Roxas wants stiffer penalties for illegal disposal of toxic wastes

Monday, August 11, 2008 | posted in , , , | 0 comments

Senator Mar Roxas, Liberal Party President, today pushed for stiffer penalties against the entry of toxic and hazardous wastes from other countries.

Roxas filed Senate Bill No. 2519 amending Republic Act No. 6969, the Toxic Substance and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990 to assure full compliance with the ban on export of toxic and hazardous waste into the Philippines from Japan under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Roxas, co-chair of the Senate JPEPA panel, said while the JPEPA treaty in no way allowed Japan to ship to or dispose of its industrial and other wastes in the Philippines, there was still a need for adding teeth to the present law, as a deterrent to any unscrupulous locals or foreigners.
"Our law, RA 6969, as well as the Basel Ban Convention, clearly prohibit the bringing in of toxic wastes into the country. The JPEPA doesn't change this in any way. What we can do is raise the penalties against violators, to show that we mean business, and that our people's safety comes first," he said.

"The penalties and fines provided for under the present RA 6969 are not commensurate to the gravity and seriousness of the dangers that toxic substances and hazardous and nuclear wastes bring to health and environment. It is, therefore, imperative that RA 6969 be amended to impose stricter and stiffer penalties and fines in order to give more teeth to the said law," he said.
At present, the penalties for violation of Sec. 13 (a) to (c) of RA 6969 are imprisonment of six months to six years, and a fine of only P600 to P4,000. The bill will increase the penalties to imprisonment of six to twelve years, and a fine of P250,000 to P500,000. Offenses covered here include: knowingly using a chemical substance banned by RA 6969; the failure or refusal to submit necessary documents upon inspection by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources; and failure or refusal to comply with the pre-manufacture and pre-importation requirements as stated in the law.

The violation of Sec. 13 (d), on the bringing in of the prohibited substances, will now be punishable by imprisonment of 20 to 40 years, and a fine of P5 million to P10 million. At present, the penalty is imprisonment of 12 to 20 years. For corporations, an additional penalty of P20 million is imposed, up from the present P500,000 penalty.

In addition, violators of the law would be required to pay three times the value of the damage caused to the environment or to persons, and this amount will be collected in a special fund for reparation of such damage. The administrative fine is also raised to P100,000 from the present P50,000 fine, and will be raised by 10% every three years from the effectivity of the proposed amendment.

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