SC declares oil exploration in Tañon Strait unconstitutional
Eight years worth of proceedings and the Supreme Court finally ruled in favor of the dolphins.
The High Tribunal declared the oil exploration by Japan Petroleum Exploration (Japex) Philippines Ltd in Tañon Strait unconstitutional, which vindicated eco-lawyers who contended that the activity harmed the strait’s marine species.
The case was filed against the late energy secretary Angelo Reyes, former environment secretary Lito Atienza, former agriculture secretary Arthur Yap, Regional Director Leonardo Siballuca of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Japex.
Acting as petitioners were eco-lawyers Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, Liza Osorio and Benjamin Cabrido.
The court declared the service contract 46 entered into by Department of Energy and Japex null and void saying it violated the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act and Presidential Decree 1586 for conducting activities without permits within the protected areas.
The court noted that the service contract failed to comply with the safeguard requirements of the Nipas Act which required that the contract be authorized by a general law, signed by the president and approved by Congress.
The SC said while there is a general law on exploration based on Presidential Decree 87, the contract was just between DOE and Japex.
It said Japex didn’t secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and didn’t have an environment impact assessment (EIA) that would have determined the effects of the oil exploration on the Tañon Strait.
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