Kaibigan ng Kaunlaran at Kalikasan (KKK)

Kaibigan ng Kaunlaran at Kalikasan (KKK)

Friends of Progress and the Environment

The Writ Case Versus Bt Talong

The application of the Writ of Kalikasan and the Precautionary Principle as legal remedies for the protection of the environment continuous to be a challenge and a subject of interest especially for operating facilities and new investments; as well as to the general public who may opt to exercise their concerns for environmental protection through these judicial instruments.

The"Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases" promulgated by the Supreme Court stipulates (in italics):

WRIT OF KALIKASAN


SECTION 1. Nature of the writ.—The writ is a remedy available to a natural or juridical person, entity authorized by law, people’s organization, non-governmental organization, or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any government agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces.


PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE


SECTION 1. Applicability.—When there is a lack of full scientific certainty in establishing a causal link between human activity and environmental effect, the court shall apply the precautionary principle in resolving the case before it.


The constitutional right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology shall be given the benefit of the doubt.


It may be noted however, that the doctrine of "Precautionary Principle" was not explained fully in the SC Rules.


The Rio Declaration to which the Phl is a signatory states the following:


Principle 19-In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats to serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.


It will be recalled that "Precautionary Principle" was the center of legal and technical argument in the Bt Talong Writ Case.

The SC recently reversed its adverse decision on the Bt Talong on the legal grounds of mootness and not on reconsideration on the grounds of "Precautionary Principle". The opinion of Dr Emil Javier a Member of the National Academy of Science and Technology is herewith attached for the reader’s information and scrutiny.

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