DENR seeking framework for valuing environmental damage
THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it is looking into increasing the penalties for violations of environmental law by laying the groundwork for a system to properly value natural resources.
“It is imperative to impose higher fines for the commission of any violation against the country’s environmental laws if we are to really curb offenses like indiscriminate disposal of garbage, illegal logging, wildlife poaching and smuggling, to name a few,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in a statement on Wednesday.
The agency said it is holding a two-day consultation workshop during which law enforcers are expected to come up with a blueprint on the use of ecological damage assessment values by the courts to set parameters of liability, which will help guide the setting of fines.
“At present, damage from environmental crime cannot be fully accounted for as we have yet to develop a mechanism that would determine the full compensation cost for the damage made,” Mr. Cimatu added.
Among the considerations that will play a major part in framing the mechanism are the market value of the resource and the cost of restoring, rehabilitating or replacing the affected resource.
Under existing law, an offender in a criminal case can likewise be held liable for civil liabilities which include restitution, reparation of damages caused and indemnification for consequential damages.
The new mechanism for valuing resources and the impact of environmental damage involves the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group.
Experts from the United States Department of the Interior and the United States Agency for International Development will also take part in the process. —