Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Metro Cebu Airshed board meets

http://globalnation .inquirer. net/cebudailynew s/news/view/ 20090121- 184652/Metro- Cebu-Airshed- board-meets

Metro Cebu Airshed board meets
By Ma. Bernadette A. Parco
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 12:18:00 01/21/2009

Filed Under: Environmental Issues, Environmental pollution, Local authorities
CEBU CITY, Philippines - The country's first airshed governing board, the Metro Cebu airshed Governing Board, was convened on Tuesday with local chief executives agreeing to be involved in joint efforts to improve the quality of air in the Metro Cebu area and protect territorial jurisdiction.

Environmental lawyer Benjamin Cabrido, who provided the rationale for the governing board, said the effects of climate change are felt throughout Cebu especially along the coastal areas.

“With the sea level rise, in five years, a portion of Mandaue will be lost. After 10 years, what would happen in Mactan Island. We are here to convene the airshed governing board also to save territorial jurisdictions,” he said.

He also said that the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 requires the creation of airshed governing boards that are tasked to formulate policies, prepare a common action plan, coordination of functions among its members and submit and publish an annual Air Quality Status Report for each airshed.

The airshed are areas that have a similar climate, meteorology and topology which affect the interchange and diffusion of pollutants in the atmosphere or areas which share common interest or face similar development programs, prospects or problems.

The Metro Cebu Airshed was created under Department Administrative Order No. 2002-21, which was signed by Heherson Alvarez, then secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The airshed governing board would aid the DENR in checking air quality, setting up emission standards, determining penalties for violators in a particular airshed, as well as drawing up anti-pollution programs suited for a given area, which may vary from one airshed to another.

The board passed four resolutions that were all approved after Atty. Luego, the board secretary during the meeting, declared that a quorum has been reached.

Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival proposed a resolution to “create, activate and establish the Metro Cebu Airshed Governing Board on January 20, 2009.”

He added that members of the Board shall be composed of the DENR Secretary as chairman represented by the DENR regional executive director Leonardo Sibbaluca, provincial governor of Cebu and mayors of the cities and towns of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Talisay, Naga, Minglanilla, Cordova, Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion and Minglanilla, including representatives from government organizations, private sector and nongovernment organizations and academe.

Another resolution suggested by Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez required each local government unit to submit individual action plans within 60 days after the convening of the board.

Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes proposed for the board to have a regular meeting every first Monday of every first quarter of the year.

Consolacion Mayor Avelino Gungob proposed the resolution “to authorize each local chief executive of Metro Cebu to designate a permanent representative to the board through a special power of attorney, in his or her absence, to ensure their representation in the board.”

Environmentalists and stakeholders said the Board would mean that there would be more clear actions by local government units to save the environment.

“We can not deny the reality of climate change and the impact this has on Cebu,” said Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center Inc. executive director Vince Cinches.

“We can't wait for another year before we take action. The move to convene the Board is an indication of consciousness on the environmental impact of climate change,” he added.