MANILA - Environmental and clean air advocates urged the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to order government to implement a five-year old presidential order on the sharing of road space between pedestrians and motorists.
Petitioner Carless People of the Philippines and Children of the Future asked the high court to issue a writ of kalikasan to compel government to implement Executive Order (EO) No. 774, issued in 2008 during the term of then President Gloria Arroyo, which aims to devote half of all roads to motorized vehicles and/or Filipino-made mass transport systems.
The issuance directs the other half of all to be devoted to covered sidewalks, bike lanes and urban gardens.
A section of EO No. 774 directs the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to supervise local government units (LGUs) so that transportation systems favor those who have no motorized vehicles.
The group lamented government's failure to implement the order.
Named as respondents in the petition are President Benigno Aquino III as head of the Climate Change Commission, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Agriculture (DA), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), DILG, Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Road Board and unnamed LGUs.
"Respondents’ failure to implement the laws has resulted in the continued pollution of the air, particularly that of Metro Manila. It is therefore a violation of the constitutional right of the people to good health. As a matter of fact, it may even be tantamount to the deprivation of life, and of the sources of life, by the government without due process of law,” the petition read.
'PUBLIC OFFICIALS SHOULD TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT'
The group asked the high court to order the Office of the President, Cabinet officials and public employees to reduce their fuel consumption by half and take public transportation for 50 percent of the time.
The petition also urged the SC to direct the Department of Public Works and Highways to demarcate and delineate the road right-of-way of all roads and sidewalks in the country.
The DENR welcomed the filing of the petition.
“The petition is a welcomed challenge for the government because if it succeeds, it will surely help boost the ongoing concerted effort to improve the quality of the air we breathe,” said Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.
Paje said that his department will continue to sustain and come up with other programs to attain clean air.