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Marinduque Rep. Velasco’s TWG mulls ban on non-essential single-use plastics

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A technical working group spearheaded by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco is eyeing to come up with a comprehensive measure that will seek to ban non-essential single-use plastics.

Velasco said that the TWG is looking into several proposals prohibiting the single-use plastic products filed with the House of Representatives, as they mull moving towards banning the non-essential single-use plastics in the country in order to promote and preserve a safe and healthy environment,

The TWG led by Velasco met on Tuesday to discuss the consolidated bills aiming to regulate the production, importation, sale, provision, use, recovery, collection, recycling and disposal of single-use plastic products.

The said subpanel is under the House Committee on Ecology, which is headed by Zamboanga Rep. Glona Labadlabad.

Velasco, who chairs the House Committee on Energy, is a proponent of one of 33 bills filed in Congress seeking to ban the single-use plastics, in accordance with the provision of the Constitution that mandates the State to “protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”

The Marinduque lawmaker’s bill, House Bill No. 2396 or the Ban of Single-Use Plastics Act, is also in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement to prohibit the use of plastics nationwide.

“The direction of the TWG is to ban the non-essential single-use plastics and to clarify that other plastic products should be regulated and as much as possible, recovered and recycled/re-used,” Velasco was quoted as saying.

“We will try our best to come up with a bill that will ensure a healthy and safe environment for the generations to come,” he added, as he called on stakeholders to submit their position papers to help the panel craft a “very balanced bill.”

The final version of the proposal will incorporate the Extended Producers Responsibility to ensure the retrievability of plastics, according to Velasco, a certified diver himself who has witnessed the extent of the environmental damage caused by plastics.