House panel vows to prioritize passage of measures that will ban plastics in PH

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

The House Committee on Natural Resources vowed on Sunday to tackle pending measures seeking to ban the use of plastics in the country.

Cavite Rep.  Elpidio Barzaga Jr., chairman of the panel,  assured that they would immediately act on the bills,  considering the negative impact of plastics to the environment and even public health.

Eight million tonnes of plastic is spilled into the oceans each year, according to a study in the Science journal (AFP / MANILA BULLETIN) Eight million tons of plastic is spilled into the oceans each year, according to a study in the Science journal (AFP / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO )

"We shall invite all the stakeholders, including the Association of the Plastic Manufacturers in the Philippines and the government agencies involved in the legislation namely the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), DOH (Department of Health), DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government),  and the environmentalist groups whose advocacy is the banning and/or regulating the use of plastic," the House leader said.

He expressed confidence that with the President Duterte's pronouncement last week, the bills imposing ban on the single use of plastics would face a smooth sailing in the Lower Chamber.

"With the President's formal announcement about the plan to ban the single use of plastic, we are confident that we shall be getting the support of our collegues in Congress," Barzaga said.

In a radio interview,  he urged the DILG and the Department of Education (DepEd) to actively launch campaigns against the use of plastics, while Congress is working to pass a law against the use of plastics.

He said the DILG can come up with a model ordinance that would mandate all LGUs to implement the ban on the use of plastics.

"The Department of Education should start teaching our students in the elementary and high school level the importance of not using plastics," he said.

Bohol Rep. Alexie Besas Tutor earlier filed House Bill 4724 seeking to ban the single-use of plastics from all tourist sites and destinations.

In the Senate, Senators Cynthia Villar and Francis Pangilinan filed measures seeking to prohibit the single-use plastics.