“It’s high time to rethink the way we manage our communities, transport system, and natural resources, like forests and water.”
Thus said Senator Pia S. Cayetano, as she pushed for four interrelated measures seeking to better align the government’s plans and policies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
Cayetano’s four bills that promote sustainability – the Sustainable Cities and Communities Act, Sustainable Transportation Act, Sustainable Forest Management Act, and Water Sustainability Act – were among the first measures she filed in the 19th Congress.
“At the heart of these four measures is the concept of intergenerational fairness. This concept of justice among generations in our ways of living, and in the use and conservation of our resources will allow both present and future generations to meet their own needs,” the senator explained.
The Sustainable Cities and Communities Act mandates the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to set development targets for local government units based on key indicators that would track their progress to fully transition to becoming a sustainable city or community.
Meanwhile, the Sustainable Transportation Act pushes for a national policy shift towards promoting sustainable modes of transport, and ensuring efficient public transportation as the primary option for mobility for the general public.
Cayetano noted that she first filed the measure in 2011 during the 15th Congress, in collaboration with 2009 Ramon Magsaysay awardee, environmental activist, and lawyer Antonio ‘Tony’ Oposa.
The Sustainable Forest Management Act mandates the development of an effective and sustainable national forest management strategy, based on the delineation and allocation of forestland uses.
The bill was originally based on the committee report that was filed and sponsored by Cayetano in the 13th Congress, when she chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
Finally, the Water Sustainability Act aims to ensure Filipinos’ unhampered access to safe and clean sources of water, and guarantee their availability for future generations through responsible and sustainable management.
The bill tasks the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in coordination with the NEDA and Department of Science and Technology, to consolidate all existing frameworks on water management and sustainability into the Philippine Water Sustainability Framework. #