Consumers, commuters and environmental advocates on Thursday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately act on what they alleged as anomalous billion-peso purchases of air quality monitors that measure air pollution nationwide by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“Air pollution poses a clear and present danger to public health and even threatens the lives of our countrymen. The particulate matters emitted from firecrackers, motor vehicles and industrial sources not only hit gravely our respiratory system but also go to our cardiovascular system causing hypertension, heart attack, strokes and even sudden death,” lawyer-doctor and chairman Leo Olarte of the Coalition of Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines (CCAAP), said in a statement.
The coalition and its partners said they met with DENR Secretary Regina Lopez last August 2, 2016 to discuss with her details of the purchases of the air-quality monitors.
“Last August 2, 2016, we went to DENR Secretary Lopez to complain about the questionable purchases of air quality monitoring equipment by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). We did this in great confidence because Secretary Lopez is not only perceived as a staunch environmentalist but she was formerly accurately measure it? She promised us immediate investigation [of the purchase]. She even said this time there will be no whitewash [of our complaint),” Olarte said.also a CCAAP trustee herself. We asked her how can we clean the air if we cannot
The complaint stemmed from the EMB’s series of purchases since 2003 of the allegedly billion-peso worth of air-quality monitors.
The coalition said the system that was purchased by the DENR-EMB was incompatible
with the “unique” needs of the country and that most of the air-quality monitors are now not properly working.
“We believe in the sincerity of President Duterte when he said he will fight corruption in the government. This is why we are addressing this serious concern directly to him,” according to the CCAAP.
“If Secretary Lopez will be true to form as what she tries to portray herself, as a fierce advocate for clean air, she should order the creation of an independent body or a third party investigator composed of international and local experts to audit these equipment. We challenge the DENR secretary that together with the media we will identify, locate open and test one by one these air-quality monitors nationwide being questioned,” another concerned group, the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters, headed by its president Rodolfo RJ Javellana, said. JING VILLAMENTE