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House OKs bill banning single use plastics

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The House of Representatives approved on second reading Wednesday House Bill 9147, that regulates the production, importation, sale and use of single-use plastics.

The proposed bill also shifts the responsibility on producers to recover plastic waste to prevent leakage to bodies of water and harm to environment, Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District), who chairs the Technical Working Group that consolidated 42 related bills and resolutions, said.

The Climate Change Commission has been pushing the ban on SUPs nationwide to better address pollution linked to these disposable items.

Climate Change Commissioner Rachel Ann Herrera said about 489 cities, municipalities, and provinces in the country already have their respective SUP-related ordinances.

Among common SUPs are plastic grocery bags, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery, and packaging for food and other merchandise, with 95 percent to 99 percent of plastics used made of petrochemicals.

Studies show that sachet packages are among the top SUPs polluting the Philippines.

Benitez admitted that it has been a challenging work for him to balance the interests of the industry, consumers and the environment as TWG chairman.

“In the end, the health of the planet has to prevail,” he added.

Benitez thanked Speaker Lord Alan Velasco and the 106 co-authors of HB 9147 for their support throughout the painstaking process of drafting and approving the bill. It’s been two decades since the first bills were filed to expressly ban specific SUPs, Benitez said, adding that the 18th Congress is committed to finish the job.*

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