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Natural Resources and Environmental Law


P.D 1586 Establishing an Environmental Impact Statement System

This law aims to harmonize socioeconomic growth and environmental protection by

requiring individuals or groups to submit a report regarding a proposed undertaking or
project and how it will potentially affect the quality of the environment. Undertakings
complying with environmentally-sound standards must first secure an Environment
Compliance Certificate from the DENR.
Q: Should a government entity like the DPWH secure an ECC from the DENR even
though both are co-equal bodies?
A: Yes. Government agencies are not exempt from this requirement.

R.A. 9275 Philippine Clean Water Act

A. General Principles
Q: Is dumping illegal?
A: Yes. General Rule: Dumping is illegal
Exemption: Where dumping refers to a release of effluent coming from commercial,
industrial and domestic sources which are within the effluent standards.
Q: When the release of effluent is in compliance with effluent standards, is the act
automatically made legal?
A: No. A discharge permit must first be secured.
Pollution defined: Any alteration of the physical, chemical, and biological properties of
any water, air, and or land resources of the Philippines, or any discharge thereto of any
liquid, gaseous, or solid wastes as will or is likely to render such water, air, and land
resources harmful, detrimental, or injurious to public health, safety or welfare or which
will adversely affect their utilization for domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural,
recreational or other legitimate purposes.
B. Cases
1. Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. vs. Jalos
Pursuant to its service contract (exploration and extraction) with the national
government, Shell constructed a 504 kilometer pipeline from its production platform in
Northwestern Palawan to its processing plant in Batangas. Jalos et al. claimed that this
construction adversely affected their livelihood, evidenced by a significant decline in
their fish catch, as the construction and operation of the pipeline has driven the fish
population out of coastal waters. Shell moved to dismiss the case, contending that this
is a pollution case, wherefore the RTC has no jurisdiction.
Do the foregoing circumstances constitute a pollution case?
Yes. Although the complaint did not use the words pollution, it is unmistakable that the
pipeline produced some kind of poison or emission that drove the fish away from
coastal areas. The construction and operation of the pipeline greatly affected

biogenically hard-structured marine communities, leading to stress to the marine life in

the Mindoro Sea. This is well within the scope of the definition of pollution (physical
alteration adversely affecting utilization).
2. MMDA vs. Concerned Citizens of Manila Bay
The herein respondentsfiled a complaint before the RTC praying that several
government agencies be tasked with cleaning up, rehabilitate, and protect the Manila
Bay area. They alleged that the water quality of the Manila Bay had fallen way below
the allowable standards set by law. RTC held herein petitioner liable for the cleaning
and rehabilitation as prayed for.On appeal to the SC, petitioner claimed that their
mandate is only to clean up incidents of pollution, and not general cleanups. Wherefore,
they cannot be compelled by mandamus.
May MMDA be compelled to perform the aforementioned duties?
Yes. The SC noted that MMDAs duty includes all instances of solid waste management,
wherefore they may be compelled by mandamus. Furthermore, the other government
agencies cited by herein respondents are likewise liable because of existing laws. This
issue has led to the creation of the writ of continuing mandamus, a means to perpetually
enforce the environmental directive issued by the court.
3. Pacific Steam Laundry, Inc. vs. LLDA
When the Environmental Quality Management Division of the LLDA conducted
wastewater sampling of Pacific Steams effluent, the analysis showed non-compliance
with effluent standards. Another sampling was conducted, with similar results. LLDA
then informed Pacific Steam of its non-compliance. As a result, the latter requested
another wastewater sampling, where finally the results showed compliance with effluent
standards. LLDA contends that a fine should be imposed on Pacific Steam.
Does the LLDA have the authority to impose fines?
Yes. Using the principle of necessary implication, the SC in a previous case ruled that
the LLDA, in the exercise of its express powers as a quasi-judicial body with respect to
pollution cases in the Laguna Lake region, has the implied authority to issue cease and
desist orders. In the same vein, the LLDA likewise has the power to impose fines in the
exercise of its function.
4. The Alexandra Condominium vs. LLDA
PhilReality constructed The Alexandra Condominium Complex and subsequently sold
the same to The Alexandra Condominium Corporation.However, prior to transferring the
property, the former did not create a sewage treatment plant. LLDA then ordered TACC
to build one and comply with government effluent standards. Instead of doing this
however, TACC experimented with a proposed solution from a third-party company. The
water discharge still failed to meet government standards. As a result, LLDA issued an
order requiring the TACC to pay a fine of P1,062,000.

May the LLDA compel TACC to pay compensatory damages?

Yes. In awarding the penalty, the SC turned to section 4(a) of R.A. 4850, which
expressly states that LLDA is entitled to compensation for damages resulting from
failure to meet effluent standards. This is unlike damages awarded to an individual who
is personally aggrieved. In this case, the damages to be awarded will be earmarked
particularly for water quality control and management efforts.
5. Universal Robina Corporation vs. LLDA
Robina Corporation is engaged in, among other things, the manufacture of animal feeds
at its plant in BagongIlog, Pasig. In 2000, the LLDA, after conducting various pollution
tests on the site, found that Robina did not comply with government standards. It was
only on 2007, after upgrading its wastewater system, that the corporation finally comply
with LLDAs standards. Respondent claims that the penalty should be reckoned from the
date of initial sampling to the date of compliance. Petitioner requested for reduction of
penalties, claiming that the period should only include actual days of operation,
excluding the time the corporation underwent corporate rehabilitation.
When should the period for computing penalty commence?
It should be reckoned from the date of initial sampling to the date of cessation of the
source of pollution, regardless of the number of days of actual operation. The Supreme
Court declared that the right of the people to a healthful environment supersedes any
corporate interest. The length of time alone that it took Robina Corporation to upgrade
its water treatment system, a move arrived at only under threat of continuing sanctions,
militates against any genuine concern for the well-being of the countrys waterways.

R.A. 8749 Philippine Clean Air Act

A. General Principles
The Clean Air Act aims to formulate a holistic program of air pollution management to be
implemented by the government. It also aims to promote pollution prevention instead of
control and provide a comprehensive means of air pollution management amongst
varying industries.
B. Cases
1. Henares, Jr. vs. LTFRB
Herein petitioners are challenging the SC to issue a writ of mandamus commanding the
respondents LTFRB and the DOTC to require public utility vehicles to use compressed
natural gas as alternative fuel. The OSG assails two things: That the petitioners have no
standing to file the case in court, and that mandamus cannot be the proper remedy in
this case.
Will mandamus lie to compel the aforementioned government entities to prefer an
alternative fuel over petroleum?

No. On the first issue raised by the OSG, the SC ruled that the petitioners have legal
standing to bring the case to court. The right to clean air is fundamental and of
paramount importance in the interest of the public welfare. The consequences of a
neglected environment due to harmful vehicle emissions cannot be ignored. However,
there is no law that mandates the respondents to order owners of motor vehicles to use
alternative fuel.
2. Ortigas& Co. Limited Partnership vs. Feati Bank& Trust Co.
Q: In general, what is the role of local government units in protecting the citizenry
against air pollution?
A: Enforcing local laws preventing air pollution or its harmful effects. These ordinances
a) Anti Smoke Belching laws
b) Zoning Ordinances
When Ortigas& Co. acquired the track of land sold by the Angeles spouses, they were
bound by the stipulation that the land shall be used purely for residential purposes.
Subsequently, Feati acquired the land, and operating on the fact that EDSA has been
declared by a resolution of the city of Mandaluyong to be a commercial/industrial area,
commenced construction of a bank on the portion of the land near EDSA. Ortigas
contends that the ordinance is in violation of police power, and that the Deed of Sale
clearly stipulates that the lot shall only be used for residential purposes.
Can Ortigas& Co. prevent the construction of the bank on these grounds?
No. First and foremost, police power allows local governments to intervene when there
is a need to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. In this case, the SC ruled that
the ordinance prohibiting residential areas in EDSA is valid, because indeed, being the
Metros main thoroughfare, EDSA supports an endless stream of traffic and the resulting
activity, noise, and pollution are hardly conducive to the health, safety, or welfare of the
citizens in its route. The ordinance being a valid exercise of police power, it cannot be
defeated by the non-impairment of obligations clause.
3. Technology Developers, Inc., vs. CA and Vicente Cruz
Hon. Vicente Cruz, acting mayor of Sta. Maria, Bulacan, ordered the cessation of
petitioners operation of manufacturing charcoal briquettes subject to the submission of
various permits, including an anti-air pollution permit. Petitioner complied. However,
because there was no mayors permit, while the then National Pollution Control
Commission (now Environmental Management Bureau) was still trying to determine the
correct kind of anti-pollution devise to be installed in petitioners premises, the public
respondent ordered that the premises be padlocked and its operation ceased.
Is the mayor justified in closing the premises notwithstanding the fact that the EMB was
already in the process of issuing the anti air pollution permit?
Yes. While it is true that the matter of determining whether there is pollution of the
environment that requires control if not prohibition of the operation of a business is
essentially addressed to the now EMB, it must be recognized that the mayor of a town
has as much responsibility to protect its inhabitants from pollution, and by virtue of its

police power, he may deny the application for a permit to operate a business or
otherwise close the same unless appropriate measures are taken to control and/or
avoid injury to the health of the residents of the community from the emissions in the
operation of the business.
4. AC Enterprises, Inc. vs. Frabelle Properties Corporation
When the 36 blowers of the air conditioning units in the Feliza Building are running at
the same time, unbearable hot air, not to mention excessive noise, is generated and
blown towards the adjacent Frabella I building. Feliza continuously ignored Frabellas
petition to have their AC units checked. Respondent filed a case with the PAB, but the
case was endorsed to the local government of Makati, because based on the facts, it
was deemed a nuisance case, for which the Civil Code provisions on the matter shall
Does the PAB have jurisdiction over the case?
No. The PAB has no primary jurisdiction over the noise complained of by the
respondent. The resolution of the issue before the RTC, which is whether or not the
noise complained of is actionable nuisance, does not require any special technical
knowledge, expertise, and experience of the PAB or even the local government. The
case is one of nuisance, not pollution.While the LGUs also have the power to declare a
nuisance per se, pursuant to the LGC, the case clearly does not fall under those that the
local governments may abate.
Q: What are those which may be considered nuisance per se?
A: Those which are evidently a nuisance without the need for a declaration, such as:
1) Fire hazard buildings in residential areas
2) Factories discharging chemicals on natural waterways

R.A. 9003 Ecological Solid Waste Management Act

A. General Principles
This law aims to provide a comprehensive system of solid waste management in local
governments, as well as among commercial and industrial establishments. This
includes creating a systematic means of solid waste disposal through ordinances and
local legislation.
The National Solid Waste Commission is the body entrusted with overseeing
theregulation of management procedures from the ordinary household to the large
industries.Regardless of its variety of functions, it does not have adjudicatory power.
Obligations of the LGUs under the Solid Waste Management Act:
1) LGUs shall create its own Solid Waste Management Board
2) Segregation and collection and disposal of garbage shall emanate from the
barangay level
3) LGUs must provide their own programs and ordinances on recycling and solid
waste management
4) LGUs shall create recycling centers and proper waste management facilities
(prohibition of open dumps)
Q: How is recycling distinguished from reuse?

A: Recycling is a means of converting used materials in such a way as to use it for

another purpose, while reuse simply means to utilize a used material in the same way
for which it was intended (for example, when a plastic water bottle is filled with water
after being emptied).
Q: Open dumpsites are illegal. Is there a way to legalize them? Yes, by converting the
same to a closed or controlled dumpsite through a local government resolution.
B. Cases
1. Province of Rizal vs. Executive Secretary
At the height of the garbage crisis plaguing Metro Manila and its surrounding area, parts
of the Marikina Watershed Reservation was set aside by the President to use as a
landfill and a means of waste disposal for the Metro. The local government of Rizal, in
cooperation with CENRO, called for the stoppage of the construction of landfill, but no
action was taken by the MMDA. In fact, the DENR even issued an ECC to MMDA. The
LLDA further said that the discharge from the proposed landfill will seep into Laguna De
Bay and endanger millions of lives. When the conflict was getting out of hand, President
Ramos attempted to resolve the issue by excluding from the Marikina watershed the
land covered by the proposed landfill.
Should the San Mateo landfill be closed?
Yes. There are two requisites that should be met before a national project should be
imposed on land belonging to the local government. First, the local residents must first
be consulted prior to the implementation. Also, there must be prior approval from the
Sanggunian involved. In this case, both requisites were not met by the national
government. Furthermore, in allowing the creation of a potentially hazardous landfill, the
DENR is not acting within its mandate of protect8ng the environment.
As to the issue of the prevalent garbage problem in Metro Manila, the Supreme Court
stated that the local government units have the primary duty of promulgating a
comprehensive solid waste management framework within their area, as per the
mandate of R.A. 9003.

Pollution Adjudication Board

A. General Principles

The Pollution Adjudication Board is theprimary quasi-judicial arm of the government. It

was created to have the necessary technical expertise to try and hear pollution cases
throughout the country, without prejudice to those reserved for other adjudicating bodies
such as the LLDA.
Q: Can the PAB issue a cease and desist order?
A: Yes. By the principle of necessary implication, in order for the PAB to enforce its
mandate of executing decisions on pollution cases, it is nugatory to its existence that it
be empowered to impose such penalties as may be deemed necessary.
Q: What are considered adequate bases for issuing a cease and desist order?

1) Whenever the wastes discharged in any establishment pose an

immediate threat to life,public health, safety, welfare, or to animal or plant
life, or
2) Whenever such discharge or waste exceeds the allowable standards set
by the NTCC.
B. Cases
1. PAB vs CA and Solar Textile Finishing Corporation
Petitioner Board issued an ex parte Order directing Solar immediately to cease
and desist from utilizing its wastewater pollution source installations which were
discharging untreated wastewater directly into a canal leading to the adjacent
Tullahan-Tinejeros River. Private respondent contends that the PAB has no jurisdiction
over the case, as the discharge has not proven to be detrimentalto life, health, or public
Can the PAB issue an ex parte cease and desist order?
Yes. The mere fact that the discharge exceeded government standards is already a
ground for the issuance of the cease and desist order. Both requisites do not have to
concur before such an order may be issued.
2. Repulic vs. Marcopper Mining Corporation
Respondent MMC was issued a temporary permit to operate a tailings sea
disposal system. The PAB subsequently issued a cease and desist order against MMC,
preventing them from discharging mine tailings into Calancan Bay. Respondent claims
that the PAB has no jurisdiction to issue an ex parte order over mining operations,
because its permit has been issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
Is the PAB stepping outside the bounds of its jurisdiction by issuing a cease and desist
order over mining operations of Marcopper?
No. Although MGB is tasked with regulating mining operations, the power to adjudicate
pollution cases belongs to the PAB. The MGB may only issue and revoke mining
licenses and permit, as well as to recommend policies on the exploitation and
development of mineral resources.

Rules of Procedure in Environmental Cases

A. Writ of Continuing Mandamus

This writ is issued when any agency or instrumentality of the government unlawfully
neglects the performance of its duty when it is mandated to perform it. Continuing
mandamus continues to exist for as long as the subject government agency has yet to
fully comply with its mandate. In the MMDA case, the SC ordered various government
agencies to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay and submit quarterly reports of their
progress until the project has been completed.
B. Writ of Kalikasan

A writ of kalikasan is a legal remedy providing for the protection of the Constitutionallyguaranteed right to a balanced and healthful ecology. The writ is comparable to the writ
of amparo and the writ of habeas corpus, in that it compels individuals and corporate
entities to act in accordance with environmental interests. It may be sought to deal with
environmental damage of such magnitude that it threatens life, health, or property of
1. Boracay Foundation, Inc., vs. Province of Aklan
The Boracay Foundation, Inc. filed a petition for an issuance of a writ of mandamus
suspending the implementation of a land reclamation project along the foreshores of
Barangay Caticlan in the Province of Aklan based on the ground that the classification
of the project was incorrect leading to the failure to perform a full EIA as required by law
and that there was a failure for proper, timely and sufficient public consultation.
Is there reasonable ground for the issuance of mandamus?
Yes. The Court determined that the valid questions raised by the petitioners put in
question the sufficiency of the evaluation of the project by the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources Environmental Management Bureau Regional
Office VI. The Court further found that there was a lack of prior consultations and prior
approval required by law. The Court therefore issued a writ of continuing mandamus
suspending the implementation of the project and requiring, inter alia, the DENR-EMB
RVI to make a proper study and the Province of Aklan to submit the appropriate report
and to secure approvals from local government units and hold proper consultations with
NGOs, other stakeholders and sectors concerned.