Dizon pushes creation of air quality council
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - September 29, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon has proposed an ordinance creating the Multi-Sectoral Air Quality Council of the city.

The proposed ordinance entitled, “2020 Multi-Sectoral Air Quality Council Ordinance of the City of Cebu" is now pending before the committee on laws, ordinances, and styling for review.

"This ordinance aims to boost the efficiency of the City of Cebu in ensuring that the people's rights to health and to a balanced and healthful ecology shall be protected by maintaining a good air quality of the city through useful techniques and proper research studies," a portion of the proposed measure read.

"Given the state of deteriorating air quality in Cebu City which compromises the health and general welfare of the public, it is imperative that the Cebu City government create and mandate a multi-sectoral council with the discretion to enforce ambient air quality guideline values that assure a breathable air for the people in Cebu City with the authority to assess, regulate, and monitor reports, applications, and emissions related to air pollution," it further read.

Section 4 states that the council, to be known as MSAQC, shall lead and coordinate the formulation, implementation, and enforcement of all policies, programs, and projects relative to guarantee the maintenance of good air quality that will be enjoyed by the people of the city. It shall be under the Office of the City Mayor.

MSAQC is mandated to formulate policies for the development of a science and technology-based ambient air quality guideline values in the city level; to encourage coordination and awareness of efforts to maintain an air pollution-free community and develop social responsibility; to implement these policies in coordination with different people's organization, private sectors, the academe and health professionals both from the private and public sectors; and to strengthen the linkages between and among government and non-government organizations and encourage their active participation in assisting government agencies toward mainstreaming the air pollution concerns.

The council shall be composed of the ex-officio and regular members.

The ex-officio members would include the Mayor as the chairperson of MSAQC, the chairpersons of the city council's committee on environment, and health, minority floor leader, Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) head, among others.

The regular members would include five representatives from accredited Cebu City people's organizations and civil society organizations; two representatives from the scientific and research institutions based in the city; one representative each from the Philippine College of Physicians - Cebu City Chapter and Cebu Medical Society; and a representative from the Archdiocese of Cebu and in charge of the environment ministry.

The ex-officio members shall serve up to the end of their term of office in the city government, whereas the regular members shall serve for a term of three years, unless revoked for cause of resignation from the council.

Section 10 provides that the members of the council shall receive no salary for their services, but may receive such travel and other expenses while on official business for the city as are made available by the city council for these purposes.

Section 13 states, "The Council shall be held accountable to the City. Any wrongdoing committed by any member and officer of the Council in their official capacity shall be subject to disciplinary action as may be deemed proper by the Local Chief Executive upon the observance of due process. Any disciplinary action imposed will be without prejudice to the investigation and filing of civil and criminal charges."

Among the responsibilities, powers, and authority of the council is to acquire air monitoring equipment to be set-up in locations that are strategic to monitoring stationary and mobile sources of pollution in the city, formulate and implement other relevant guidelines and regulations pertaining to air pollution, and recommend and impose fees/penalties and sanctions on polluters, among others.

For the effective implementation of the ordinance, once approved by the city council, a specific line item for council operations will be included in the annual city budget for the operation and maintenance of the council for each calendar year.

Within 60 days upon its approval, the Office of the City Mayor shall cause the issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations as are necessary for its effective implementation. — GMR (FREEMAN)

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