Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday lauded the passage of a measure that would regulate and phase out the production of single-use plastics to curb the growing problem of plastic pollution in the country.
Velasco is one of the principal authors of House Bill 9147 or the proposed “Single-Use Plastic Products Regulation Act,” which the House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading during Wednesday’s session.
In a related development, the House passed the priority bill creating the Philippine Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, sponsor of the substitute bill as chairperson of the health panel and one of the principal authors, welcomed the approval of CDC measure.
She said the bill is “urgently necessary as the country, just like most of the health systems in the world, is ill-prepared to address the challenges of pandemics such as the COVID-19.”
The House chief said “the time is ripe” for the country to enact a national legislation that will regulate the production, importation, sale, distribution, provision, use, recovery, collection, recycling, and disposal of single-use plastic products.
“The Philippines is one of the world’s top five countries that contribute to plastic wastes causing marine pollution. Thus, it behooves our country to start prohibiting the use and spread of plastics in order to preserve the environment for future generations,”Velasco said.
HB 9147 provides for the gradual phase out of single-use plastics, which refer to “plastic products designed to be disposed of, destroyed, or recycled, after only one use.”
Once the bill is enacted into law, non-compostable single-use plastic products like drinking straws; stirrers; sticks for candy, balloon, and cotton buds; buntings; confetti; and packaging or bags of less than 10 microns in thickness shall be phased out within one year.
Other single-use plastic products such as plates and saucers; cups, bowls and lids; cutlery like spoons, forks, knives and chopsticks; food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene; oxo-degradable plastics; film wrap, packaging or bags of less than 50 microns in thickness; and sachets and pouches that are multilayered with other materials shall be phased out within a period of four years.
Thereafter, the production, importation, sale, distribution, provision or use of the said plastic products shall be prohibited.
However, properly labeled flexible disposable plastic drinking straws for persons with special conditions shall be allowed when no suitable reusable or compostable alternatives are available.
Under the bill, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—in coordination with the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) and in consultation with relevant departments or government agencies and stakeholders—shall formulate a phase out plan within six months upon effectivity of the measure.