A lawyer has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to order President Benigno Aquino 3rd to initiate a move to reforest all denuded mountains and regenerate obliterated mangroves.
In a petition for mandamus, lawyer Rodrigo Cruz pointed out that his petition was spurred by “the obvious neglect of our government, especially the executive and legislative departments, to act on the most important compulsion mandated by our Constitution that needed utmost priority because it affects our very existence as a nation and as human beings.”
The petition was filed weeks after Typhoon Lando (international name: Koppu) reportedly killed more than 50 people and displaced over a million others.
Aside from Aquino, also impleaded in the petition were the Senate, represented by Senate President Franklin Drilon, and the House of Representatives, represented by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Cruz said he summoned “all his courage to test whether or not [the]executive and legislative departments of our government can be required by an ordinary citizen to perform what they are mandated under our Constitution.”
He explained that his petition is never intended to pontificate about the Constitution but “to compel [the government]to act with haste regarding climate change with fatal adverse effects that [have]already begun with water rationing in Metro Manila occurring during rainy season and onward to the dry season.”
“This is not [envisioned to embarrass the President], nor to put to shame members of our legislature but rather to give our President and lawmakers the chance to leave lasting legacy to our present generations and the generations to come…thereby comply with their mandate under Sections 9 and 16 of Article II of the Constitution,” the petition read.
According to Cruz, the same provision mandates the government “to free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services; promote full employment, a rising standard of living an improved quality of life for all; and provide the people with a productive, balance[d]and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”
“The only remedy to overpopulation and lack of jobs is [increasing]the productivity of our mountains and our mangroves,” he said.
“The flip side of the coin is that reforestation from Aparri to Jolo can well absorb two million jobless [among]our people; erase acute shortage of lumber; ensure sufficient water supply; and solve acute shortage of and high cost of sea foods—simple remedy that is in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature, simple remedy that we can easily afford—if only our [President] and legislature focus their mind and heart [on]this number one national priority of extreme urgency,” Cruz added.
The special civic action dated October 6, 2015 pointed out that “right now, our legislative department is busy preparing the national budget for the year 2016, yet no one in that department considered the urgent need for each and every one of us to be protected from the fatal adverse effects of the continuing degradation of our ecology.”