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Philippine Clean Air Act 0f 1999
The Clean Air Act was envisioned to fight air pollution by : (1) Reducing emissions from motor vehicles (which
account for 80 percent of the air pollution) from factories and power plants (which account for the remaining 20
percent); (2) Improving fuel quality to reduce or eliminate lead in gasoline and sulfur in diesel; (3) Reducing traffic
congestion and improving traffic flow; (4) Strengthening quality monitoring, evaluation and reporting through hitech equipment; and (5) Preventing other sources of pollution such as incinerators, garbage burning and smoking.
Studies show that air in Metro Manila is no longer in safe. Worsening air pollution has caused more than 10,000
excess cases of acute bronchitis, almost 300 excess cases of asthma and nine excess cases of chronic bronchitis. At
home, I usually drink 500mg of ascorbic acid but if I have scheduled traveled to Manila, I would always drink 1000mg
of ascorbic acid just to keep my self healthy and strengthen my immune system.
In an article written by former Senator Alvarez, DENR destroys spirit and intent of Clean Air Act, he mentioned that
motor vehicles being registered must not exceed the 0.5 percent carbon dioxide emission to pass the emission test.
This was based on Euro 1 levels of 1991, a globally accepted emission standards. But the DENR through Department
Administrative order no. 51 dated October 2003, lowered the Acts allowable carbon monoxide emission from the
Euro1 standard of 0.35 percent to 0.5 percent by volume which according to Senator Alvarez is way off the Acts
standard and violated some provisions of the law because congress has the exclusive power to amend the law. And
worse, the relaxed the emission standards indefinitely, setting our anti-pollution program several steps backwards.
But what is worst to me is that during emission testing, technician in testing center can easily manipulate the results
of the test by simply making adjustment on the engine. And this had been the practice by most emission testing center
here in Davao, and I have been a witness to this kind of practice being an owner of a private vehicle.
In the same column, according to Senator Alvarez that many may not know but since May 25, 2001, the Clean Air Act
calls for a nationwide ban on smoking but this has not been thoroughly implemented. Long time exposure to direct
and side stream tobacco smoke has been a leading cause of lung cancer and mouth cancer worldwide. In Davao City,
an ordinance was passed and was enacted into law, prohibiting smoking inside public buildings, enclosed places
including public vehicles and other means of transportation, any enclosed area outside private residences or private
workplaces; and any duly designated enclosed area is strictly prohibited. The initial implementation of the law was
very good but it soften when certain personalities (a congressman and IBP president) were caught smoking. In one
daily newspaper Ive read, a picture of a lawmaker smoking inside the session hall, with the caption, A LAWMAKER
How could we expect full and strict and implementation of the law when those who crafted and implemented it were
the ones breaking the law. But I am still hoping that as we celebrate the Clean Air Month this November, correct
implementation of the Act would be in full swing.