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Saving the

Silent Waters
(A Brown Bag Session)

Indicators of a minimally educated person:
a. numeracy
b. literacy
c. The Concept of ECOLACY

(by Garrett Hardin)

Awareness is not enough. We

must act NOW.
Perhaps, nothing is more indicative of our disregard to nature than
our overuse and abuse of waters which we think are freely, infinitely
and endlessly flowing within our surroundings.
There is no doubt, however, that things have gone awry with the
world, and something must be done, and soon! Rivers which once
teemed with aquatic life are biologically dead, all life smothered by
unrelenting slit and chemical effusions. Wells from which fresh water
once gushed forth have turned dry. The environment is in too much
precarious a situation as to leave it only in the hands of those who
care for it. Within the social order, there must be a response, and
when one calls for the rectification of the social order, one perforce
invokes the formative and directive power of law (PHILJA,
Perspectives in Judicial Education Selected Speeches and
Writing by Assoc. Justice Ameurfina A. Melencio Herrera, pp.
540, 2009).

A Reflection.
Choose one question and answer briefly in your own words.
1.How do environmental concerns affect the way we think
about ethics in general?
2.What is our obligation to future and distant people (next
generation) with regard to the environment? Do we have
an obligation(s) to begin with?
3.Do we need a deeper understanding of reality that centers
in nature? Why?
4.What are the implications of environmentalism for private
property (the so-called absolute right to do whatever we

The Tragedy of the Commons

Freedom in Commons brings ruin to all

Case Analysis:

Adding together the component partial

utilities, the rational herdsman concludes that the only sensible course
for him to pursue is to add another animal to his herd. And another
and another but this is the conclusion reached by each and every
rational herdsman sharing the commons. Each man is locked in to a
system that compels him to increase his herd without limitin a world
that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush,
pursuing his own interest that believes in the FREEDOM OF THE
COMMONS. Therefore, Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.

Let us have an illustration of the Tragedy of

Commons in exploitation and abuse of water.

A few farmers dumping their refuse into a river probably wont affect the
rivers purity very much, but when many companies see it as a cheap
way of refuse disposal, the whole region suffers, while the company bears
only a fraction of the disadvantage, not enough to offset the money saved
by dumping waste into the river.


A factory saves money by burning fuel with high sulfur content, but the
sulfur dioxide it spews out causes acid rain that kills forest or pollutes a
river system, may be, 1,000 kilometers away- perhaps in a different
country so why bother burning, anyway?

The Philippine Clean Water Act of

Natural Resources are Inalienable Properties of the
The case of Sta. Rosa Realty Dev. Corp. v. CA gives us a
glimpse of the dangers posed by the misuse of natural resources
such as watershed reservations which are akin to forest zones.
Population growth and industrialization have taken a heavy toll on
the environment. Environmental degradation from unchecked
human activities could wreak havoc on the lives of present and
future generations. Hence, by constitution fiat, natural resources
remain to this day inalienable properties of the state.

Declaration of State
The State shall pursue a policy of economic
growth in a manner consistent with the
protection, preservation and revival of the
quality of our fresh, brackish and marine waters.
To achieve this end, the framework for

As such, it shall be the policy

of the State:
a. To streamline processes and procedures in the prevention,
control and abatement of pollution of the country's water
To promote environmental strategies, use of appropriate
economic instruments and of control mechanisms for the
protection of water resources;
b. To formulate a holistic national program of water quality
management that recognizes that water quality management
issues cannot be separated from concerns about water sources
and ecological protection, water supply, public health and quality
of life;
c. To formulate an integrated water quality management
framework through proper delegation and effective coordination
of functions and activities;

d. To promote commercial and industrial processes and products that are
environment friendly and energy efficient;
e. To encourage cooperation and self-regulation among citizens and
industries through the application of incentives and market-based
instruments and to promote the role of private industrial enterprises in
shaping its regulatory profile within the acceptable boundaries of public
health and environment;
f. To provide for a comprehensive management program for water pollution
focusing on pollution prevention;
g. To promote public information and education and to encourage the
participation of an informed and active public in water quality management
and monitoring;
h. To formulate and enforce a system of accountability for short and longterm adverse environmental impact of a project, program or activity; and
i. To encourage civil society and other sectors, particularly labor, the
academe and business undertaking environment-related activities in their
efforts to organize, educate and motivate the people in addressing pertinent
environmental issues and problems at the local and national levels.

Clean- Up Operations
Any person who causes pollution in or pollutes water bodies in
excess of the applicable and prevailing standards shall be
responsible to contain, remove and clean-up any pollution incident
at his own expense to the extent that the same water bodies have
been rendered unfit for utilization and beneficial use: Provided,
That in the event emergency clean-up operations are necessary
and the polluter fails to immediately undertake the same, the
Department, in coordination with other government agencies
concerned, shall conduct containment, removal and clean-up
operations. Expenses incurred in said operations shall be
reimbursed by the persons found to have caused such pollution
upon proper administrative determination in accordance with this

Environmental Impact
In view of assessing and evaluating the
impact of an industry to the environment,
particularly to the water system, the law
provides a mechanism wherein all
consequences and impact of such
industry to the water quality.


Discharging, depositing or causing
to be deposited material of any kind
directly or indirectly into the water
bodies or along the margins of any
surface water, where, the same
shall be liable to be washed into
such surface water, either by tide






otherwise, which could cause water

pollution or impede natural flow in
the water body;

Discharging, injecting or allowing to seep

into the soil or sub-soil any substance in
any form that would pollute groundwater.
In the case of geothermal projects, and
subject to the approval of the Department,








commissioning, venting) and deep reinjection of geothermal liquids may be

allowed: Provided, That safety measures
are adopted to prevent the contamination
of the groundwater;

Disposal of potentially infectious medical waste into sea

water by vessels unless the health or safety of individuals on
board the vessel is threatened by a great and imminent peril;

Operate facilities that

discharge or allow to
seep, willfully or through
gross negligence,
prohibited chemicals,
substances or pollutants
into water bodies or
wherein the same shall be
liable to be washed into
such surface, ground,
coastal, and marine

Fines, Damages and Penalties

Any person who commits any of the prohibited acts provided in the
immediately preceding section or violates any of the provision of this Act
or its implementing rules and regulations, shall be fined by the Secretary,
In the amount of not less than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) nor
more than Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) for every day of
Penalty as deterrence. The fines herein prescribed shall be increased
by ten percent (10%) every two (2) years to compensate for inflation and
to maintain the deterrent function of such fines.
Closure and Cessation of Operations, construction, building. The
Secretary may order the closure, suspension of development or
construction, or cessation of operations or, where appropriate
disconnection of water supply, until such time that proper environmental
safeguards are put in place and/or compliance with this Act or its rules
and regulations are undertaken.

Let us act NOW to protect and preserve our Water Resources.

The most important product of a watershed is

water which is one of the most important human
necessities. The protection of watershed ensures
an adequate supply of water for future generations
and the control of flashfloods that not only
damage property but also cause loss of lives.
Protection of watersheds is an intergenerational
responsibility that needs to be answered now
(Callado v. Court of Appeals, 390 SCRA 343,