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VILLAFUERTE: CONVERT HAZARDOUS WASTES TO ENERGY

Camarines Sur Representative LRay Villafuerte has proposed congressional action on his proposal to finetune the Philippine Clean Air Act by mandating the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to promote the use of state-of-the-art thermal and other treatment technologies to convert biomedical and hazardous wastes into usable energy forms like fuel and electricity. 

Under his proposed law outlined in House Bill (HB) No. 8019, local government units (LGUs) are also mandated to set up a comprehensive waste management plans that include waste segregation, recycling, and composting.

Villafuerte, a former Camarines Sur governor, said it is necessary to amend the Clean Air Act because it prohibits incineration, when new technologies have emerged that make it possible and feasible for LGUs to convert waste into usable forms of energy.

Villafuerte, a former Camarines Sur governor, said it is necessary to amend the Clean Air Act because it prohibits incineration, when new technologies have emerged that make it possible and feasible for LGUs to convert waste into usable forms of energy.

“This conversion can occur through a number of processes such as incineration, gasification, pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas recovery,” Villafuerte said. 

“Unfortunately, the Philippines cannot adhere to this available technology of converting waste to energy because of the express prohibition on incineration in Section 20 of Republic Act (RA) No. 8749,” he explained. 

HB 8019 aims to repeal this provision (Section 20) of RA 8749 to allow regulated thermal and other treatment technologies for the disposal of municipal and hazardous wastes, or for the processing of any material for fuel. 

The bill also imposes specific standards of thermal treatment units and levies responsibility to the owners and operators of such treatment facilities. 

HB 8019 aims to repeal this provision (Section 20) of RA 8749 to allow regulated thermal and other treatment technologies for the disposal of municipal and hazardous wastes, or for the processing of any material for fuel. 

Under the measure, the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) shall ensure the establishment of a comprehensive solid waste management plan in all LGUs nationwide.

This plan should incorporate waste segregation, recycling and composting, and disposal, the bill states. 

HB 8019 also outlines the role of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in processing the application of waste treatment projects and the use of new technologies for such projects, as well as the responsibilities of their owners and operators. 

Villafuerte’s bill also provides for financial assistance, grants, and fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for investments in waste treatment facilities.

Such proposed fiscal incentives shall include income tax holidays; tax and duty exemption on imported capital equipment and vehicles; tax credits on domestic equipment;  and tax and duty exemptions on donations, legacies and gifts.

The DENR, in coordination with the NSWMC, Department of Energy (DOE), Bureau of Investments (BOI), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs (BOC), academe or research institutions, and other concerned agencies, is tasked to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for this proposed law.

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