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Leyte legislators pass landmark environment code legislation

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 17, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the province of Leyte made an unprecedented move, in fact it made history, by passing a landmark legislation, the Environment Code of the Province of Leyte.

As the author, Board Member Carlo P. Loreto said, "Time is of the essence when it comes to protecting our environment. Though Leyte has a bounty of natural resources, the struggle for economic growth threatens to imperil the very source of the province's development. Thus, it is imperative that we reconcile the urgent need for prosperity with the shared duty to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, in accordance with the rhythm and harmony of nature."

Leyte board member Carlo Loreto
Leyte BM Carlo Loreto

Senior Provincial Board Member Carlo P. Loreto, Chairman of the SP Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, made this statement amid growing local and international concern over the unabated exploitation of the environment in the name of development, and the deleterious effects these have on the capacity of mother nature to replenish itself.

Board Member Loreto said that through the passage of the Environmental Code, Leyte will be able to define the stakeholders’ respective roles in environmental protection and squarely address the challenges that may prevent the performance of this role.

Board Member Loreto who authored the Environmental Code for the Province of Leyte said that it is indeed a challenge to achieve equilibrium between the right of the present generation to economic prosperity and development and the liberty of the future generations to enjoy a balanced and healthful ecology.

The ordinance creating the Environmental Code, is based on the concept of "inter-generational justice." As explained by Board Member Loreto, "The right to a balanced ecology is part of the right to life itself, antedating all laws and constitutions. It is conceived from the very moment life itself was created. In view of this fundamental human right, we have an inter-generational responsibility to provide for the foreseeable needs of future generations, while providing for the developmental needs of our generation."

As Chairman of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Loreto was able to secure unanimous approval of the ordinance, which has been forwarded to Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla for his approval and signature, prior to implementation.

"With sustainable development in mind, the passage of this Environmental Code will result to more timely and prudent responses to vital issues relating to the environment," Loreto quipped.

Other members of the provincial board agreed and commented that the passage of said ordinance was very much welcome.

"It is a long overdue ordinance. We are grateful to the proponent for advancing said ordinance, which could ensure that future generations of Leyteños will enjoy the bounties of nature," Board Member Wilson Uy said.

Board Member Rolando Piamonte added that the environment today is under great threat. It is just timely that such ordinance was filed and passed in the august body.

Loreto, who is a lawyer by profession, is recognized as the most productive sitting provincial legislator. He is currently serving his second three- year term as number one board member of Leyte. He was first elected board member last 2004.

Among the other landmark ordinances he authored are the Gender and Development Code, the Anti-Illegal Logging and -Timber Poaching Ordinance, the ordinance creating the Comprehensive Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Program, the ABACA Disease Management and Industry Development Ordinance, and the amendatory Sand and Gravel Ordinance.

An advocate of humanitarian and environmental concerns, Atty. Loreto believes that political machineries are not only means for winning elections, but are effective tools for effecting reforms in Government.

For the past years, he displayed leadership, political will, integrity and respect for the rule of law. Even during committee investigations, Loreto displays patience, sobriety and calm to usher a productive (although spirited) exchange of ideas.

Despite the hectic schedule, Atty. Loreto still manages to take part in civic-oriented organizations, and continues to visit various project sites and touch base with his constituents. He is passionate about strengthening the Filipino family, empowering the youth, revitalizing the legal system, promoting respect for human rights and working for an accountable and responsive government.