DENR seek­ing frame­work for valu­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age

Business World - - THE ECONOMY - Jan­ina C. Lim

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. —

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