>>>>The Law on Natural Resources

The Law on Natural Resources

by Justice Oswaldo D. Agcaoili

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The Law on Natural Resources

The Law on Natural Resources

by Justice Oswaldo D. Agcaoili

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A paradigm which would qualify as an ideology is the protection of the environment, a central feature of the landmark case of Oposa v. Factora (GR No. 101083, July 30, 1993) which is hailed as one of the triumphs of environmentalists before the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, the Court held:

While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of Principles and State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a right belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than self-preservation and self-perpetuation x x x the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions. As a matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they are assumed to exist from the inception of humankind.

Several principles and doctrines on the subject of natural resources and environmental justice have since been enunciated or restated by the Supreme Court, and new laws, administrative rules and regulations issued which inevitably necessitates a revision of my book on Law on Natural Resources and to expand it to cover a broad range of environmental law developments. I have therefore included in the revised edition of the book, now re-titled “Law on Natural Resources and Environmental Law Developments”, important laws on the subject, e.g., RA No. 9749 (Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999),RA No. 9275 (Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004), and RA No. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000), RA No. 3931, PD No. 984 and EO No. 192 (Pollution Adjudication Board).

A highlight of the revised edition is the inclusion of Adm. Matter No. 09-6-8-SC (Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases) which took effect on April 29, 2010. Considered the first of its kind in the world, this landmark rule of procedure in environmental litigation is a significant catalyst in support of far-reaching and sweeping reforms in environmental justice and protection, and implements the power of the Supreme Court to “promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights” and to “provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the disposition of cases.”

Fortified by my stint and experience as a member of the Faculty of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), and as a lecturer on environmental law, I have attempted to discuss important provisions of the pertinent law, rule or regulation, amplified by the comments and annotations of experts on the subject, and illustrated, where appropriate, by decisions of the Supreme Court. It is hoped that the new edition will continue to be of help and even inspiration to all lovers of nature in their quest for environmental justice.

Author(s)Justice Oswaldo D. Agcaoili
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