The House of Representatives on Thursday ratified a bicameral conference committee report on a bill seeking to institutionalize the practice of extended producers’ responsibility (EPR) in waste management.
During the plenary session, the chamber approved the final version that reconciles the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 10696 and Senate Bill 2425, which would amend Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
EPR refers to the environmental policy, initiatives, and practices, in which companies and corporations are obliged to have the responsibility for proper and effective recovery, treatment, recycling and disposal of their products after they have been sold and used by consumers aimed at improving ecological management.
The bill seeks to institutionalize the EPR mechanism as a practical approach to efficient waste management, waste reduction, recovery and recycling; and the development of environmentally-friendly products and circular economy programs.
Deputy Speaker Camille Villar said the proposal would hold companies responsible for recycling, which would be a crucial step to address the growing problem of plastic pollution in the country.
Villar said there is an urgent need to pass the packaging responsibility or product stewardship bill as consumers generate more single-use packaging and plastics from online purchases amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The pandemic has likewise resulted in a surge in plastic use consequently complicating and aggravating this problem. There is a need for a collective effort and duty to decisively and effectively pass a measure that would address this present situation,” Villar said.
She noted that plastic waste makes up a significant share of the overall generated waste in the Philippines, adding that the Philippines is the third biggest polluter next to China and Indonesia and produces some 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste each year.
“Worse, plastic waste is likely to aggravate pollution and worsen flooding in communities,” Villar added.
The measure, she said, aims to improve the responsibility of producers in the design, collection, reuse, recycling, and disposal of their products and packaging.
She said tax perks also await firms that put in place EPR mechanisms.
“I have faith that this important bill is comprehensive enough to address plastic and solid waste management in the country. May I then sincerely seek the support of the members of the Committee and the stakeholders present for the passage of this proposed measure,” Villar said. (PNA)