Taking care of environment is a ‘human rights’ issue
Former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno said the government must rethink the way it takes care of the environment, saying that violation against the environment should be a human rights issue.
He said this during a a unique lecture series launched by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In his lecture, Puno, who served as the country’s first ever environment minister, underscored the need for the Philippines to “constitutionalize” the right to a healthy environment by including it in the Bill of Rights.
“The most effective way to protect the right to a safe and healthy environment is to constitutionalize the right in our Bill of Rights so that the right will be demandable,” he said.
He said that it is also high time for the country to “rethink” its approach to the environment, as he spoke about the challenge of addressing environmental crime and justice.
“The Philippines, as a developing country, suffers more in the impact of environmental degradation, yet contributes less to its causes. The relationship between man and nature must be anchored on man’s human rights,” Puno said.
“We should rethink our philosophy in environment using human rights as the mandate. In fact, this philosophy should be cast in the Constitution, which cannot be tampered without the consent of the sovereign people,” he added.
For his part, Cimatu said the DENR continues to reorganize its field offices—from regional, provincial to community levels—to make them more effective in delivering service to the public.