusive economic zone, adopts internationally accepted measures which impose strict
liability for Oil Pollution Damage and ensure prompt and adequate compensation for persons who suffer such
damage. This Act adopts and implements the provisions of the 1992 International Convention on Civil Liability
for Oil Pollution Damage and the 1992 International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund
for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage.
SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. - For the purpose of this Act:
(h) "Incident" means any occurrence or series of occurrences having the same origin which causes Pollution
Damage or creates a grave and imminent threat of causing such damage: Provided That a series of
occurrences shall be treated as having occurred on the date of the first such occurrence;
(l) "Pollution Damage" means:
(1) Loss or damage caused outside the Ship by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of
Oil from the Ship, wherever such escape or discharge may occur: Provided, That compensation for
impairment of the environment other than loss of profit from such impairment shall be limited to costs of
reasonable measures of reinstatement actually undertaken or to be undertaken; and
(2) The costs of preventive measures and further loss or damage caused by preventive measure;
(n) "Ship" means any sea-going vessel and sea-home craft of any type whatsoever constructed or adapted for
the carriage of Oil in bulk as cargo: Provided That a Ship capable of carrying Oil and other cargoes shall be
regarded as a Ship only when it is actually carrying Oil in bulk as cargo and during any voyage following such
carriage unless it is proved that it has no residues of such carriage of Oil in bulk aboard;

SEC. 4. Incorporation of the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and 1992 Fund Convention. - Subject to the
provisions of this Act, the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and 1992 Fund Convention and their subsequent
amendments shall form part of the law of the Republic of the Philippines.
SEC. 5 Scope of Application. - This law shall apply exclusively to Pollution Damage caused in Philippine
territory, including its territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone, and to preventive measures, wherever
taken, to prevent or minimize such damage.
CHAPTER II
STRICT LIABILITY FOR OIL POLLUTION DAMAGE
SEC. 6. Liability on Pollution Damage. - The Owner of the Ship at the time of an Incident, or where the
Incident consists of a series of occurrences, at the time of the first such occurrence, shall be liable for any
Pollution Damage caused by the Ship as a result of the Incident. Such damages shall include, but not limited
to:
(a) Reasonable expenses actually incurred in clean-up operations at sea or on shore;
(b) Reasonable expenses of Preventive Measures and further loss or damage caused by preventive
measures;
(c) Consequential loss or loss of earnings suffered by Owners or users of property contaminated or
damaged as a direct result of an Incident;
(d) Pure economic loss or loss of earnings sustained by persons although the property contaminated or
damaged as a direct result of an Incident does not belong to them;
(e) Damage to human health or loss of life as a direct result of the Incident, including expenses for
rehabilitation and recuperation: Provided, That costs of studies or diagnoses to determine the long-term
damage shall also be included; and
(f) Environmental damages and other reasonable measures of environmental restoration.
SEC. 7. Exempting Circumstances. - No liability as stated in the immediately preceding section shall attach
to the Owner or his insurer if he proves that the damage:
(a) Resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection or a natural phenomenon of an
exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character;
(b) Was wholly caused by an act or omission done with intent to cause damage by third party; and
(c) Was wholly caused by the negligence or other wrongful act of the government or other enforcement
agencies responsible for the maintenance of lights or other navigational aids in the exercise of that
function. If the Owner proves that the Pollution Damage resulted wholly or partially either from an act or
omission done with intent to cause damage by the person who suffered the damage or from the
negligence of that person, the Owner may be exonerated wholly or partially from his liability to such
person.
SEC. 8. Persons Exempted from Claims for Compensation for Pollution Damage. - No claim for
compensation Pollution Damage under this Act may be made against:
(a) The servants or agents of the Owner or the members of the crew;
(b) The pilot or any other person who, without being a member of the crew, performs services for the
Ship;
(c) Any charterer, howsoever described, including a bareboat charterer, manager or operator of the
Ship;
(d) Any person performing salvage operations with the consent of the Owner or on the instructions of a
competent public authority;
(e) Any person taking Preventive Measures; and
(f) All servants or agents of persons mentioned in paragraphs (c), (d) and (e) hereof, unless the damage
resulted from their personal act or omission, committed with the intent to cause such damage, or
committed recklessly and with knowledge that such damage would probably result: Provided, That
nothing in this Act shall prejudice any right of recourse of the Owner against third parties.
SEC. 9. Joint and Several Liability. - When an Incident involving two or more Ships occurs and Pollution
Damage results therefrom, the Owners of all the Ships concerned, unless exonerated under Section 7 hereof,
shall be jointly and severally liable for all such damage which is not reasonably separable, without prejudice,
however, to the right of recourse of any of such Owners to proceed against each other or third parties.
CHAPTER III
SYSTEM OF LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
SEC. 10. Limitation of Liability. - The Owner shall be entitled to limit his liability under this Act with respect to
a particular Incident to a total amount calculated as follows:
(a) Three million (3,000,000) units of account for a Ship not exceeding five thousand (5,000) units of
tonnage;
(b) For a Ship with a tonnage in excess thereof, for each unit of tonnage, four hundred twenty (420)
units of account for each unit in addition to the amount mentioned in paragraph (a): Provided, however,
That this aggregate amount shall not, in any event, exceeds 59.7 million units of account:
Provided, further, That the limit of liability of the Owner as aforementioned shall be subject to adjustment
according to subsequent amendments to the 1992 Civil Liability Convention.
The limited liability, under this Section may not be availed of by the Owner if it has been established that such
Pollution Damage resulted from his personal act or omission, committed with intent to cause such damage, or
committed recklessly and with knowledge that such damage would probably result.
The "unit of account" referred to in this Section is the Special Drawing Right (SDR) as defined by the
International Monetary Fund as set forth in the 1992 Civil Liability Convention. The said amount shall be
converted into national currency on the basis of the value of the currency by reference to the SDR on the date
that the fund is constituted under Section 11 of this Act.
The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement the existing official
reserves of member countries. SDRs are allocated to member countries in proportion to their IMF quotas. The
SDR also serves as the unit of account of the IMF and some other international organizations. Its value is
based on a basket of key international currencies.
SEC. 11. Constitution of a fund. - For the purpose of availing himself of the benefit of limitation provided for
under Section 10 of this Act following the occurrence of a particular Incident, the Owner shall be required to
constitute a fund for the total sum representing the limit of his liability with the Maritime Industry Authority
(MARINA) to cover Incidents causing Pollution Damage: Provided That any claim for compensation from
Pollution Damage shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts (RTC).
The fund can be constituted by depositing the sum or by producing a bank guarantee or other financial
guarantee acceptable under existing laws and considered to be adequate by the Department of Transportation
and Communications (DOTC).
SEC. 17. Action for Compensation. - An action for compensation on account of Pollution Damage resulting
from the Incident which occurred in the territory may be brought before the RTC against the following persons:
(a) Owner of the polluting Ship; or
(b) Insurer or other person providing financial security of the said Owner’s liability for pollution.
For this purpose, foreign corporation, partnership, association or individual, whether or not licensed to transact
business in the Philippines by any appropriate government agencies, providing such insurance or financial
security for Pollution Damage shall be considered transacting or doing business in the Philippines and shall be
subject to the jurisdiction of the regular judicial courts of the country.
Such action shall be filed within three years of the date on which the damage occurred, but not later than six
years of the date of the Incident.
The PCG shall investigate, motu proprio or through compensation or violation of this Act, and shall forthwith file
appropriate action with the RTC.
It shall likewise provide the complainant necessary technical evidence or any assistance, whether or not
testimonial or documentary, insofar as the claim for compensation or violation of this Act is concerned.
Filing of the action under this section shall only require payment of filing fees equivalent to ten percentum
(10%) of the regular rates established therefore by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. However, indigent
plaintiff shall be exempt from payment of docket and other lawful fees, and of transcripts of stenographic notes
which the court may order to be furnished him. The amount of the docket and other lawful fees which the
indigent was exempted from paying shall be a lien on any judgment rendered in the case favorable to the
indigent, unless the court otherwise provides.
SEC. 18. Adjudication or Settlement of Claims. - The RTC shall decide claims for compensation or certify
the compromise agreement by the parties within a reasonable period.
Where compensation was not obtained or satisfied under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention, the claimant may
seek compensation under the 1992 Fund Convention. The RTC shall furnish the IOPC Fund with its certified
decision, together with pertinent documents, on a claim for Pollution Damages.
Where the fund under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention is insufficient to satisfy the claims of those who are
entitled to compensation, the amount of compensation of each claimant shall be distributed pro rata.
SEC. 19. Intervention by the IOPC Fund - The IOPC Fund may intervene as a party to any legal proceedings
instituted against the Owner of a Ship or his guarantor under Article IX of the 1992 Civil Liability Convention.
CHAPTER VII
PENALTY PROVISIONS
SEC. 20. Violation of the Act. - The following acts shall be considered violations of the Act and the persons
responsible shall suffer the corresponding fines:
(a) Any person who fails to institute or maintain insurance or other financial security required under
Section 12 of this Act;
(1) Ships of 500 gross tons (GRT) and below - not less than One hundred thousand pesos
(P100,000.00) but not more than Two hundred-fifty thousand pesos (P250,000.00);
(2) Ships of above 500 to 1,000 GRT - not less than Two hundred fifty thousand pesos
(P250,000.00) but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00);
(3) Ships of above 1,000 to 5,000 GRT - not less than Five hundred thousand pesos
(P500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);
(4) Ships of above 5,000 to 10,000 GRT - not less than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00) but
not more than Five million pesos (P5,000,000.00);
(5) Ships of above 10,000 to 20,000 GRT - not less than Five million pesos (P5,000,000.00) but
not more than Ten million pesos (P10,0000,000.00); and
(6) Ships of above 20,000 GRT - not less than Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) but not more
than Fifteen million pesos (P15,000,000.00).
(b) The Owner and the master of a Ship who operate a Ship without maintaining on board a certificate
of insurance required under Section 13 of this Act:
(1) First violation - Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00);
(2) Second violation - One million pesos (P1,000,000.00); and
(3) Third violation - One million five hundred thousand pesos (P1,500,000.00).
(c) Any person required under Section 15 of this Act to contribute to the IOPC Fund but nevertheless
fails to comply therewith after due notice by the MARINA
(1) First violation - Three million pesos (P3,000,000.00);
(2) Second violation - Four million pesos (P4,000,000.00); and
(3) Third violation - Five million pesos (P5,000,000.00).
(d) Failure to Submit Report of Contributing Oil. - Any person required under Section 16 of this Act to
submit report of contributing Oil and notwithstanding l0.day notice thereto, fails to comply therewith:
(1) First violation - Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00);
(2) Second violation - One million pesos (P 1,000,000.00); and
(3) Third violation - One million five hundred thousand pesos (P1,500,000.00).
(e) Any person who shall refuse, obstruct, or hamper the entry of the duly authorized representatives of
the Department or any person authorized under this Act aboard any Ship or establishment pursuant to
this Act shall be liable to pay a fine not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00); and
(f) Any Ship apprehended for violation of this Act may be subjected to detention.
The fines prescribed in this Section and other sections of this Chapter shall be increased by at least ten
percent (10%) every three years to compensate for inflation and to maintain the deterrent function of such
fines.
SEC. 21. Institutional Mechanism. - The DOTC shall be the lead implementing agency unless otherwise
provided in this Act.

Republic Act No. 8749 June 23, 1999


AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A COMPREHENSIVE AIR POLLUTION CONTROL POLICY AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES
Section 4. Recognition of Rights. - Pursuant to the above-declared principles, the following rights of citizens
are hereby sought to be recognized and the State shall seek to guarantee their enjoyment:
(a) The right to breathe clean air;
(b) The right to utilize and enjoy all natural resources according to the principles of sustainable
development;
(c) The right to participate in the formulation, planning, implementation and monitoring of environmental
policies and programs and in the decision-making process;
(d) The right to participate in the decision-making process concerning development policies, plans and
programs projects or activities that may have adverse impact on the environment and public health;
(e) The right to be informed of the nature and extent of the potential hazard of any activity, undertaking
or project and to be served timely notice of any significant rise in the level of pollution and the
accidental or deliberate release into the atmosphere of harmful or hazardous substances;
(f) The right of access to public records which a citizen may need to exercise his or her rights effectively
under this Act;
(g) The right to bring action in court or quasi-judicial bodies to enjoin all activities in violation of
environmental laws and regulations, to compel the rehabilitation and cleanup of affected area, and to
seek the imposition of penal sanctions against violators of environmental laws; and
(h) The right to bring action in court for compensation of personal damages resulting from the adverse
environmental and public health impact of a project or activity.
Article Two
Definition of Terms
Section 5. Definitions. - As used in this Act:
b) "Air pollution" means any alteration of the physical, chemical and biological properties of the atmospheric air,
or any discharge thereto of any liquid, gaseous or solid substances that will or is likely to create or to render
the air resources of the country harmful, detrimental, or injurious to public health, safety or welfare or which will
adversely affect their utilization for domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, or other
legitimate purposes;
Section 16. Permits. - Consistent with the provisions of this Act, the Department shall have the authority to
issue permits as it may determine necessary for the prevention and abatement of air pollution.
Said permits shall cover emission limitations for the regulated air pollutants to help attain and maintain the
ambient air quality standards. These permits shall serve as management tools for the LGUs in the
development of their action plan.
Section 18. Financial Liability for Environmental Rehabilitation. - As part of the environmental
management plan attached to the environmental compliance certificate pursuant to Presidential Decree No.
1586 and rules and regulations set therefor, the Department shall require program and project proponents to
put up financial guarantee mechanisms to finance the needs for emergency response, clean-up rehabilitation
of areas that may be damaged during the program or project’s actual implementation. Liability for damages
shall continue even after the termination of a program or project, where such damages are clearly attributable
to that program or project and for a definite period to be determined by the Department and incorporated into
the environmental compliance certificate.
Financial liability instruments may be in the form a trust fund, environmental insurance, surety bonds, letters of
credit, as well as self-insurance. The choice of the guarantee instruments shall furnish the Department with
evidence of availment of such instruments.
Section 20. Ban on Incineration. - Incineration, hereby defined as the burning of municipal, biomedical and
hazardous waste, which process emits poisonous and toxic fumes is hereby prohibited; Provided, however,
That the prohibition shall not apply to traditional small-scale method of community/neighborhood sanitation
"siga", traditional, agricultural, cultural, health, and food preparation and crematoria; Provided, Further, That
existing incinerators dealing with a biomedical wastes shall be out within three (3) years after the effectivity of
this Act; Provided, Finally, that in the interim, such units shall be limited to the burning of pathological and
infectious wastes, and subject to close monitoring by the Department.
Local government units are hereby mandated to promote, encourage and implement in their respective
jurisdiction a comprehensive ecological waste management that includes waste segregation, recycling and
composting.
With due concern on the effects of climate change, the Department shall promote the use of state-of-the-art,
environmentally-sound and safe non-burn technologies for the handling, treatment, thermal destruction,
utilization, and disposal of sorted, unrecycled, uncomposted, biomedical and hazardous wastes.
Section 24. Pollution from smoking. - Smoking inside a public building or an enclosed public place including
public vehicles and other means of transport or in any enclosed area outside of one's private residence, private
place of work or any duly designated smoking area is hereby prohibited under this Act. This provision shall be
implemented by the LGUs.
Section 25. Pollution from other mobile sources. - The Department, in coordination with appropriate
agencies, shall formulate and establish the necessary standards for all mobile sources other than those
referred to in Sec. 21 of this Act. The imposition of the appropriate fines and penalties from these sources for
any violation of emission standards shall be under the jurisdiction of the DOTC.
Section 28. Misfueling. - In order to prevent the disabling of any emission control device by lead
contamination, no person shall introduce or cause or allow the introduction of leaded gasoline into any motor
vehicle equipped with a gasoline tank filler inlet and labeled "unleaded gasoline only". This prohibition shall
also apply to any person who knows or should know that such vehicle is designed solely for the use of
unleaded gasoline.
Section 29. Prohibition on Manufacture, Import and Sale of leaded Gasoline and of Engines and/or
Components Requiring Leaded Gasoline. - Effective not later than eighteen (18) months after the enactment
of this Act, no person shall manufacture, import, sell, offer for sale, introduce into commerce, convey or
otherwise dispose of, in any manner, leaded gasoline and engines and components requiring the use of leaded
gasoline.
For existing vehicles, the DTI shall formulate standards and procedures that will allow non-conforming engines
to comply with the use of unleaded fuel within five(5) years after the effectivity of this Act.
Section 33. Radioactive Emissions. - All projects which will involve the use of atomic and/or nuclear energy,
and will entail release and emission of radioactive substances into the environment, incident to the
establishment or possession of nuclear energy facilities and radioactive materials, handling, transport,
production, storage, and use of radioactive materials, shall be regulated in the interest of public health and
welfare by the Philippine
Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), in coordination with Department and other appropriate government
agencies.
Chapter 4
Institutional Mechanism
Section 34. Lead Agency. - The Department, unless otherwise provided herein, shall be the primary
government agency responsible for the implementation and enforcement of this Act. To be more effective in
this regard, The Department's Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) shall be converted from a staff
bureau to a line bureau for a period of no more than two (2) years, unless a separate, comprehensive
environmental management agency is created.
Section 35. Linkage Mechanism. - The Department shall consult, participate, cooperate and enter into
agreement with other government agencies, or with affected non-governmental (NGOs) or people's
organizations (POs),or private enterprises in the furtherance of the objectives of this Act.
Section 36. Role of Local Government Units. - Local Government Units (LGUs) shall share the responsibility
in the management and maintenance of air quality within their territorial jurisdiction. Consistent with Sections 7,
8 and 9 of this Act, LGUs shall implement air quality standards set by the Board in areas within their
jurisdiction; Provided, however, That in case where the board has not been duly constituted and has not
promulgated its standards, the standards set forth in this Act shall apply.
Section 40. Administrative Action. - Without prejudice to the right of any affected person to file an
administrative action, the Department shall, on its own instance or upon verified complaint by any person,
institute administrative proceedings against any person who violates:
(a) Standards or limitation provided under this Act; or
(b) Any order, rule or regulation issued by the Department with respect to such standard or limitation.
Section 41. Citizen Suits. - For purposes of enforcing the provisions of this Act or its implementing rules and
regulations, any citizen may file an appropriate civil, criminal or administrative action in the proper courts
against:
(a) Any person who violates or fails to comply with the provisions of this Act or its implementing rules
and regulations; or
(b) The Department or other implementing agencies with respect to orders, rules and regulations issued
inconsistent with this Act; and/or
(c) Any public officer who willfully or grossly neglects the performance of an act specifically enjoined as
a duty by this Act or its implementing rules and regulations; or abuses his authority in the performance
of his duty; or, in any manner, improperly performs his duties under this Act or its implementing rules
and regulations: Provided, however, That no suit can be filed until thirty-day (30) notice has been taken
thereon.
The court shall exempt such action from the payment of filing fees, except fees for actions not capable of
pecuniary estimations, and shall likewise, upon prima facie showing of the non-enforcement or violation
complained of, exempt the plaintiff from the filing of an injunction bond for the issuance of a preliminary
injunction.
Within thirty (30) days, the court shall make a determination if the compliant herein is malicious and/or
baseless and shall accordingly dismiss the action and award attorney's fees and damages.
Section 42. Independence of Action. - The filing of an administrative suit against such person/entity does not
preclude the right of any other person to file any criminal or civil action. Such civil action shall proceed
independently.
Section 43. Suits and Strategic Legal Actions Against Public Participation and the Enforcement of This
Act. - Where a suit is brought against a person who filed an action as provided in Sec. 41 of this Act, or against
any person, institution or government agency that implements this Act, it shall be the duty of the investigating
prosecutor or the court, as the case may be, to immediately make a determination not exceeding thirty (30)
days whether said legal action has been filed to harass, vex, exert undue pressure or stifle such legal
recourses of the person complaining of or enforcing the provisions of this Act. Upon determination thereof,
evidence warranting the same, the court shall dismiss the case and award attorney's fees and double
damages.
This provision shall also apply and benefit public officers who are sued for acts committed in their official
capacity, their being no grave abuse of authority, and done in the course of enforcing this Act.
Section 44. Lien Upon Personal and Immovable Properties of Violators. - Fines and penalties imposed
pursuant to this Act shall be liens upon personal or immovable properties of the violator. Such lien shall, in
case of insolvency of the respondent violator, enjoy preference to laborer's wages under Articles 2241 and
2242 of Republic Act No. 386, otherwise known as the New Civil Code of the Philippines.
Section 48. Gross Violations. - In case of gross violation of this Act or its implementing rules and regulations,
the PAB shall recommend to the proper government agencies to file the appropriate criminal charges against
the violators. The PAB shall assist the public prosecutor in the litigation of the case. Gross violation shall mean:
(a) three (3) or more specific offenses within a period of one (1) year;
(b) three (3) or more specific offenses with three (3) consecutive years;
(c) blatant disregard of the orders of the PAB, such s but not limited to the breaking of seal, padlocks
and other similar devices, or operation despite the existence of an order for closure, discontinuance or
cessation of operation; and
(d) irreparable or grave damage to the environment as a consequence of any violation of the provisions
of this Act.
Offenders shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than six (6) years but not more than ten (10) years
at the discretion of the court. If the offender is a juridical person, the president, manager, directors, trustees,
the pollution control officer or the officials directly in charge of the operations shall suffer the penalty herein
provided.
HILARION M. HENARES, JR., VICTOR C. AGUSTIN, ALFREDO L. HENARES, DANIEL L. HENARES,
ENRIQUE BELO HENARES, and CRISTINA BELO HENARES, petitioners,
vs.
LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD and DEPARTMENT OF
TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS, respondents.
Petitioners challenge this Court to issue a writ of mandamus commanding respondents Land Transportation
Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation and Communications
(DOTC) to require public utility vehicles (PUVs) to use compressed natural gas (CNG) as alternative fuel.
Citing statistics from the Metro Manila Transportation and Traffic Situation Study of 1996,1 the Environmental
Management Bureau (EMB) of the National Capital Region,2 a study of the Asian Development Bank,3 the
Manila Observatory4 and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources5 (DENR) on the high growth
and low turnover in vehicle ownership in the Philippines, including diesel-powered vehicles, two-stroke engine
powered motorcycles and their concomitant emission of air pollutants, petitioners attempt to present a
compelling case for judicial action against the bane of air pollution and related environmental hazards.
Petitioners allege that the particulate matters (PM) – complex mixtures of dust, dirt, smoke, and liquid droplets,
varying in sizes and compositions emitted into the air from various engine combustions – have caused
detrimental effects on health, productivity, infrastructure and the overall quality of life. Petitioners particularly
cite the effects of certain fuel emissions from engine combustion when these react to other pollutants. For
instance, petitioners aver, with hydrocarbons, oxide of nitrogen (NOx) creates smog; with sulfur dioxide, it
creates acid rain; and with ammonia, moisture and other compounds, it reacts to form nitric acid and harmful
nitrates. Fuel emissions also cause retardation and leaf bleaching in plants. According to petitioner, another
emission, carbon monoxide (CO), when not completely burned but emitted into the atmosphere and then
inhaled can disrupt the necessary oxygen in blood. With prolonged exposure, CO affects the nervous system
and can be lethal to people with weak hearts.6
Petitioners add that although much of the new power generated in the country will use natural gas while a
number of oil and coal-fired fuel stations are being phased-out, still with the projected doubling of power
generation over the next 10 years, and with the continuing high demand for motor vehicles, the energy and
transport sectors are likely to remain the major sources of harmful emissions. Petitioners refer us to the study
of the Philippine Environment Monitor 20027, stating that in four of the country's major cities, Metro Manila,
Davao, Cebu and Baguio, the exposure to PM10, a finer PM which can penetrate deep into the lungs causing
serious health problems, is estimated at over US$430 million.8 The study also reports that the emissions of
PMs have caused the following:
· Over 2,000 people die prematurely. This loss is valued at about US$140 million.
· Over 9,000 people suffer from chronic bronchitis, which is valued at about US$120 million.
· Nearly 51 million cases of respiratory symptom days in Metro Manila (averaging twice a year in Davao
and Cebu, and five to six times in Metro Manila and Baguio), costs about US$170 million. This is a 70
percent increase, over a decade, when compared with the findings of a similar study done in 1992 for
Metro Manila, which reported 33 million cases.9
Petitioners likewise cite the University of the Philippines' studies in 1990-91 and 1994 showing that vehicular
emissions in Metro Manila have resulted to the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD);
that pulmonary tuberculosis is highest among jeepney drivers; and there is a 4.8 to 27.5 percent prevalence of
respiratory symptoms among school children and 15.8 to 40.6 percent among child vendors. The studies also
revealed that the children in Metro Manila showed more compromised pulmonary function than their rural
counterparts. Petitioners infer that these are mostly due to the emissions of PUVs.
To counter the aforementioned detrimental effects of emissions from PUVs, petitioners propose the use of
CNG. According to petitioners, CNG is a natural gas comprised mostly of methane which although containing
small amounts of propane and butane,10 is colorless and odorless and considered the cleanest fossil fuel
because it produces much less pollutants than coal and petroleum; produces up to 90 percent less CO
compared to gasoline and diesel fuel; reduces NOx emissions by 50 percent and cuts hydrocarbon emissions
by half; emits 60 percent less PMs; and releases virtually no sulfur dioxide. Although, according to petitioners,
the only drawback of CNG is that it produces more methane, one of the gases blamed for global warming.11
Asserting their right to clean air, petitioners contend that the bases for their petition for a writ of mandamus to
order the LTFRB to require PUVs to use CNG as an alternative fuel, lie in Section 16,12 Article II of the 1987
Constitution, our ruling in Oposa v. Factoran, Jr.,13 and Section 414 of Republic Act No. 8749 otherwise known
as the "Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999."
Meantime, following a subsequent motion, the Court granted petitioners' motion to implead the Department of
Transportation and Communications (DOTC) as additional respondent.
In his Comment for respondents LTFRB and DOTC, the Solicitor General, cites Section 3, Rule 65 of the
Revised Rules of Court and explains that the writ of mandamus is not the correct remedy since the writ may be
issued only to command a tribunal, corporation, board or person to do an act that is required to be done, when
he or it unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from
an office, trust or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to
which such other is entitled, there being no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of
law.15 Further citing existing jurisprudence, the Solicitor General explains that in contrast to a discretionary act,
a ministerial act, which a mandamus is, is one in which an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts,
in a prescribed manner, in obedience to a mandate of legal authority, without regard to or the exercise of his
own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of an act done.
The Solicitor General also notes that nothing in Rep. Act No. 8749 that petitioners invoke, prohibits the use of
gasoline and diesel by owners of motor vehicles. Sadly too, according to the Solicitor General, Rep. Act No.
8749 does not even mention the existence of CNG as alternative fuel and avers that unless this law is
amended to provide CNG as alternative fuel for PUVs, the respondents cannot propose that PUVs use CNG
as alternative fuel.
The Solicitor General also adds that it is the DENR that is tasked to implement Rep. Act No. 8749 and not the
LTFRB nor the DOTC. Moreover, he says, it is the Department of Energy (DOE), under Section 2616 of Rep.
Act No. 8749, that is required to set the specifications for all types of fuel and fuel-related products to improve
fuel compositions for improved efficiency and reduced emissions. He adds that under Section 2117 of the cited
Republic Act, the DOTC is limited to implementing the emission standards for motor vehicles, and the herein
respondents cannot alter, change or modify the emission standards. The Solicitor General opines that the
Court should declare the instant petition for mandamus without merit.
Petitioners, in their Reply, insist that the respondents possess the administrative and regulatory powers to
implement measures in accordance with the policies and principles mandated by Rep. Act No. 8749,
specifically Section 218 and Section 21.19 Petitioners state that under these laws and with all the available
information provided by the DOE on the benefits of CNG, respondents cannot ignore the existence of CNG,
and their failure to recognize CNG and compel its use by PUVs as alternative fuel while air pollution brought
about by the emissions of gasoline and diesel endanger the environment and the people, is tantamount to
neglect in the performance of a duty which the law enjoins.
Lastly, petitioners aver that other than the writ applied for, they have no other plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law. Petitioners insist that the writ in fact should be issued pursuant to the
very same Section 3, Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court that the Solicitor General invokes.
In their Memorandum, petitioners phrase the issues before us as follows:
I. WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONERS HAVE THE PERSONALITY TO BRING THE PRESENT
ACTION
II. WHETHER OR NOT THE PRESENT ACTION IS SUPPORTED BY LAW
III. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT IS THE AGENCY RESPONSIBLE TO IMPLEMENT THE
SUGGESTED ALTERNATIVE OF REQUIRING PUBLIC UTILITY VEHICLES TO USE COMPRESSED
NATURAL GAS (CNG)
IV. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT CAN BE COMPELLED TO REQUIRE PUBLIC UTILITY
VEHICLES TO USE COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS THROUGH A WRIT OF MANDAMUS20
Briefly put, the issues are two-fold. First, Do petitioners have legal personality to bring this petition before us?
Second, Should mandamus issue against respondents to compel PUVs to use CNG as alternative fuel?
According to petitioners, Section 16,21 Article II of the 1987 Constitution is the policy statement that bestows
on the people the right to breathe clean air in a healthy environment. This policy is enunciated in Oposa.22 The
implementation of this policy is articulated in Rep. Act No. 8749. These, according to petitioners, are the bases
for their standing to file the instant petition. They aver that when there is an omission by the government to
safeguard a right, in this case their right to clean air, then, the citizens can resort to and exhaust all remedies to
challenge this omission by the government. This, they say, is embodied in Section 423 of Rep. Act No. 8749.
Petitioners insist that since it is the LTFRB and the DOTC that are the government agencies clothed with
power to regulate and control motor vehicles, particularly PUVs, and with the same agencies' awareness and
knowledge that the PUVs emit dangerous levels of air pollutants, then, the responsibility to see that these are
curbed falls under respondents' functions and a writ of mandamus should issue against them.
The Solicitor General, for his part, reiterates his position that the respondent government agencies, the DOTC
and the LTFRB, are not in a position to compel the PUVs to use CNG as alternative fuel. The Solicitor General
explains that the function of the DOTC is limited to implementing the emission standards set forth in Rep. Act
No. 8749 and the said law only goes as far as setting the maximum limit for the emission of vehicles, but it
does not recognize CNG as alternative engine fuel. The Solicitor General avers that the petition should be
addressed to Congress for it to come up with a policy that would compel the use of CNG as alternative fuel.
Patently, this Court is being asked to resolve issues that are not only procedural. Petitioners challenge this
Court to decide if what petitioners propose could be done through a less circuitous, speedy and unchartered
course in an issue that Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. in his ponencia in the Oposa case,24 describes as
"inter-generational responsibility" and "inter-generational justice."
Now, as to petitioners' standing. There is no dispute that petitioners have standing to bring their case before
this Court. Even respondents do not question their standing. This petition focuses on one fundamental legal
right of petitioners, their right to clean air. Moreover, as held previously, a party's standing before this Court is a
procedural technicality which may, in the exercise of the Court's discretion, be set aside in view of the
importance of the issue raised. We brush aside this issue of technicality under the principle of the
transcendental importance to the public, especially so if these cases demand that they be settled promptly.
Undeniably, the right to clean air not only is an issue of paramount importance to petitioners for it concerns the
air they breathe, but it is also impressed with public interest. The consequences of the counter-productive and
retrogressive effects of a neglected environment due to emissions of motor vehicles immeasurably affect the
well-being of petitioners. On these considerations, the legal standing of the petitioners deserves recognition.
Our next concern is whether the writ of mandamus is the proper remedy, and if the writ could issue against
respondents.
Under Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, mandamus lies under any of the following cases: (1) against
any tribunal which unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty;
(2) in case any corporation, board or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law
enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station; and (3) in case any tribunal, corporation, board or
person unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is
legally entitled; and there is no other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
In University of San Agustin, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,25 we said,
…It is settled that mandamus is employed to compel the performance, when refused, of a
ministerial duty, this being its main objective. It does not lie to require anyone to fulfill contractual
obligations or to compel a course of conduct, nor to control or review the exercise of discretion.
On the part of the petitioner, it is essential to the issuance of a writ of mandamus that he should
have a clear legal right to the thing demanded and it must be the imperative duty of the
respondent to perform the act required. It never issues in doubtful cases. While it may not be
necessary that the duty be absolutely expressed, it must however, be clear. The writ will not
issue to compel an official to do anything which is not his duty to do or which is his duty not to
do, or give to the applicant anything to which he is not entitled by law. The writ neither confers
powers nor imposes duties. It is simply a command to exercise a power already possessed and
to perform a duty already imposed. (Emphasis supplied.)
In this petition the legal right which is sought to be recognized and enforced hinges on a constitutional and a
statutory policy already articulated in operational terms, e.g. in Rep. Act No. 8749, the Philippine Clean Air Act
of 1999. Paragraph (a), Section 21 of the Act specifically provides that when PUVs are concerned, the
responsibility of implementing the policy falls on respondent DOTC. It provides as follows:
SEC 21. Pollution from Motor Vehicles. - a) The DOTC shall implement the emission standards for
motor vehicles set pursuant to and as provided in this Act. To further improve the emission standards,
the Department [DENR] shall review, revise and publish the standards every two (2) years, or as the
need arises. It shall consider the maximum limits for all major pollutants to ensure substantial
improvement in air quality for the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
Paragraph (b) states:
b) The Department [DENR] in collaboration with the DOTC, DTI and LGUs, shall develop an action
plan for the control and management of air pollution from motor vehicles consistent with the
Integrated Air Quality Framework . . . . (Emphasis supplied.)
There is no dispute that under the Clean Air Act it is the DENR that is tasked to set the emission standards for
fuel use and the task of developing an action plan. As far as motor vehicles are concerned, it devolves upon
the DOTC and the line agency whose mandate is to oversee that motor vehicles prepare an action plan and
implement the emission standards for motor vehicles, namely the LTFRB.
In Oposa26 we said, the right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it the correlative duty to refrain
from impairing the environment. We also said, it is clearly the duty of the responsible government agencies to
advance the said right.
Petitioners invoke the provisions of the Constitution and the Clean Air Act in their prayer for issuance of a writ
of mandamus commanding the respondents to require PUVs to use CNG as an alternative fuel. Although both
are general mandates that do not specifically enjoin the use of any kind of fuel, particularly the use of CNG,
there is an executive order implementing a program on the use of CNG by public vehicles. Executive Order No.
290, entitled Implementing the Natural Gas Vehicle Program for Public Transport (NGVPPT), took effect on
February 24, 2004. The program recognized, among others, natural gas as a clean burning alternative fuel for
vehicle which has the potential to produce substantially lower pollutants; and the Malampaya Gas-to-Power
Project as representing the beginning of the natural gas industry of the Philippines. Paragraph 1.2, Section 1 of
E.O. No. 290 cites as one of its objectives, the use of CNG as a clean alternative fuel for transport.
Furthermore, one of the components of the program is the development of CNG refueling stations and all
related facilities in strategic locations in the country to serve the needs of CNG-powered PUVs. Section 3 of
E.O. No. 290, consistent with E.O. No. 66, series of 2002, designated the DOE as the lead agency (a) in
developing the natural gas industry of the country with the DENR, through the EMB and (b) in formulating
emission standards for CNG. Most significantly, par. 4.5, Section 4 tasks the DOTC, working with the DOE, to
develop an implementation plan for "a gradual shift to CNG fuel utilization in PUVs and promote NGVs [natural
gas vehicles] in Metro Manila and Luzon through the issuance of directives/orders providing preferential
franchises in present day major routes and exclusive franchises to NGVs in newly opened routes…" A
thorough reading of the executive order assures us that implementation for a cleaner environment is being
addressed. To a certain extent, the instant petition had been mooted by the issuance of E.O. No. 290.
Regrettably, however, the plain, speedy and adequate remedy herein sought by petitioners, i.e., a writ of
mandamus commanding the respondents to require PUVs to use CNG, is unavailing. Mandamus is available
only to compel the doing of an act specifically enjoined by law as a duty. Here, there is no law that mandates
the respondents LTFRB and the DOTC to order owners of motor vehicles to use CNG. At most the LTFRB has
been tasked by E.O. No. 290 in par. 4.5 (ii), Section 4 "to grant preferential and exclusive Certificates of Public
Convenience (CPC) or franchises to operators of NGVs based on the results of the DOTC surveys."
Further, mandamus will not generally lie from one branch of government to a coordinate branch, for the
obvious reason that neither is inferior to the other.27 The need for future changes in both legislation and its
implementation cannot be preempted by orders from this Court, especially when what is prayed for is
procedurally infirm. Besides, comity with and courtesy to a coequal branch dictate that we give sufficient time
and leeway for the coequal branches to address by themselves the environmental problems raised in this
petition.
In the same manner that we have associated the fundamental right to a balanced and healthful ecology with
the twin concepts of "inter-generational responsibility" and "inter-generational justice" in Oposa,28 where we
upheld the right of future Filipinos to prevent the destruction of the rainforests, so do we recognize, in this
petition, the right of petitioners and the future generation to clean air. In Oposa we said that if the right to a
balanced and healthful ecology is now explicitly found in the Constitution even if the right is "assumed to exist
from the inception of humankind,… it is because of the well-founded fear of its framers [of the Constitution] that
unless the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies by the
Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance and imposing upon the state a solemn
obligation to preserve the first and protect and advance the second, the day would not be too far when all else
would be lost not only for the present generation, but also for those to come. . ."29
It is the firm belief of this Court that in this case, it is timely to reaffirm the premium we have placed on the
protection of the environment in the landmark case of Oposa. Yet, as serious as the statistics are on air
pollution, with the present fuels deemed toxic as they are to the environment, as fatal as these pollutants are to
the health of the citizens, and urgently requiring resort to drastic measures to reduce air pollutants emitted by
motor vehicles, we must admit in particular that petitioners are unable to pinpoint the law that imposes an
indubitable legal duty on respondents that will justify a grant of the writ of mandamus compelling the use of
CNG for public utility vehicles. It appears to us that more properly, the legislature should provide first the
specific statutory remedy to the complex environmental problems bared by herein petitioners before any
judicial recourse by mandamus is taken.
WHEREFORE, the petition for the issuance of a writ of mandamus is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION v. PHILIPPINE PETROLEUM SEA TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION

This case concerns the constitutionality of establishing the "Oil Pollution Management Fund," under Section
22(a) of Republic Act No. (RA) 9483 and Section 1, Rule of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), by
imposing "ten centavos (10c) per liter for every delivery or transshipment of oil made by tanker barges and
tanker haulers."
Antecedents

The value of the Philippine marine ecosystem cannot be overemphasized. The country is part of an important
marine biosphere known as the "coral triangle" that includes Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Marine scientists working in the area have referred to this ocean corridor as the marine equivalent of the
Amazon.[1] At the center of it all is the Philippines "with the richest concentration of marine life on the entire
planet."[2] Characterized by extensive coral reefs, sea-grass beds, and dense mangrove forests, Philippine
waters indeed contain some of the world's most diverse ecosystems.[3]

In a report, it was explained that "[t]he full extent of the Philippines' marine biodiversity is not known, but the
best information available reveals an astounding variety of marine life: 5,000 species of clams, snails and
mollusks; 488 species of corals; 981 species of bottom-living algae, and thousands of other organisms. Five of
the seven sea turtle species known to exist in the world today occur in Philippine waters."[4]

Repeated oils spills, however, have threatened this national treasure.

In December 2005, a power barge ran aground off the coast of Antique, dumping 364,000 liters of bunker oil.
This oil spill severely polluted 40 kilometers of Antique's coastline and decimated more than 230 hectares of
pristine mangrove forest. Rehabilitation costs have been estimated at USD million.[5]

A few months after the Antique incident, or on August 11, 2006, a Petron-chartered single hull vessel carrying
2.1 million liters of oil sank in the Guimaras Strait, causing the Philippines' worst oil spill.[6] Dubbed an
"ecological time bomb," the sunken vessel leaked an estimated 100 to 200 liters of oil per hour, while roughly
320 kilometres of coastline was covered in thick sludge. Miles of coral reef and mangrove forests were laid to
waste and more than 1,100 hectares of marine sanctuaries and reserves were badly damaged. And with all
fishing activities put to a halt, around 40,000 people were affected.

The aftereffects of the Guimaras disaster were felt few days later on August 22, 2006, when sludge washed up
on Panay, threatening rich fishing grounds.
The sunken ship was too deep for divers to reach and the Philippines, lacking heavy salvage equipment,
appealed for international help to prevent the disaster from getting worse.[7] Help came from experts from the
United States and Japan who helped assess the clean-up operations and suggested measures on how to stop
the slick from spreading further to vast mangrove areas and fishing grounds.[8]

On August 23, 2006, the oil spill claimed its first human victim. Health officials said the man inhaled the fumes
of the thick, tar-like substance outside his home on Guimaras island. Villagers reported that skin and breathing
problems became commonplace. The government hired locals for the clean-up, paying them less than $4 day
to scoop up the sludge on the shores, with no protective gear and using their bare hands.[9]

Recognizing the gravity and extent of the Guimaras oil spill, the lack of proper response strategy, the absence
of the necessary equipment for containing, cleaning up, and removing spilled oil, and the difficulty in pinning
the liability on oil companies, Congress was prompted to pass law implementing the International Convention
on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (1969 Civil Liability Convention) and the International Convention on
the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (1992 Fund
Convention).[10] The 1969 Civil Liability Convention was later amended by the 1992 Protocol (1992 Civil
Liability Convention).[11]

The legislative measure began as Senate Bill No. (SB) 2600 sponsored by then Senator Pia S. Cayetano. With
sixteen (16) senators voting in favor, SB 2600 was sent to the House of Representatives where it was adopted
as an amendment to House Bill No. 4363. With the concurrence of both houses, the enrolled copy of the
consolidated bill was sent to the Office of the President for signature.

On June 2, 2007, RA 9483, entitled "An Act Providing For The Implementation of the Provisions of the 1992
International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage and the 1992 International Convention on
the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, Providing Penalties for
Violations thereof, and for Other Purposes" or simply the "Oil Pollution Compensation Act of 2007," was signed
into law. The provision relevant to this case, Section 22 of RA 9483, provides for the establishment of an "Oil
Pollution Management Fund" (OPMF) and states as follows:

SEC. 22. Oil Pollution Management Fund. - An Oil Pollution Management Fund (OPMF) to be administered
by the MARINA is hereby established. Said Fund shall be constituted from:

(a) Contributions of Owners and operators of tankers and barges hauling Oil and for petroleum products in
Philippine waterways and coast wise shipping routes. During its first year of existence, the Fund shall be
constituted by an impost of ten centavos (10c) per liter for every delivery or transshipment of Oil made by
tanker barges and tanker haulers. For the succeeding fiscal years, the amount of contribution shall be jointly
determined by Marina, other concerned government agencies, and representatives from the Owners of tankers
barges, tankers haulers, and Ship hauling Oil and/or petroleum products. In determining the amount of
contribution, the purposes for which the fund was set up shall always be considered; and

(b) Fines imposed pursuant to this Act, grants, donations, endowment from various sources, domestic or
foreign, and amounts specifically appropriated for OPMF under the annual General Appropriations Act.

Respondents lost no time in assailing the law and the IRR. A month after the promulgation of the IRR,
they filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief (with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction) under Rule 63, contesting Section 22 (a) of RA 9483, as
well as Section 1, Rule of its IRR. The petition was raffled off and heard by the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 216, Quezon City (RTC).

There, they argued that the obligation to contribute to the OPMF solely imposed upon the owners and
operators of oil/petroleum tankers and barges violates their right to equal protection of the law; that the
ten-centavo (10c) impost is confiscatory and, thus, violates their right to due process; Section 22 (a) is
a prohibited rider; and, finally, the provision provides an undue delegation of legislative power. [12]

In an Order[13] dated July 25, 2016, the RTC granted the prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction and enjoined the implementation of the assailed provision and IRR.

The Court's Ruling

The petition is impressed with merit.

Section 22(a)of RA 9483 creating the Oil Pollution Management Fund is not proscribed rider

Respondents argue that since RA 9483 was passed to implement the 1992 Civil Liability and the 1992 Fund
Conventions, the creation of the OPMF must be found in said Conventions for it to be validly included in RA
9483. Otherwise, according to respondents, its inclusion in said law is constitutionally infirm for being a
proscribed rider.

At first glance, one might easily agree with respondent's proposition. The title of RA 9483 is phrased in this
manner:
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1992 INTERNATIONAL
CONVENTION ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR OIL POLLUTION DAMAGE AND THE 1992 INTERNATIONAL
CONVENTION ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR COMPENSATION FOR OIL
POLLUTION DAMAGE, PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES

On the basis thereof, respondents draw this Court's attention to the two mentioned Conventions and bid us to
examine both documents to see that the OPMF cannot be found therein.

Concisely, the respective subject matters of the two Conventions are as follows:
The 1992 Civil Liability Convention governs the liability of shipowners for oil pollution damage. The Convention
lays down the principle of strict liability for shipowners and creates a system of compulsory liability insurance.
The shipowner is normally entitled to limit its liability to an amount which is linked to the tonnage of its ship.

The 1992 Fund Convention, which is supplementary to the 1992 Civil Liability Convention, establishes regime
for compensating victims when the compensation under the applicable Civil Liability Convention is inadequate.
The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1992, generally referred to as the 1992 Fund, was set up
under the 1992 Fund Convention. The 1992 Fund is worldwide intergovernmental organization established for
the purpose of administering the regime of compensation created by the 1992 Fund Convention. By becoming
Party to the 1992 Fund Convention, a State becomes a Member of the 1992 Fund. The IOPC Funds
headquarters is based in London.[30]

Indeed, as argued by respondents, the thrust of the 1992 Civil Liability and the 1992 Fund Conventions is to
impose upon covered shipowners strict liability for pollution damage arising from oil spills and to provide
compensation for the victims thereof. On the other hand, the questioned OPMF governs the immediate
containment, removal, and clean-up operations in oil pollution cases and provides for the conduct of research,
enforcement, and monitoring activities of relevant agencies.

On the basis thereof, it would appear that the Conventions and the OPMF cover two different subject matters-
that is, providing compensation versus pollution containment and clean-up-as asserted by respondents. Thus,
prima facie, one would easily agree with respondents' contention.

Such simplistic, if not myopic, view is not the proper measure to determine whether a provision of law
should be declared as unconstitutional. To determine whether there has been compliance with the
constitutional requirement that the subject of an act shall be expressed in its title, the Court has repeatedly laid
down the rule that -
Constitutional provisions relating to the subject matter and titles of statutes should not be so narrowly
construed as to cripple or impede the power of legislation. The requirement that the subject of an act shall
be expressed in its title should receive reasonable and not a technical construction. It is sufficient if the title
be comprehensive enough reasonably to include the general object which a statute seeks to effect,
without expressing each and every end and means necessary or convenient for the accomplishing of
that object. Mere details need not be set forth. The title need not be an abstract or index of the act.[31]

Also, in Sumulong v. Comelec,[32] the Court held that all that can reasonably be required is that the title shall
not be made to cover legislation incongruous in itself, and which by no fair intendment can be considered as
having necessary or proper connection, viz:
As stated by the Supreme Court of the United States: "We must give the constitutional provision reasonable
construction and effect. The constitution requires no law to embrace more than one subject, which shall be
expressed in its title. Now the object may be very comprehensive and still be without objection, and the one
before us is of that character. But it is by no means essential that every end and means necessary or
convenient for the accomplishment of the general object should be either referred to or necessarily
indicated by the title. All that can reasonably be required is that the title shall not be made to cover
legislation incongruous in itself, and which by no fair intendment can be considered as having a
necessary or proper connection."[33] (emphasis ours)

Thus, following these jurisprudential guides, it would undoubtedly be improper for this Court to make a
superficial reading of the texts of the conventions in order to determine whether the inclusion of Section 22 in
RA 9483, which was enacted to implement these Conventions, is infirm more in-depth analysis of the
conventions is necessary.

A review of the Conventions reveals that they do not only cover damage claims by affected individuals but also
all amounts encompassed by the term "pollution damage" which is defined therein as:
(a) loss or damage caused outside the ship by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of oil from
the ship, wherever such escape or discharge may occur, provided that compensation for impairment of the
environment other than loss of profit from such impairment shall be limited to costs of reasonable measures
of reinstatement actually undertaken or to be undertaken;

(b) the costs of preventive measures[34] and further loss or damage caused by preventive measures.[35]

In its 2011 Annual Report, the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) enumerated the
types of claims that are admissible, thus:
An oil pollution incident can generally give rise to claims for five types of pollution damage:

• Property damage

• Costs of clean-up operations at sea and on shore

• Economic losses by fisher folk or those engaged in mariculture

• Economic losses in the tourism sector

• Costs for reinstatement of the environment.[36]

The Conventions, therefore, also cover damage to property, containment, clean-up, and rehabilitation.
Thus, the policy underpinning the establishment of the OPMF in Section 22(a) of RA 9483 and its IRR is wholly
consistent with the objectives of the conventions. Section of RA 9483 states:
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. - The State, in the protection of its marine wealth in its archipelagic
waters, territorial sea and exclusive economic zone, adopts internationally accepted measures
which and ensure prompt and adequate compensation for persons who suffer such damage. This
Act adopts and implements the provisions of the 1992 International Convention on Civil Liability for
Oil Pollution Damage and the 1992 International Convention on the Establishment of an
International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage.

Indeed, by employing preventive and/or immediate containment measures or response techniques, the State is
but affording protection to persons or all stakeholders who stand to suffer from oil pollution incidents-the main
thrust of the conventions that is now effectively translated and implemented in Section 22 (a) of RA 9483 and
its IRR. In other words, by creating the OPMF, Congress sought to ensure that our enforcement agencies are
capable of protecting our marine wealth and preventing harm from being caused to the people and their
livelihood by reason of these unfortunate events.

Time is of the essence when it comes to oil spill response. Whether this will be taken in the context of damage
to the environment and its inhabitants or from a monetary perspective, the conclusion will be the same. We
cannot simply submit to respondents' proposition that compensation for damages and oil spill response are two
unrelated subjects that cannot be tackled in a single piece of legislation. To Our mind, oil spill response and
containment is directly connected to compensation for damages brought about by the incident. In fact,
the two concepts are inversely proportional to each other in that a more effective and efficient oil spill response
and clean up results in lesser pollution damage; and, ultimately, smaller pollution damage means reduced
financial liability on the part of the shipowner.

With these, We find that Section 22 is not a rider but is an essential provision to attain the purpose of RA 9483.

The classification in Section 22 of RA 9483 and its IRR does not violate the equal protection clause

We likewise cannot sustain the RTC's finding that the assailed provisions violate the equal protection
guarantee when it singled out "owners and operators of oil or petroleum tankers and barges."

The equal protection guaranty under the Constitution means that "no person or class of persons shall be
deprived of the same protection of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other classes in the same place
and in like circumstances."[37] However, this clause does not preclude classification as long as the
classification is reasonable and not arbitrary.[38] In Abakada Guro Party List v. Purisima,[39] the Court
elucidated, thus:
The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in
law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in speculation
or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars law is not invalid because of
simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it goes without saying
that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. All that is
required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification
should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must be
germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only;
and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court has held that the
standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation
or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary.

In the instant case, We agree with petitioners that separating "tankers and barges hauling oil and for petroleum
products in Philippine waterways and coast wise shipping routes" from other sea-borne vessels does not
violate the equal protection clause.

For one, bear in mind that the purpose of the subject legislation is the implementation of the 1992 Civil Liability
Convention and the 1992 Fund Convention. Both Conventions only expressly cover "sea-going vessel and
seaborne craft of any type whatsoever constructed or adapted for the carriage of oil in bulk as cargo x x
x."[40] This alone already forecloses any argument against the validity of the alleged classification since the
implementation by RA 9483 of the subject Conventions necessarily carries with it the adoption of the coverage
and limitations employed in said texts.

Furthermore, We cannot subscribe to respondents' proposition that since all vessels plying Philippine waters
are susceptible to accidents which may cause oil spills, all should be made to contribute to the OPMF. While all
vessels, channels, and storage facilities that carry or store oil are capable of causing oil pollution, this does not
make them "similarly situated" within the context of the equal protection clause.

Aside from the difference in the purposes behind their existence and navigation, it is internationally well-
recognized that oil tankers pose a greater risk to the environment and to people. As matter of fact, these types
of vessels have long been considered as separate class and are being given a different treatment by various
organizations.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), expounding on the International Convention for the Safety of
Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, highlighted that the SOLAS includes special requirements for tankers.[41] Citing an
example, the IMO stated that "[f]ire safety provisions x x x are much more stringent for tankers than ordinary
dry cargo ships, since the danger of fire on board ships carrying oil and refined products is much greater."[42]
The IMO likewise mentioned some of the measures specifically required of oil tankers, such as making it
mandatory for tankers to have double hulls, as opposed to single hulls, the phasing-out of single-hull tankers,
and designating protective locations of segregated ballast tanks, among others, in order to ensure their safety.
[43] In fact, Annex of the revised Marpol 73/78[44] sets forth the numerous technical and safety requirements for

oil tankers.[45] This list is not exhaustive as there are numerous regulations and requirements applicable only
to the subject vessels. What these show, however, is that a vessel that carries oil in bulk has been
recognized and is treated as a separate class of vessel. This sufficiently justifies the segregation done by
Congress.

It bears to stress that "[i]n the exercise of its power to make classifications for the purpose of enacting laws
over matters within its jurisdiction, the state is recognized as enjoying a wide range of discretion."[46]
Concomitantly, neither should the Court adopt such a restrictive-if not counterproductive approach-in
interpreting and applying the equal protection guarantee under the Constitution. To do otherwise would be to
unduly restrict the power of Congress in enacting laws by unjustifiably imposing erroneously stringent
requirements and excessively high standards in the crafting of each and every piece of legislation, depriving
our lawmakers of the much needed elbowroom the discharge of their functions.

As regards respondents' contention that since RA 9483 came about because of the spate of oil spillage at the
time of its enactment, this violates the requirement that the classification must not be limited to existing
conditions only, the argument does not hold water.

A statute or provision thereof is said to be limited to existing conditions only if it cannot be applied to future
conditions as well.[47] Here, We cannot, by any stretch of imagination, agree with respondents' proposition.
Suffice it to state that enacting a piece of legislation as a response to a problem, incident, or occurrence does
not make it "limited to existing conditions only." Assessing whether a statute or provision meets said
requirement necessitates a review of the provision or statute itself and not the cause or trigger for its
enactment. To require otherwise would be to improperly tie the hands of our legislature in enacting laws
designed to address the various matters, incidents, and occurrences that may arise in a highly-dynamic and
unpredictable society.

Viewed within the purview of RA 9483, it can easily be seen that the statute also applies to future conditions as
it covers any and all oil spills that may occur within Philippine waters.

The conferment on the OPMF Committee of the authority to determine the rate of imposition for the
second year of its implementation onwards is not an undue delegation of legislative power

Arguing that the assailed provision is also an undue delegation of legislative power, respondents allege that
giving the OPMF Committee the authority to jointly determine the amount of contribution after the one-year
imposition of the 10-centavo contribution is an undue delegation since no fixed parameters were given therefor.
[48]

We disagree.

For valid delegation of power, it is essential that the law delegating the power must be (1) complete in itself,
that it must set forth the policy to be executed by the delegate and (2) it must fix standard - limits of which are
sufficiently determinate or determinable - to which the delegate must conform.[49] On the second requirement,
Osmeña v. Orbos[50] explained that a sufficient standard need not be spelled out and could be implied from the
policy of the law:
The standard, as the Court has already stated, may even be implied. In that light, there can be
no ground upon which to sustain the petition, inasmuch as the challenged law sets forth a
determinable standard which guides the exercise of the power granted to the ERB. By the
same token, the proper exercise of the delegated power may be tested with ease. It seems obvious
that what the law intended was to permit the additional imposts for as long as there exists a need to
protect the general public and the petroleum industry from the adverse consequences of pump rate
fluctuations. "Where the standards set up for the guidance of an administrative officer and
the action taken are in fact recorded in the orders of such officer, so that Congress, the
courts and the public are assured that the orders in the judgment of such officer conform to
the legislative standard, there is no failure in the performance of the legislative functions."

This Court thus finds no serious impediment to sustaining the validity of the legislation; the
express purpose for which the imposts are permitted and the general objectives and
purposes of the fund are readily discernible, and they constitute a sufficient standard upon
which the delegation of power may be justified. (Citations omitted; emphasis ours)

Further, in Tatad v. Secretary of the Department of Energy, We stated that courts bend as far back as possible
to sustain the constitutionality of laws which are assailed as unduly delegating legislative powers:
The validity of delegating legislative power is now a quiet area in our constitutional landscape. As
sagely observed, delegation of legislative power has become an inevitability in light of the
increasing complexity of the task of government. Thus, courts bend as far back as possible to
sustain the constitutionality of laws which are assailed as unduly delegating legislative
powers. Citing Hirabayashi v. United States as authority, Mr. Justice Isagani Cruz states "that
even if the law does not expressly pinpoint the standard, the courts will bend over backward
to locate the same elsewhere in order to spare the statute, if it can, from constitutional
infirmity."[51] (emphasis ours)

Thus, this Court has previously instructed that a standard as general as the phrases "as far as practicable,"
"decline of crude oil prices in the world market," and "stability of the peso exchange rate to the US dollar" are
neither unclear nor inconcrete in meaning, but are in fact determinable by the simple expedient of referring to
their dictionary meanings.[52] The Court even stated that "[t]he fear of petitioners that these words will result in
the exercise of executive discretion that will run riot is thus groundless. To be sure, the Court has sustained
the validity of similar, if not more general standards in other cases."[53] Indeed, the Court has, in
numerous instances, accepted as sufficient standards policies as general as:
x x x "public interest" in People v. Rosenthal, "justice and equity" in Antamok Gold Fields v. CIR,
"public convenience and welfare" in Calalang v. Williams, and "simplicity, economy and efficiency"
in Cervantes v. Auditor General, to mention only a few cases. In the United States, the "sense and
experience of men" was accepted in Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission, and "national
security" in Hirabayashi v. United States.[54] (citations omitted)

Thus, applying this commitment to sift each and every part of the assailed law or provision thereof in order to
locate any and all standards possible provided therein, We are duty bound to analyze the statute in question to
determine once and for all whether indeed the legislature failed to incorporate therein a standard of such
character as will pass this test of constitutionality. We shall first tackle the standards expressly embodied in
Section 22. To recall, the assailed provision containing the questioned delegation reads:
SEC. 22. Oil Pollution Management Fund. - An Oil Pollution Management Fund (OPMF) to be
administered by the MARINA is hereby established. Said Fund shall be constituted from:

(a) Contributions of Owners and operators of tankers and barges hauling Oil and for petroleum
products in Philippine waterways and coast wise shipping routes. During its first year of existence,
the Fund shall be constituted by an impost of ten centavos (IOc) per liter for every delivery or
transshipment of Oil made by tanker barges and tanker haulers. For the succeeding fiscal years,
the amount of contribution shall be jointly determined by Marina, other concerned
government agencies, and representatives from the Owners of tankers barges, tankers
haulers, and Ship hauling Oil and/or petroleum products. In determining the amount of
contribution, the purposes for which the fund was set up shall always be considered; and

(b) Fines imposed pursuant to this Act, grants, donations, endowment from various sources,
domestic or foreign, and amounts specifically appropriated for OPMF under the annual General
Appropriations Act.

The Fund shall be used to finance the following activities:

(a) Immediate containment, removal and clean-up operations of the PCG in all Oil pollution
cases, whether covered by this Act or not; and

(b) Research, enforcement and monitoring activities of relevant agencies such as the PCG,
MARINA and PPA, and other ports authority of the DOTC, Environmental Management
Bureau of the DENR, and the DOE: Provided, That ninety percent (90%) of the Fund shall be
maintained annually for the activities set forth under item (a) of this paragraph: Provided,
further, That any amounts specifically appropriated for said Fund under the General
Appropriations Act shall be used exclusively for the activities set forth under item (a) of this
paragraph.

In no case, however, shall the Fund be used for personal services expenditures except for
the compensation of those involved in clean-up operations.

Provided, That amounts advanced to a responding entity or claimant shall be considered as


advances in case of final adjudication/award by the RTC under Section 18 and shall be reimbursed
to the Fund. (emphasis ours)

A review of the contested provision reveals that contrary to respondents' assertion that the law only provides a
vague standard for the exercise of the delegated authority, there are in fact a number of set parameters
included therein within which the authority to fix the amount of the impost shall be exercised. These are:
1. the purposes for which the fund was set up;

2. the Fund shall be used to finance the following activities:

a. Immediate containment, removal and clean-up operations of the PCG in all Oil
pollution cases, whether covered by this Act or not; and

b. Research, enforcement and monitoring activities of relevant agencies such as the


PCG, MARINA and PPA, and other ports authority of the DOTC, Environmental
Management Bureau of the DENR, and the DOE;

3. Ninety percent (90%) of the Fund shall be maintained annually for the activities set forth
under item (a) of this paragraph;

4. Any amounts specifically appropriated for said Fund under the General Appropriations Act
shall be used exclusively for the activities set forth under item (a) of this paragraph;

5. In no case shall the Fund be used for personal services expenditures except for the
compensation of those involved in clean-up operations.

Put otherwise, in authorizing the OPMF Committee in determining the rate of impost for the succeeding years,
Congress in fact directed them to ensure that 90% of the funds that will be accumulated will be enough to
finance the following: (1) emergency response measures for oil pollution cases; (2) clean-up operations for oil
spill incidents; (3) research; (4) enforcement; and (5) monitoring activities of the stated agencies in connection
with oil pollution.

These parameters-the specified inclusions and exclusions, and the share that the itemized activities shall have
in the OPMF-to Us, adequately meet the required standards that make a delegation of legislative power valid.
By being statutorily mandated to work within this identified scope and these limitations, the OPMF Committee
does not actually have free reign in the exercise of its functions under Section 22. It has to ensure that the
amount of impost that it will set, in addition to any sum that they may receive from the GAA and from
other sources such as fines, penalties, grants, donations, and endowments, is sufficient to meet the
above stated needs and activities necessary for the promotion of the thrust of RA 9483, which is the
protection of the environment and the people from oil pollution damage.

These scopes and limitations contained in the entirety of Section 22, without a doubt, substantially exceed the
general policies that have been recognized and upheld in the past as sufficient standards. Viewed with the
multifariousness of oil spill response and clean-up in mind, We find that the parameters set forth in the assailed
provision successfully overcome this test of constitutionality, despite the absence of numerical gauges.

Another ground that favors the validity of the assailed provision is that what Section 22 vested in them is
merely the authority to fix the rate of the impost, taking into consideration the parameters therein
clearly stated. In other words, this authority is actually limited by the sufficiency of the Fund to meet
the identified items. They were not given any discretion to add to these parameters or to disregard them. In
other words, the delegates are expected to faithfully follow these standards set by the law, lest their actions will
be struck down as illegal for having exceeded the terms of the agency.[55]

As aptly stated in People v. Vera,[56] the true distinction "is between the delegation of power to make the law,
which necessarily involves discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority or discretion as to its
execution, to be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot be done; to the latter no valid
objection can be made." In other words, the policy must be determined by the legislature and the executive's
authority is limited only to the furtherance of this identified policy. The executive cannot add, modify, or delete
such.

With respect to measuring the adequacy of the country's capability to protect our waters, shores, and the
stakeholders from the effects of oil spills as mandated under the law, Sections and of RA 9483, which reflect
certain policies under the Conventions, provide the gauge therefor.
As for the Conventions which the subject statute expressly adopts and incorporates therein, making the
Conventions form part of the law of the country, it bears to stress that the respective thrusts thereof are to
provide "adequate compensation available to persons who suffer damage caused by pollution resulting from
the escape or discharge of oil from ships"[57] and "compensation for victims who do not obtain full
compensation under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention."[58]

And again, the term "pollution damage" under RA 9483 covers the following:
(a) Reasonable expenses actually incurred in clean-up operations at sea or on shore;
(b) Reasonable expenses of Preventive Measures and further loss or damage caused by
preventive measures;

(c) Consequential loss or loss of earnings suffered by Owners or users of property contaminated or
damaged as a direct result of an Incident;

(d) Pure economic loss or loss of earnings sustained by persons although the property
contaminated or damaged as a direct result of an Incident does not belong to them;

(e) Damage to human health or loss of life as a direct result of the Incident, including expenses for
rehabilitation and recuperation: Provided, That costs of studies or diagnoses to determine the long-
term damage shall also be included; and

(f) Environmental damages and other reasonable measures of environmental restoration.

The rate of impost should, thus, be enough to accumulate an amount that, when combined with the funds that
will be derived from the appropriations under the GAA, grants, donations, and endowment from various
sources, domestic or foreign, can sufficiently enable our agencies to fulfill their duty of protecting the country's
marine wealth and the stakeholders by ensuring that any damage caused by oil spills is minimal and the
resulting cost can be fully or adequately covered by the Conventions. Put differently, the rate of the impost
for the succeeding years must not be so low as to be insufficient to meet the budgetary needs of the
agencies for the items identified under Section 22. This is so since the mandate of the law will not be
fulfilled if the agencies' capacity for oil spill response is inadequate, ineffective, or less than what is
necessary for the declared purpose. Conversely, it must also not be so high that the totality of the
amount accumulated from the various sources gravely exceeds the financial requirements for said
items. Simply put, the sum of the amounts to be collected or received from the various sources must
not exceed the administrative costs and expenses of implementing the activities.

With these, We find that the evils that the sufficient standards test seeks to prevent are amply addressed by
the questioned Section 22, as well as the abovementioned provisions which provide the guidelines therefor. By
setting forth the identified parameters and the policy that the funds to be accumulated by virtue of the impost
are for the purpose of protecting the country's marine wealth and ensuring full or adequate compensation to
the victims of oil spills, the metes and bounds of the exercise of the delegated authority have been sufficiently
laid out. Consequently, the manner by which the delegates are to exercise the conferred authority can
be measured against these parameters and checked for any evidence of arbitrariness or
excessiveness.

It is also important to note that Congress included the representatives from the owners of tankers barges,
tankers haulers, and ship hauling oil and/or petroleum products as part of the group tasked to
determine the rates for the following years. In so doing, Congress not only valued their inputs but also
gave them an avenue to protect their businesses by ensuring that the effect of the imposition on the
private sector would be factored in and not seen as mere recommendations. As a matter of fact, the
legislature placed them in position that is more than consultative. By making them part of the group authorized
to determine the amount of impost, they were given not just the opportunity to be heard but the capability to
directly influence the rate of the impost. This certainly goes beyond mere consultation or advice.

What further convinces Us that any additional specification of limitations-which Congress opted away from-may
actually do more harm than good is the fact that numerous factors affect the extent and severity of oil pollution
caused by spills. As summarized by the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF):
The effects of an oil spill will depend on a variety of factors including, the quantity and type of oil
spilled, and how it interacts with the marine environment. Prevailing weather conditions will
also influence the oil's physical characteristics and its behaviour. Other key factors include the
biological and ecological attributes of the area; the ecological significance of key species
and their sensitivity to oil pollution as well as the time of year. It is important to remember that
the clean-up techniques selected will also have a bearing on the environmental effects of a spill.
[59] (emphasis ours)

This highly multifaceted character of oil spill incidents, coupled with the fact that the Philippine archipelago is
comprised of thousands of islands with varying sizes and ecology and has one of the longest coastlines in the
world-estimated at 36,289 kilometers, reflects a certain complexity in its state of affairs that undoubtedly makes
the setting of rigid and exhaustive parameters difficult, if not impossible.

Apropos, in Osmeña,[60] this Court, tackling the question whether there was an undue delegation of legislative
power when the Energy Regulatory Board was conferred the authority to impose additional amounts on
petroleum products, held that the dynamic character of the circumstances within which the authority is to
be exercised must be considered in determining whether the assailed provision provides a sufficient
standard.

The Court's pronouncement in the cited case could not be more fitting. Indeed, oil spill response and clean-up,
and rehabilitation of affected areas, among others, are affected by great number of factors, most of which are
outside the control of man. Philippine waters are so vast, diverse, and rich that we cannot possibly require
Congress to comprehensively set forth any and all factors that must be considered in the determination of the
metes and bounds for the setting of the questioned impost, more so numerical restrictions. Furthermore, with
the unpredictability and uncontrollability of the accumulation of costs of pollution damage in oil spills, an
exhaustive list of parameters may not work to our country's advantage.

Through the imposition in Section 22 of RA 9483, Congress did not just direct the protection of the country's
marine resource, it also promoted the constitutionally-protected right of the people to balanced and healthful
ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature[76] and the basic and constitutional right to health.[77]
On the basis thereof, it can be said that the questioned imposition is an exercise of police power by the State.

Police power is the plenary power vested in the legislature to make, ordain, and establish wholesome and
reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances, not repugnant to the Constitution, for the good and welfare of the
people.[78] This power to prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, education, good order or safety,
and general welfare of the people flows from the recognition that salus populi est suprema lex-the welfare of
the people is the supreme law.[79]

The creation of the OPMF is, thus, not a burdensome cross that the respondents have to bear. Rather, it is an
opportunity for them to have an important role in the protection of the environment which they navigate and
directly utilize in the conduct of their business. It is but proper and timely to remind respondents that the
conduct of a business is mere. privilege which is subject to the regulatory authority of the State. Property rights
may be interfered with, especially if it is for the furtherance of the common good. few business adjustments
and sacrifices, weighed against the prevention of the possibly irreparable destruction of the country's natural
resources, must necessarily take a back seat. We have the duty to protect our environment for the future
generations, and all must share in this responsibility, including legal entities.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. The February 22, 2017 Decision of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 216, Quezon City is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

The constitutionality and validity of sub-paragraph a, Section 22 of Republic Act No. 9483, as well as Section 1,
Rule of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of said law are hereby UPHELD.

SO ORDERED.