Environmental Rights to Be Included in the Bill of Rights – ConCom

The Con-Com proposes to include the right to clean air and water, healthy environment and ecology in the bill of rights

Consultative Committee Senior Technical Assistant Conrado Generoso informed the media on Monday that the Con-Com proposes to include environmental rights in the Bill of Rights. Environmental Rights are the so-called third generation rights, after civil and political and socio-economic rights. The proposal for the inclusion of environmental rights becomes vital to the country’s survival in the future, in light of what is happening to the country’s natural attractions like Boracay and El Nido.

The Philippines’ geographic location make natural calamities a regular occurrence in the country. It is also one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. There are strong environmental laws in place yet degradation and destruction still continues in the country.

Generoso stated that there are certain countries that have environmental rights in their Bill or Rights - South Africa, Nepal and Argentina. Some states in the United States and several countries in the European Union also include environmental rights in the bill of rights. These states, even though not as vulnerable as the Philippines, made sure that their environment is well protected in order to prevent further damage that could increase the destruction power of climate change.

The Con-Com proposes to specifically include the right to clean air and water, healthy environment and ecology, preservation of ecosystems, protection from activities that destroy the environment, sustainable development, compensation for damage to environment, recourse to courts for immediate protection, and a stronger Writ of Kalikasan in the bill of rights so it will not be subject to withdrawal or revision by the Congress or the Supreme Court.