Rhetor­i­cal ques­tion

Tempo - - Editorial - Dr. Ra­mon Ri­cardo A. Roque, CESOI, Di­plo­mate

HOW se­ri­ous is our gov­ern­ment in clean­ing our air? The Philip­pine Congress has al­ready passed Repub­lic Act No. 8749 or the Clean Air Act way back in 1999. How well have the im­ple­ment­ing agen­cies per­formed in the last 18 years?

Clean­ing our air means get­ting rid of smoke-belch­ing ve­hi­cles, among oth­ers. The pro­grams and per­for­mances of the Land Trans­porta­tion Of­fice (LTO) and the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) against smoke-belch­ing ve­hi­cles il­lus­trate the level of our gov­ern­ment’s se­ri­ous­ness in im­ple­ment­ing the Clean Air Act as a way of serv­ing the in­ter­est of the cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of Filipinos.

The last ac­tion of the LTO, to­gether with the DENR, the PNP and the lo­cal gov­ern­ment of Que­zon City, on smoke­belch­ing ve­hi­cles that was re­ported through the me­dia was made May of this year. These agen­cies con­ducted an unan­nounced and ran­dom smoke emis­sion test­ing on 88 ve­hi­cles along Com­mon­wealth Av­enue. Out of the 88 tested ve­hi­cles, 76 ve­hi­cles failed the test. In other words, 86 per­cent of the tested ve­hi­cles were emit­ting smoke be­yond the le­gal and al­low­able limit.

LTO an­nounced that there would be more ran­dom smoke emis­sion tests af­ter that not only in Metro Manila but also in other parts of the coun­try.

We have not heard again of any fol­low through ac­tion.

We ques­tion the se­ri­ous­ness of the gov­ern­ment, par­tic­u­larly the LTO, DENR and lo­cal gov­ern­ment units be­cause the prob­lem about the pres­ence of smoke-belch­ing ve­hi­cles in our roads ob­vi­ously ex­ists and yet, we can­not see com- mit­ted ac­tion on the part of the gov­ern­ment to deal with the prob­lem.

Let’s face the fact the smoke emis­sion test, as a re­quire­ment for the an­nual ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion, is not an ef­fec­tive way of en­sur­ing that our streets are free of smoke-belch­ing ve­hi­cles. In ad­di­tion to the fact that ve­hi­cles can be “con­di­tioned” prior to the test, the test re­sults may also be ma­nip­u­lated for a “fee.”

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Clean Air Act, specif­i­cally on the as­pect of ve­hi­cle smoke emis­sion, is ningas ku­gon, at best. The LTO, in par­tic­u­lar, can­not wash its hands, so to speak, by cit­ing re­source con­straints be­cause even with very limited re­sources, it can do a lot.

No one is re­ally con­cerned about the fines that have to be paid for the first, sec­ond, and third of­fenses be­cause ap­pre­hen­sion mech­a­nisms are ef­fec­tively non-ex­is­tent.

How se­ri­ous is our gov­ern­ment in clean­ing our air? This is a rhetor­i­cal ques­tion that needs to be asked to re­mind the con­cerned gov­ern­ment agen­cies about their fail­ure in serv­ing the in­ter­est of the peo­ple.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.