MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday pledged that the Philippines, a major plastic polluter, would "clean up."
"We do have our part to play. We are the third biggest plastics polluter in the world, but we won't shirk from that responsibility," the newly sworn-in chief executive said during his inaugural speech.
"We will clean up," he continued.
A 2021 report by the World Bank said the Philippines was the third largest contributor of plastic pollution, with an estimated 0.75 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic entering the ocean every year.
An environmental group earlier called on the new administration to veto what they called a "polluter-friendly" bill mandating consumer brands to manage plastic waste.
Von Hernandez, global coordinator of Break Free From Plastic, has said the bill that sought to institutionalize the extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme that was ratified by Congress in May would only provide "false solutions".
Under the EPR, obliged companies "have the responsibility for the proper and effective recovery, treatment, recycling or disposal of their products after they have been sold and used by consumers" to reduce waste generation and improve the recyclability of packaging.
Sen. Cynthia Villar earlier said the EPR bill "is not a solution in itself, but it is a move in the right direction."
Under the Senate version of the bill, producers, distributors, retailers implementing EPR programs would also be eligible to tax incentives. On the other hand, fines ranging from P5 million to P20 million were proposed as penalties for failure to comply with the mandated EPR.