In the effort to secure sustainable progress, Mayor Arlene Arcillas-Nazareno is pushing for the passage of an Environment Code that will address all environmental concerns in the midst of the economic development of the City of Santa Rosa.
Mayor Arlene stressed that while the City of Santa Rosa is continuously developing, the City Government is making the necessary measures to secure a balanced community. “I hope that this (Environment) Code will be the embodiment of how Santa Rosa is – a city that promotes sustainable development through sustainable resources.”
According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) - Philippines, the city’s fast-paced industrialization and urbanization may lead to environmental degradation and abuse. It enumerated effects such as lowering of groundwater level due to unregulated extraction by industries and residential subdivisions. Air quality is also affected by the increasing number of motor vehicles in the City. Meanwhile, water is also contaminated through direct discharge of untreated sewage and dumping of solid wastes.
These circumstances, according to the WWF, necessitate the formulation of an Environment Code that is customized to the needs of the City to ensure sustainability of economic growth and development.
What is the Environment Code?
An Environment Code is a comprehensive program on environmental protection and management. Similar to Presidential Decree No. 1152, also known as the Philippine Environment Code, the City of Santa Rosa’s Environment Code is aimed at establishing specific environment policies and prescribing environment quality standards. In a sense, it is like a compilation of existing ordinances of the City on environment.
According to Maria Amor Salandanan, Supervising Environment Management Specialist from the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, the Code will address the gaps in existing ordinances, creating new legislation if needed. Among these is the garbage collection fee.
“The City currently has no particular law on garbage collection fees. In the Environment Code, it will include how much should the City charge for collecting garbage. And if there would be a penalty for those who would not observe proper waste segregation, that too would be part of the Code,” Salandanan explained.
Another issue is the application for a development permit. Salandanan said that it is ideal if part of development projects would be dedicated to greenery. “If the City would make that a condition when developing a certain project, then it would also be part of the Code,” she said.
A Step Forward
As an initial step, a consultative workshop on the formulation of the Environment Code was held last October 5, 2010 at the Paseo Premiere Hotel in Paseo de Santa Rosa,
The workshop was aimed at soliciting inputs from different sectors on how to effectively manage the environment with issues focusing on land, air and water. Attendees in the consultative workshop included representatives from government offices, barangays, industry, educational institutions, business establishments, homeowner associations and non-government organizations.
An advocate of participatory governance, Mayor Arlene reiterated that all stakeholders should be one in the goal of taking care of the City by taking care of the environment.
She also revealed that the City Government will push thorough with the 10M Flood Control and Drainage Master Plan as part of the city’s disaster risk management strategy.
The Aplaya Waterfront Development Project, designed to take care of the lakeshore communities in the City, will also push through. It expected to generate additional income for the City and the private sector as well.
The formulation of the Environment Code is being done in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) - Philippines, an agency that has helped the City Government in many of its environmental programs particularly those concerning water.
The City of Santa Rosa has a five-year study funded by Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils. Inc. in cooperation with WWF. The study aimed at establishing data and make necessary recommendations for groundwater management for the Santa Rosa Watershed.
Entitled Managing Water Resources for Sustainability and Equity in the Santa Rosa Watershed, the project covers the cities of Santa Rosa and Biñan, and the municipalities of Cabuyao and Silang. Components of the said project, which started in 2008, include the series of water summits held for the last three years, the assessment of water quality of wells in the city especially those being used for drinking, as well as the formulation of the Environment Code.
Mayor Arlene will release an executive order that will create a technical working group that will formulate the Environment Code Code. She expects the Code to be approved within the first quarter of 2011.