Laguna E-Code Back on Track

 Lagune e-code public hearing
With the renewed interest from the Provincial Government of Laguna, the crafting of Environmental Code resumed and a public forum was held last 22 May 2015 at the New College of Arts and Sciences (NCAS) Auditorium at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. This activity was held in order to solicit comments from the public, most especially from the constituents of Laguna, on the Environment Code being drafted and developed by faculty and staff of SESAM, as commissioned by the Provincial Government of Laguna.

 Dr. Leonardo M. Florece, professor and former Dean of SESAM, gave an overview of the Environment Code. “The Environment Code is a blueprint or a written guideline that codifies and integrates all existing national laws on environmental protection and harmonizes these with the local governance system to promote the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature, as provided in Article 16 of the 1986 Philippine Constitution”, Dr. Florece said.

The public forum was an exhaustive and detailed checking of every provisions of the e-code. Led by Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon, SESAM Professor, the audience from various sectors in Laguna were asked to comment on the 18 articles of the environmental code. These articles are:

(I) General Provisions, (II) Natural and Cultural Heritage for Ecotourism Development, (III) Sustainable Development of Forest Resources and Conservation of Biodiversity, (IV) Use and Development of Mineral Resources, (V) Sustainable Water Resources Development, (VI) The Laguna de Bay and Its Tributaries, (VII) Sustainable Management of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo City, (VIII) Energy-Use Efficiency and Traffic Management, (IX) Sustainable Agriculture and Agricultural Waste Management, (X) Ecological Waste Management, (XI) Air Quality Management, (XII) Eco-Industrial Parks and Waste Management, (XIII) Environmental Impact Assessment, (XIV) Green Incentives for Environmental Technologies, Activities, Designs and Buildings, (XV) Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, (XVI) Information and Education Campaign and Knowledge Management, (XVII) The Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office and Related Units for Environmental Management, and (XVIII) Penalties and Miscellaneous.

Hon. Neptali B. Bagnes, Provincial Board Member (3rd District), reiterated the commitment of the Provincial Government to pursue the legislation of the E-code. “Rest assured, we will work together to finish this e-code so that the future generation will live in a much better place”, said BM Bagnes.

Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM, led the open forum with queries coming from the private sector and LGU officials of various municipalities of Laguna.

The Public Hearing was done as one of the final steps in the development of the E-code, of which after will be its review and approval by the Provincial Government of Laguna. The project on the Development of the Environment Code of Laguna was coordinated by Dr. Espaldon and headed by Dr. Florece as the project leader. Participants attended the event were from local government units, government offices, companies and universities/ academe.