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case study on environmental issues in the philippines

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17 case studies about sustainable sanitation projects in the philippines, caps (2011).

case study on environmental issues in the philippines

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This pdf file contains the following 17 case studies: 1. Ecosan Projects in San Fernando City, Province of La Union 2. Integrated waste management scheme for small and medium scale slaughterhouses Case of the Bureau of Animal Industry Plant in Valenzuela City, Metro Manila 3. Integrated waste management system for Bayawan City Ecological Sanitation Experiences in Periurban and Rural Communities 4. Local initiatives for affordable wastewater treatment (LINAW Project) Case of Dumaguete City (Public Market and Septage Treatment Plant) 5. Builiding communities... empowering communities Case of Gawad Kalinga Villages 6. Preserving the water quality of Iloilo City DEWATS of the Public Abattoir and Iloilo Mission Hospital 7. Laguna de Bay Institutional Strengthening and Community Participation Project DEWATS of the Slaughterhouses of Sta. Cruz and Nagcarlan, Laguna 8. Closing the loop between sanitation and food security Ecological Sanitation Case of the Municipalities of Initao,Libertad and Manticao, Misamis Oriental 9. Compliance to environmental standards to abate further violation DEWATS of Selected Slaughterhouses and Public Markets; and a University 10. Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Facility for the Lilo-an Public Market: A Pilot and Demonstration Activity of the Asian Development Bank 11. Decentralized Wastewater Treatment “Eco Tanks” for the Riverside Communities of Barangays Catbangen & Poro, & the Seaside Community of Barangay San Francisco A CITYNET-funded Pilot and Demonstration Activity in the City of San Fernando, La Union, Philippines 12. Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems for the San Fernando City Slaughterhouse A BORDA DEWATS Project in the Philippines 13. Biogas for the Cagayan de Oro City Jail An ICRC-Funded Environmental and Livelihood Project in the Philippines 14. Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System for LORMA Medical Center – San Fernando City A LORMA-funded Project to Better Manage its Wastewater 15. Biogas Wastewater Treatment Systems by the Philippine Center for Water and Sanitation A Community-Managed Potable Water Supply, Sanitation, & Hygiene (CPWASH) Project 16. Ecological Sanitation for the Municipality of Bauang, La Union An ISSUE2-Funded Program with CAPS in the Philippines 17. Small-Scale Wastewater Treatment Systems for 3 Markets USAID Philippine Sanitation Alliance Projects in the Philippines

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CAPS (2011). 17 case studies about sustainable sanitation projects in the Philippines. Produced for UNEP with funding by KOICA, Center for Advanced Philippine Studies, Quezon City, Philippines

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Impact of COVID-19 on the environment sector: a case study of Central Visayas, Philippines

  • Clare Maristela V. Galon 1,2 ,  ,  , 
  • James G. Esguerra 1,3
  • 1. Cebu Normal University, Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City 6000, Cebu, Philippines
  • 2. Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Canada
  • 3. Graduate School of Business, University of the Visayas, Cebu, Philippines
  • Received: 31 October 2021 Revised: 29 January 2022 Accepted: 08 February 2022 Published: 15 March 2022
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The pandemic has underscored the importance of the environment. In this study, the environmental condition of Central Visayas, Philippines has been assessed and evaluated before and during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to deal with a possible association between the environmental indicators and the pandemic. The relationships between environmental key variables namely: air quality, air pollution, water quality, water pollution, and solid waste management have been quantified. The study utilized secondary data sources from a review of records from government agencies and LGUs in Region 7. This study also provides a framework which is the pandemics and epidemics in environmental aspects. The paper concludes by offering researchers and policymakers to promote changes in environmental policies and provide some recommendations for adequately controlling future pandemic and epidemic threats in Central Visayas, Philippines.

  • environment sector ,
  • air pollution ,
  • water pollution ,
  • solid waste management ,

Citation: Clare Maristela V. Galon, James G. Esguerra. Impact of COVID-19 on the environment sector: a case study of Central Visayas, Philippines[J]. AIMS Environmental Science, 2022, 9(2): 106-121. doi: 10.3934/environsci.2022008

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  • © 2022 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( )

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  • Figure 1. The regional map of Central Visayas, Philippines which is taken from the National Nutrition Council of the Philippines
  • Figure 2. Framework of Environment Sector
  • Figure 3. Graph of Air Quality in Cebu from PM10 data from 2018-2021. PM stands for Particulate Matter and it detects particle sizes ≤ 10μm
  • Figure 4. Pollution load source distribution in terms of BOD concentration in Region 7, Philippines as of 2020
  • Figure 5. Pollution load source distribution in terms of TSS concentration in Region 7, Philippines as of 2020
  • Figure 6. Total waste generated in Region 7 from 2019-2021. (Source: EMB-DENR 7 [ 17 ] )
  • Figure 7. Percent ratio of total waste generated and total population in each province and chartered cities in Region 7 from 2019-2021
  • Figure 8. Composition of municipal solid waste in Region 7 as of 2021

Climate Change and the Individual: Case Study of the Philippines

  • First Online: 22 January 2021

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This chapter provides a concise overview of the potential pathways for climate litigation and the emerging climate caselaw in the Philippines.

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Declaration of the Government of the Republic of the Phillipines, online: (accessed on 1 December 2017).

Office of the President of the Philippines, Climate Change Commission, Nationally Determined Contributions, online: (accessed on 7 December 2017).

Decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 22. .

Affirmed in Guerrero’s Transport Services, Inc v Blaylock Employees Association-Kilusan 71 SCRA 621 (1976).

Magallona ( 2010 ), p. 3.

See discussion in Magallona ( 2010 ), ibid.

Preamble, Philippines INDC, . The National Framework Strategy on Climate Change, which serves as the country’s roadmap for climate mitigation and adaptation, identified adaptation as its foundational strategy.

ibid, p. 4.

This was the result of an initiative led by Chief Justice Puno of the Philippines Supreme Court to promote public interest litigation in the quest for environmental justice. A copy of these Rules can be found at: . For discussion, see Ramos ( 2011 ).

Rule 7, section 1.

Rule 7, section 15.

The author is grateful to the principal petitioner in this case, Antonio A. Oposa, Jr. for sharing information about this landmark case. The case is unreported because it was eventually settled by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. This test case of the Writ of Kalikasan is also discussed in Davide ( 2012 ) (The author is retired Chief Justice of the Philippines (1998–2005)).

Paras. 13.1, 14 of the Global Legal Action on Climate Change v the Philippine Government petition (on file with author).

Davide ( 2012 ), p. 598.

Email correspondence with Antonio A. Oposa, Jr. (on file with author).

In Metro Manila Development Authority v Concerned Citizens of Manila Bay , GR 171947-48 (S.C. Dec 18, 2008), a group of citizens succeeded in compelling the government to clean up Manila Bay after nearly 10 years of litigation. The Supreme Court adopted a procedure that has been incorporated in the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases as the Writ of Mandamus. This Writ is an extensive and continuing order by the court. To ensure that there is implementation of its environmental remediation orders, the court requires the defendant government departments to submit written progress reports every ninety orders till the court is satisfied that its orders have been compiled with.

Victoria Segovia et al v Climate Change Commission et al , GR 211010 (S.C. March 7, 2017), online: . I discussed this case (“The Road-Sharing Case”) in Lin ( 2014 ) when the petition was first filed.

ibid, p. 6, reiterating Rule 8 (III) of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases.

ibid, p. 7.

West Tower Condominium v. FPIC , et al. G.R. No. 194239, 16 June 2015.

Section15(e), Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases .

ibid, Section 1, Rule 5.

ibid, Section 15(e), Rule 7.

For discussion, see Savaresi and Hartmann ( 2018 ).

Specifically, the petition calls for the Carbon Majors to account for breaches of the rights to life, food, water, sanitation, adequate housing, and self-determination. It also alleges that the Carbon Majors have breached the right of Filipinos to development, particularly marginalized and disadvantaged groups that are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change; Petition Requesting for Investigation of the Responsibility of the Carbon Majors for Human Rights Violations or Threats of Violations Resulting from the Impacts of Climate Change, p. 58.

Section 18, Article XIII, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.

Petition Requesting for Investigation of the Responsibility of the Carbon Majors for Human Rights Violations or Threats of Violations Resulting from the Impacts of Climate Change, pp. 59–60.

Ages ( 2016 ).

Carbon Majors Study, online: (accessed on 4 December 2017).

Ping Manongdo, ‘Landmark human rights case against world’s biggest fossil fuel firms pushes on’ (Eco-Business, 13 December 2016), online at: (accessed on 17 December 2017).

Republic of the Philippines, Commission on Human Rights, “National Inquiry of the Impacts of Climate Change on the Human Rights of the Filipino People” (Press Release), online at: (accessed on 17 December 2017).

John Vidal, ‘World’s largest carbon producers face landmark human rights case’, (The Guardian, 27 July, 2016), online at: (accessed on 17 December 2017).

Ucilia Wang, ‘Philippines Climate Case Could Find Fossil Fuel Companies Violate Human Rights’ (Climate Liability News, 5 October 2017), online at: (accessed on 17 December 2017).

Section 1, Article VIII, Philippine Constitution.

Pangalangan ( 2008 ), p. 318.

Belgica et. al. vs. Executive Secretary , G.R. No. 208566 (November 2013) p. 25.

Belgica et. al. vs. Executive Secretary , G.R. No. 208566 (November 2013) p. 30.

Senate of the Philippines v. Ermita , G.R. No. 169777, April 20, 2006, 488 SCRA 1, p. 35.

Philippines: The Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System: Framework, Implementation, Performance and Challenges (The World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, June 2007), p. 2.

ibid, p. 5.

Keith A. Calayag, “SC issues Writ of Kalikasan vs 5 mining firms”, SunStar Manila, 21 June 2016, online at: (accessed on 19 December 2017).

Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan, “Client Bulletin: Philippine Court of Appeals Denies Issuance of Environmental Protec on Order Against Mining Company” online at: (accessed on 19 December 2017).

UN General Assembly, “Report of the Special Rapportuer on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” (A/HRC/31/52), paras. 36-37, online: (accessed on 19 December 2017).

“Philippine regulator: Half of 44 metal mines frequently violate environmental rules” (Reuters, 6 June 2016), online at: (accessed on 19 December 2017).

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Ages N et al (2016) Climate change litigation—Philippines investigates carbon majors’ responsibility for human rights breaches. LexisPSL.

Davide HG Jr (2012) The environment as life sources and the Writ of Kalikasan in the Philippines. Pace Environ Law Rev 29(2):592, Article 9

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Ramos GE (2011) Innovative procedural rules on environmental cases in the Philippines: ushering in a golden era for environmental rights protection. IUCN Acad Environ Law e-J 1:182–191. . Accessed on 21 Nov 2017

Savaresi A, Hartmann J (2018) Using human rights law to address the impacts of climate change: early reflections on the carbon majors inquiry. In: Lin J, Kysar DA (eds) Climate litigation in the Asia Pacific. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

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Lin, J. (2021). Climate Change and the Individual: Case Study of the Philippines. In: Sindico, F., Mbengue, M.M. (eds) Comparative Climate Change Litigation: Beyond the Usual Suspects. Ius Comparatum - Global Studies in Comparative Law, vol 47. Springer, Cham.

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Environmental Jurisprudence from the Philippines: Are Climate Litigation Cases Just Around the Corner?

By Gregorio Rafael P. Bueta - Philippine jurisprudence on the environment has been on a steady pace of development since the 70’s and 80’s. It got a global boost when the famous case of Oposa vs Factoran came out in 1993. In it, the Philippine Supreme Court bravely and courageously gave standing to generations yet unborn - an argument from the creative legal mind of Atty. Antonio Oposa, Jr. Since then the Oposa case has been cited and replicated all over the world, more recently in on-going climate litigation cases such as the Juliana case in the US.

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Photo: IUCN

For a country like the Philippines - one of the most megadiverse countries in the world, rich in natural resources, and home to unique flora and fauna - environmental laws and measures to protect nature are crucial. This becomes more of a challenge for a developing country with 110 million people, and rising. Not only will nature and ecosystems be pushed to the brink, but more importantly conflicts over these scarce resource will increase. More people will be pushed into poverty as food and water security are threatened, public health costs rise, and infrastructure are not ready to cope with natural and man-made disasters (crucial for a country which sees an average of 20 typhoons in a year!).   

The Oposa Case stands alongside a long list of environmental jurisprudence from the Philippines. A long line of decisions of Philippine courts have sought to protect the environment and give life and meaning to the constitutional right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology. Some of the more recent ones include: the clean-up of Manila Bay ordered through a Writ of Continuing Mandamus; [1] standing was given by the court to humans to represent the toothed whales, dolphins, porpoises, and other cetacean species (the Resident Marine Mammals), which inhabit the waters in and around the Tañon Strait in the central Philippines; [2] application of the precautionary principle in genetically modified eggplants; [3] liability for damage of coral reefs by a foreign military vessel; [4] and road sharing for carless people. [5]

Public interest litigation for the environment and nature was also given a boost when the Supreme Court designated environmental courts around the country (117 in total) in 2008, and issued the Rules of Procedures for Environmental Cases (The Rules) in 2009. These Rules provided for simplified and streamlined measures to speed-up environmental litigation, and make it easier for the public to bring cases – after all, someone needs to represent the environment in these disputes.

The Rules also include the one-of-a-kind remedy called the Writ of Kalikasan (or nature). It is a form of special civil action in environmental cases, a judicial remedy in case of “ environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces .” Considered as the first-of-its kind in the world, it is a unique tool by which petitioners can invoke the extraordinary writ powers and jurisdiction of the courts.

Another useful remedy provided in the Rules is the Writ of Continuing Mandamus, taking cue from jurisprudence in the Manila Bay Clean-up Case. It is a remedy when a government agency or officer unlawfully neglects a duty imposed upon him by law in connection with the enforcement or violation of environmental laws, rules and regulations, or rights, or unlawfully excludes another from the use or enjoyment of such right. This writ allows the court to require the government agency or officer to perform an act or series of acts until the judgment is fully satisfied and to submit periodic reports on its progress. The court may evaluate and monitor compliance with its judgment, by itself or through a commissioner or appropriate government agency. The remedy of continuing mandamus is further unique in that it allows the award of damages where the government maliciously neglects to perform their duties. Variations of this Writ have been utilized in other jurisdictions like Australia, India, Pakistan, and the United States of America.

The Rules also feature environmental protection orders, SLAPP, citizen’s suits, and waived filing fees – making environmental litigation much simpler, accessible, and effective. 

Environmental cases have surely increased with the Rules, with more Writ of Kalikasan case pending in different courts around the country. However, what about climate change litigation? Are we going to see the shift from purely environment to climate change cases?

First, let’s start by defining climate change litigation. The generally accepted definition is that of Markell and Ruhl: any piece of federal, state, tribal, or local administrative or judicial litigation in which the party filings or tribunal decisions directly and expressly raise an issue of fact or law regarding the substance or policy of climate change causes and impacts . For our purposes, let’s work with this definition, although many scholars note that a broader definition of climate change litigation is possible.

Is climate change already in Philippine jurisprudence? In the Manila Bay Clean-Up Case , Justice Presbitero Velasco began his ponentia as such:

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. 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. [Emphasis supplied]

Although there is no other mention of climate change in the case and one can categorize this decision as one for environmental enforcement, it is clear that the Supreme Court recognized the causal link between environmental pollution and climate change.

In the case challenging the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (one where environment was not even an issue), [6] the Supreme Court had occasion to say in its Epilogue that “[t]he Philippines is one of the countries most directly affected and damaged by climate change”. Although climate change was not discussed, the court showed its awareness and acceptance of the country’s vulnerability to the global phenomenon.

Despite these court pronouncements, there is yet no climate change case in the Philippines based on the definition of climate change litigation adopted for this article. Perhaps the closest attempt was the recent Road Sharing Case . Petitioners hinged their arguments on climate change and its impacts for a country like the Philippines. In its Decision denying the petition, the Supreme Court said that the government was able to show that it was taking action to address the environmental issues raised, and that the court cannot compel the Executive branch to implement a principle, which requires the exercise of discretion and cannot thus be the subject of mandamus.

There is however one unique case from the Philippines because redress was not sought from the regular courts. Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement petitioned the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR) on behalf of 13 organizations and 20 individuals, alleging that some 50 companies, referred to as the Carbon Majors — including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Rio Tinto, Lukoil, and Massey Coal — knowingly contributed to the root causes of climate change and thus violated the human rights of Filipinos. In particular, the petitioners asked whether the top 50 CO 2 emitters in the world between 1751 and 2010 (collectively accounting for 21.71% of the world’s CO 2 emissions) have violated, or threaten to violate, rights to life; the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; food; water; sanitation; adequate housing; and self-determination. The CHR conducted hearings in the Philippines and London, invited the carbon majors to participate (but they did not), and received evidence and reports from different stakeholders. The report with recommendations is due middle of 2019. Do note that the CHR only has recommendatory powers and cannot prosecute or hold any respondents accountable.   

This does not mean that climate change cases and litigation is not “ripe” for Philippine courts. The judiciary has shown its willingness and openness to decide cases in favor of the environment. Procedural tools such as the Rules can be channeled to look at climate change issues in the Philippines. One author notes that conditions are ripe in the Philippines for the use of climate change litigation as part of a broader advocacy strategy to press for governmental action. [7] This is also aligned with global efforts, particularly in the Asian region, to move beyond environmental adjudication and look at climate change litigation as the next big challenge for judges. [8]

What then are the potential “pioneer” climate change cases to be brought before Philippine courts? ClientEarth suggested five main legal grounds for filing cases on climate change: a) health and environmental laws; b) market regulation; c) loss and damage; d) duty of care for citizens; and e) long-term financial risk. UN Environment’s recent report on Global Climate Change Litigation saw two trends: one on climate refugees, and an increase in cases in the global South. [9]

One expert suggests using existing laws and procedures as potential climate change litigation cases. [10] Victims of the 2013 Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) can file anti-graft and corruption cases against negligent government officials – whose potential inaction led to the numerous deaths. Failure to implement rehabilitation plans and to properly use funds can also be an area of litigation. Consumer protection laws can also be used to enforce strict liability for design, manufacturing, and labelling requirements.   

One area of potential litigation will be the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures as outlined in the Philippines’ National Climate Change Action Plan, and even under the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. Projects funded by the People’s Survival Fund under Republic Act No. 10174, or the way resources have been allocated can also be potential conflict areas. Given the infrastructure boom being pushed by the current administration, as well as projects and developments by the private sector, challenges on the grant of approval for projects, particularly environmental impact assessments and the policy bases for these can be expected.

Victims of natural disasters as a result of climate-induced events can seek compensation for loss and damages. Although identifying the respondent or accused may prove to be difficult, cases can potentially be brought before local or perhaps international tribunals. Displaced persons and families due to climate change (those who can constitute as internal climate refugees) can also seek redress and compensation for the loss of their homes and properties.      

So are climate change cases in the Philippines on the horizon? The answer is of course yes. The history of environmental cases and jurisprudence in the Philippines provides fertile ground for litigants to bring cases before the courts. The existing trove of environmental cases, and the active environmental movement in the country can be channeled to look into possible climate change cases, given the clear nexus between environmental issues and climate change. Standing is liberalized, the Rules provide speedy and effective remedies and access to justice, and judges are sensitized to the climate issues hounding the country. Other forums, such as in the CHR, also provide other means by which redress can be sought.

Climate change litigation has come of age globally, and the Philippine courts and legal system should anticipate an increase in cases and potential disputes. Although considered as nascent in the Philippines, there are many potential areas of litigation, particularly for implementation of government policies, liability for loss and damage, and fulfillment of international obligations. It would not be far-fetched to consider an environmental case, such as implementation of forestry laws, as a climate change case, given the known impact of forests on the phenomenon as carbon sinks and buffers for climate-related disasters. Bold decisions and norm-challenging ponencias on climate change from Philippine courts is not a far prospect – it is just a matter of time before another landmark judgement on climate change comes and for the court to be once again a beacon of hope in tackling this global challenge.      

About the Author

Gregorio Rafael P. Bueta

As a private legal practitioner and independent consultant from the Philippines, Grip is an advocate for environmental rights and justice, protection of biodiversity, promotion of human rights, development of good governance, and corporate sustainability. He has written several published works on environment and natural resources law and human rights. Grip has also worked with the United Nations Development Programme, the Philippine Judicial Academy, the Ateneo School of Government, the Council for the Welfare of Children, Ayala Corporation, AC Energy, the EcoWaste Coalition, Laban Konsyumer, Inc., and various NGOs and private companies.

Grip has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the Ateneo de Manila University. He earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the same institution and was the recipient of the St. Thomas More Most Distinguished Award for his graduating class.   

[1] Metropolitan Manila Development Authority v. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay, G.R. Nos. 171947-48, December 18, 2008, 574 SCRA 661.

[2] Resident Marine Mammals v. Reyes, G.R. No. 180771 April 21, 2015

[3] ISAAA v. Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Philippines), G.R. No. 20927, 8 December 2015; see Resolution, 26 July 2016.

[4] Arigo et., al. vs. Swift, et., al., G.R. No. 206510, September 16, 2014

[5] Segovia et., al. vs. the Climate Change Commission, ey., al., G.R. No. 211010, 7 March 2017

[6] Saguisag v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 212426, 12 January 2016.

[7] Jolene Lin, Litigating Climate Change in Asia, Climate Law 4, 142 (2014). The author adds: The focus is therefore likely to be on climate adaptation, not mitigation, because maladaptation raises the sort of issues that fit squarely within the environmental public interest litigation tradition in these jurisdictions: infringement of the constitutional right to life, enforcement of statutory rights and duties, and giving voice to marginalized or vulnerable sectors of society.

[8] See

[9] These include: mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development; Paris Agreement commitments and resulting national legislation, including Nationally Determined Contributions; and REDD+ and Green Climate Fund resources and measures.

[10] See Ronaldo R Gutierrez, Developing Environment and Climate Change Jurisprudence: Philippine Experience, presentation during the South Asia Judicial Roundtable on Environment and Climate Change, 26 November 2016, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Philippines joins biggest case vs climate change, tells court ‘polluters must pay’

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Philippines joins biggest case vs climate change, tells court ‘polluters must pay’

ICJ CASE. The Philippine and Vanuatu teams at the International Court of Justice. From (L-R) Philippine State Solicitor Rowena F. Mutia, Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union George Maniuri, Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands J. Eduardo Malaya, Vanuatu climate diplomacy program legal manager Lee-Anne Sackett, Philippine Associate Solicitor Mary Rose Beley-Arnesto, and Vanuatu's counsel to the ICJ Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh. Photo from the Philippine embassy in Netherlands

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government stands with the Pacific island nations in their bid to get the world court’s opinion that would provide a legal framework to compel the biggest polluters to pay those suffering from the adverse effects of climate change.

“Philippines proffers that prompt reliefs should be given and made available to affected States and peoples so as to immediately cease or mitigate any environmental damage,” the Philippine government wrote in its 45-page submission, filed by the Office of the Solicitor General to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Thursday, March 21.

Last week was the deadline of the ICJ, or the United Nations (UN) court also known as the world court, for UN member states to file their submissions, or make their positions known about the current request for an advisory opinion.

Lee-Anne Sackett, the legal manager of the Vanuatu Climate Diplomacy Program, said on Friday, March 22, during a panel at The Hague, that this is “the biggest case in history in terms of participation in the ICJ.”

Vanuatu initiated the resolution, which the UN General Assembly later adopted, to request the ICJ for an advisory opinion. Essentially, the resolution wanted the ICJ to answer these questions:

  • What are the obligations of States to protect climate systems?
  • What are the legal consequences for States that have caused significant harm to the climate system through their acts or ommissions?

Climate change treaties have been around since at least the 1997 Kyoto protocol, but the years after have been filled with frustration on the lack of meaningful results that came out of it. This led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to say in 2023 that “there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

The latest high-level negotiations in the Conference of Parties (COP) are focusing on the loss and damage fund , a mechanism by which polluter states must pay up.

“[The loss and damage fund] is still more or less an empty bucket, there’s no recognized obligation on States to pay into that fund,” said Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh, Vanuatu’s counsel to the ICJ, during Friday’s panel at The Hague.

The desperation has led to Vanuatu’s effort , an initiative that was started by the youth group Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC), to bring this case to court.

The hope, foremost, is that ICJ agrees to issue an advisory opinion, which the Philippines supports. But meaningfully, that the ICJ’s opinion supports the stance that States who cause significant harm to climate systems must be held accountable.

Philippines invoked the ‘polluters must pay’ principle, and said “while the principle is not explicitly referred to in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement, many of the provisions and obligations stated therein point to the evidence that said principle is being applied.”

“When a State – by itself or through State actors or other entities whose actions or omissions may be attributable to the State – commits acts or omissions that do not faithfully conform to its international obligations, the same constitute a breach of an obligation and, under international law, is an internationally wrongful act,” said the Philippines team, led by Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra, with inputs from the University of the Philippines (UP) Institute of International Legal Studies.

“[This] marks the welcomed return of the country in the proceedings of the ICJ, the last one having been decades ago,” said Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands J. Eduardo Malaya, who personally filed the submission at the Hague with OSG solicitors.

Who will block this

Because UN member states are authorized to forward their submissions, advocates are now watching which countries will block this accountability mechanism.

For example during the negotiations to adopt Vanuatu’s resolution to go to the ICJ, United States was among the few countries which expressed that a judicial process was not “the most conducive to supporting diplomatic processes.”

The US is a key Philippine ally. But in this regard, the Philippines disagreed that climate change is a purely a diplomatic issue that one can only resolve through political means.

“Regardless of the political aspects and dimensions of climate change, this Court cannot refuse to admit the legal character of a question and has the duty to discharge an essentially judicial task, which pertains to the determination of the obligations of States as imposed upon them and the consequences of their acts or omissions as sanctioned by international law,” said the Philippines.

Alyn Ware, who was a campaigner during the nuclear weapons advisory opinion process at the ICJ, said that when the ICJ decides to hold an oral hearing, or when the time comes that states can respond to the submission of other states, those who support a legal mechanism must be ready to “cut into the ‘yes-but’ arguments.”

“You have governments who say ‘oh yes we agree, we have to cut emissions, but we can’t do it too fast, it will destroy our economy, we will lose our jobs, there’d be many other excuses,” said Ware.

“We have to demonstrate that green economies are job creators, green economies are good for the economy, they can stimulate economic development,” Ware added.

Experts predict that if the ICJ decides an oral hearing, it will be by the end of this year or next year. The best case scenario is the ICJ issuing an advisory opinion that States can be legally held accountable for their acts or omissions that destroy climate system.

The worst case scenario is the ICJ decides it will not issue the opinion at all, or if the opinion merely refers to existing treaties.

 “[That] doesn’t add anything, so then you shall have gone through all of this processes to be left with empty hands, that’s really completely useless, [but] that’s quite an extreme scenario,” said Singh.

 “[That] would not only be disappointing for the purpose of climate justice, but it would be quite disastrous for international law and institutions because it would undermine the ability of the court…to address a problem of civilizational proportion,” said Singh.

Ware believes that the ICJ’s decision would not be that extreme,  saying that “the court could only be going from moderate to fantastic, how close we get to the fantastic is what we’re looking at.”

ICJ’s advisory opinions have been criticized before as not having significantly changed things. That’s generally the main criticism of international law – when its orders are not enforced by countries who claim sovereignty, or just by countries who are powerful enough to ignore orders, and opinions.

The Philippines said “nevertheless, the issuance of an advisory opinion is not without ‘moral consequences which are inherent in the dignity of the organ delivering the opinion, or even of its legal consequences’.”

Ware advised stakeholders to, as early as now, assume the best case scenario and “think about how are we going to implement the decision that will come out.”

The Philippines proposed a version of the Writ of Kalikasan. The writ, which was a unique innovation for Philippine law and a first of its kind in the world, is a legal instrument that compels actors to fulfill a duty for the environment. Locally, it can also come in the form of protection orders that could stop projects that are seen to destroy environment.

Victims of climate change

The case is a storybook narrative of bringing people – the victims – to the court, as states and other groups can submit testimonies from those whose lives have been impacted by the adverse effects of climate change.

The Philippines told the court it had incurred P497.45 billion in damages from 2012 to 2022 “due to natural extreme events and major disasters.”

In the island nations, “communities that had to relocate because of sea level rise [had] tendencies that they will lose their identity because in the Pacific, we are connected to our environment, to our land,” said Ilan Kiloe, the political and legal adviser of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Sackett said getting testimonies from Vanuatu communities have been a challenge because of logistics and connectivity.

Currently, there are requests for advisory opinions from other bodies, namely the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the  International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), expected to touch on the human rights component and the marine environment aspect of climate change.

The hope is to get good opinions from the two bodies, to lay the ground for the ICJ.

 “If the advisory opinion comes out to be positive, it will assist the COP negotiations moving forward,” said Kiloe.

“The road will still be longer…I’m sure there are going to be testing moments, but it’s really worthwhile,” said Cristelle Pratt, assistant secretary general of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). –

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Environmental Issues In The Philippines Case Study

UNIT OPENER Unit IV- HEALTH ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ON PEOPLE’S HEALTH Philippines is said to be one of the richest countries all over the world. With all its natural resources, endemic species, and wide biodiversity, it is indeed one of the major attractions and destinations among tourists. However, despite of its beauty, Philippines is facing a human-caused major problem – and that is the continued degradation of our environment. Here are some of the environmental issues that press our country right now along with its causes and effects on people. Environmental Issues Definition Cause/s Effects Facts Deforestation (Note: picture for each environmental issue) destruction of forests by means of clearing and cutting of trees -Illegal logging …show more content…

Illegal Mining -unlawful acquisition or extraction of important minerals like ore, coal, nickel, gold, iron, and other materials from the earth -economic interest of the miner without any legal document (e.g. land rights, mining license, mining exploration license) that can validate the operation - Deforestation - Soil erosion and contamination -Loss of biodiversity -Contamination of water resources -Possible formation of sinkholes -Possible risk of death in some miners • Black sand mining (extraction of magnetite), in the beaches of the Northern provinces, caused coastal erosion and floods to seaside communities. • The Philippines is ranked fifth mineral-richest country in the world in terms of gold, copper, and chromite. • The Mining Act of 1995 allows companies (Contractors) to acquire exploration permits for a specific area for up to 4 years and ownership of mining assets Overpopulation -there is an excessive number of living individuals compared to the capacity of their environment -Increased birth rate -Reduced Deaths -Technological advancement in fertility rate -Better medical Facilities -Immigration -Lack of birth Control/family

The Tar Creek Mine Environmental Disaster

The tar creek mining site originally was owned by a Native American tribe, the Quapaw. The Quapaw wanted to keep these lands, but the Bureau of Indian Affairs deemed members opposing a transaction to mining companies “incompetent” (1). In such a case the business could continue and the Bureau of Indian Affairs sold the lands to mining companies. In essence these lands were stolen from the Quapaw because they were ripe for mining. These mines were then used from approximately 1891 to 1970. In the 79 years the mines were open 1.7 million metric tons (~3.75 billion pounds) of lead and 8.8 million metric tons (~19.4 billion pounds) of zinc were withdrawn from the mine (2). The entire area around Tar Creek is known as the tri-state mining area. This tri-state area was a massive source of metals. This area accounted for 35% of the all worldwide metal for a decade. It also provided the majority of metals the United States used in World wars I and II (3).

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Environmental Consequences of Coal Mining in the Black Mesa Complex

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History Of The Berkeley Pit

The excitement for mining and excavating for minerals was sparked in prospectors and people looking for an easy way of profit in the 60’s.This second gold rush of speaks, despite most of the minerals they were after was more on the lines of copper, nickel, iron and the like, brought high hopes of those wanting to get rich fast. Though thousands had hope in making money from mining on their own, many excavators found little gold on their own efforts. Most needed to actually find work in mines. But, they almost got something even better. The v...

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Exploring mining and reclamation

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Poverty: Phillipines vs Canada

The Philippines is a country that has been destroyed by widespread poverty. The economic concerns in this country have multiplied in the past decade. There are many causes to the many problems and not enough effective reforms to rectify them. They currently have a population of 88 million people, and it is expanding rapidly. An increasing population with out enough jobs to sustain them increases the poverty level. In this country's case, the population growth was the major contributor to their high poverty level. We need to also take into account the location of this country and the natural disasters that they encounter. There are 22 active volcanoes in the Philippines and 88 inactive ones. Just this year, there have been seven earthquakes or predicted earthquakes. They constantly have landslide and tsunamis, and on the average, they are affected by 15 major storms a year. They are normally hit with al least 5 or 6 of them. With all these problems affecting their agriculture, their struggle to decrease their poverty levels and improve their way of life is a constant challenge. 77.4% of the country's GDP is public debt. The 2000 Philippine Human Development Report says that even though their economy is inactive, they are doing very well. Even though nearly half...

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Essay About Environmental Issues

Today talking about environmental issues lately to be like a common topic discussion until people take it for granted. However, the world facing a complex environmental problems related to each trouble that connected to one another and come out with greater impacts to the environment and humans. This is because the effects of environmental only can be seen in long term period rather than immediately result show up. Environmental issues must become one of the controversial matters in the society in order to make people know the truth what the world currently facing. There were a lot of environmental disaster happened such as climate change, global warming, various of pollutions, earthquake and etc. the rise of environmental issues begin with this urban development occur through several countries following with the technologies equip along. For sure, development will cause a huge negative impact to the environment if it deals without a care. Besides, the environment is the place in the ecosystem to hold and use in finding resources to continuously survive in this world. Thus, the finding and digging for the resources which happening extensively without preservation will not restore the surrounding similar with before. But then, the change cannot be refuse and people need to take an action to save the threaten the world and the ecosystem from being extinct. If each country has own output in causing an environmental problem, then consider the world to hold all the damage occurred. Exposing the effects of environmental issues throughout the world, make people realize the important to take care the environment.


The reduction of the Earth's resources has been closely linked to the rise in human population. For many thousands of years people lived in relative harmony with their surroundings. Population sizes were small, and life-supporting tools were simple. Most of the energy needed for work was provided by the worker and animals. Since about 1650, however, the human population has increased dramatically. The problems of overcrowding multiply as an ever-increasing number of people are added to the world's population each year.

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    Soil erosion due to deforestation and smallholder agriculture in upland areas of the Philippines is widely regarded as one of the country's most serious environmental problems (Cramb 1998 ). Soil degradation represents a major threat to food security in the country (Dregne 1992; Pimentel 2006; Asio et al. 2009 ).

  9. Impact of COVID-19 on the environment sector: a case study of Central

    1. 2. 3. The pandemic has underscored the importance of the environment. In this study, the environmental condition of Central Visayas, Philippines has been assessed and evaluated before and during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to deal with a possible association between the environmental indicators and the pandemic.

  10. Battling pollution in the Philippines' largest lake

    Serious pollution in a lake next to the mega-city of Manila is forcing a rethink by development planners to protect water quality and fish stocks. Laguna de Bay is the Philippines' largest lake, and supplies Metro Manila's 16 million people with a third of their fish. It also supports agriculture, industry and hydro-power generation, and is ...

  11. Coastal Resource Management in the Philippines: A Case Study in the

    Coastal Resource Management in the Philippines: A Case Study in the Central Visayas Region. Diane Antoinette Toni Parras, M.A. View all authors and affiliations. Volume 10, Issue 1. ... Coastal environmental profile of Negros Oriental learning area [Draft]. Cebu City, Philippines: Author.

  12. Marilao River is one of spotlight case studies in new ...

    'Hidden Consequences' draws attention to the financial, social and environmental costs of industrial water pollution, showcasing the problems of long-term contamination from hazardous chemicals across several locations in the 'Global North' (2), including the Hudson River, the Dutch Delta, the Laborec River and the 'Swiss Toxic Dumps ...

  13. DOC Case Study on the Effects of Mining and Dams on the Environment and

    A case Study of the Ibaloy People and the Agno River Basin, Province of Benguet, Philippines. Presented during the Consultation on Dams, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities. Geneva, Switzerland.

  14. Defenders, communities at heart of 2023's biggest environmental stories

    Dec 21, 2023 8:38 AM PHT. The Philippines in 2023 faced several environmental issues, such as mining and reclamation projects, dangers to environmental defenders, and threats to protected areas ...

  15. PDF Climate Change and Long-Standing Environmental Problems in the Philippines

    The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. A warming planet could exacerbate long-standing environmental problems in the country. The paper explores this link in the management of forest ecosystems, marine ecosystems, and wastes. Natural ecosystems in the Philippines such as

  16. PDF Environmental Issues, Climate Changes, and Energy Security in

    18 AbSTrACT. four environmental dimensions of energy security—climate change, air pollution, water availability and quality, and land-use change—and the environmental impact of. 13 energy systems on each are discussed in this paper. Climate change threatens more land, people, and economies in Asia and small Pacific island states than any ...

  17. Climate Change and the Individual: Case Study of the Philippines

    1.2 The Philippines' Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. Briefly, the Philippines INDC is premised on the fundamental basis of pursuing climate change mitigation as a "function of adaptation". Footnote 9 The Philippines intends to reduce its GHG emissions by about 70% by 2030 relative to its business-as-usual scenario of 2000 ...


    ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND CASE STUDIES: Art, Environment, and Sustainability: Case Studies on the Philippine Art Practice - Volume 18 Issue 4 ... School of Design, iACADEMY HV Dela Costa, Makati City, Philippines; (phone) +639189677893; ... In Proceedings of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) Urban Solid Waste ...

  19. Environmental Jurisprudence from the Philippines: Are Climate ...

    By Gregorio Rafael P. Bueta - Philippine jurisprudence on the environment has been on a steady pace of development since the 70's and 80's. It got a global boost when the famous case of Oposa vs Factoran came out in 1993. In it, the Philippine Supreme Court bravely and courageously gave standing to generations yet unborn - an argument from the creative legal mind of Atty. Antonio Oposa, Jr ...

  20. Environmental issues in the Philippines

    Today, environmental problems in the Philippines include pollution, mining and logging, deforestation, threats to environmental activists, dynamite fishing, landslides, coastal erosion, biodiversity loss, extinction, global warming and climate change. [1] [2] [3] Due to the paucity of extant documents, a complete history of land use in the ...

  21. Open Knowledge Repository

    The objectives of this Country Environmental Analysis (CEA) were to assess the environmental quality in the Philippines with a focus on how this affects human welfare and sustainability, measure and analyze the biophysical significance and monetary cost of environmental degradation and derive priority areas of action, assess the Philippines government's capacity to manage the environmental ...

  22. Philippines joins biggest case vs climate change, tells court ...

    "Philippines proffers that prompt reliefs should be given and made available to affected States and peoples so as to immediately cease or mitigate any environmental damage," the Philippine ...

  23. Environmental Issues In The Philippines Case Study

    Here are some of the environmental issues that press our country right now along with its causes and effects on people. (Note: picture for each environmental issue) destruction of forests by means of clearing and cutting of trees -Illegal logging …show more content…. • Black sand mining (extraction of magnetite), in the beaches of the ...