SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has tabled a measure that seeks to establish the framework for mandatory insurance coverage of Environmentally Critical Projects (ECP).
In a statement on Sunday endorsing Senate Bill 1189, Go said the government must ensure people’s quality of life by protecting the environment in which they live.
He said PCEs include heavy industries, major manufacturing industries, major resource extraction industries, major infrastructure projects and other similar projects that could pose serious risks to people and the environment. .
“Environmental protection must be a priority in order to protect our future as well,” Go said.
He noted that the country’s geographical location makes it “prone to natural disasters”.
Despite existing measures to protect the environment, Go said that “there have been various instances of human-caused environmental damage in the country, such as the Marcopper mining disaster in Marinduque and logging activities illegal activities in the Cagayan Valley which led to massive flooding in the area during Typhoon Ulysses.”
Under SB 1189, a national framework for Mandatory Environmental Insurance Coverage (MEIC) will be created, which all ECP owners and operators are required to maintain.
Go said under its bill, owners and operators of ECPs cannot begin construction or commercial operation without obtaining an MEIC.
“In the event of a breach, owners and operators of an ECP will be subject to penalties,” the senator said.
Government officials, employees and agents who approve the construction or operation of PCEs without an MEIC will also be penalized.
Once SB1189 is enacted, the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will establish an Inter-Agency Technical Committee (IATC), with the Commissioner of the Insurance Commission and representatives from the insurance industry, the mining industry and other stakeholders, as members.
The AICT will identify, among other things, risks or possible negative environmental impacts, activities, processes or companies; carry out a risk assessment to determine the appropriate insurance cover for the different ECPs and activities; and develop guidelines for identifying major impact areas and prescribing rehabilitation or repair of environmental damage.