NEGROS Occidental Third District Representative Francisco "Kiko" Benitez applauded the House of Representatives for the approval on third and final reading last week the bill regulating the manufacture, sale, and use of single-use plastic products.
Benitez, who headed the Technical Working Group that drafted House Bill No. 9147, said the bill is a "critical, concrete step towards a sustainable economy. A big win for the environment and for future generations."
The bill seeks to mandate within a year of enactment into law, the halting of production, importation, sale, distribution, provision, and use of single-use plastics. These include drinking straws, stirrers, plastic sticks, confetti and packaging.
Meanwhile, four years are given for cutlery, film wrap, sachets and pouches, beverage containers, and thicker plastics for packaging.
The bill seeks to fine violators between P50,000 and P500,000 for small businesses and P250,000 to P1 million for bigger businesses.
All of the executive departments will implement the law, but the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will formulate a "phase-out plan" to make sure that the country is on track with the law's goals.
Businesses, meanwhile, are mandated to promote reusable products and to charge customers who will ask for plastic bags.