By JUNE S. BLANCO
BETTER job opportunities for his constituents, and a cleaner, greener and fresher earth.
These are the ends-in-view Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) is pursuing so that he filed twin bills last week.
House Bill (HB) 5951 proposes to establish a special economic zone in Bohol. On the other hand, HB 5549 which he co-authored, aims to improve air quality and mitigate the effects of climate change.
To manage and administer the special economic zone, the bill also proposes the creation of the Northern Bohol Special Economic Zone Authority (NBSEZA) with the corresponding appropriation.
But, Aumentado said, businesses and industries that locate in the NBSEZA must only be light, and environment-friendly.
These must complement, not compete, with agriculture and tourism which are Bohol’s prime economic drivers, he emphasized.
Heavy industries, he noted, tend to be detrimental to the environment.
The bill is now being studied by the House committees on Economic Affairs and on Trade and Industry.
Meanwhile, Aumentado said, HB 5549 aims to require parents to plant one tree for every child born to them.
The bill is now being studied by the committees on Natural and Resources, on Ecology and the Special Committee on Climate Change.
Among others, the committees will finalize the mechanics of the requirement, including the types of trees recommended and the planting area for families who do not own land.
The solon said when passed, this law will be the country’s contribution to the mitigation of the effects of climate change.
He said the Philippines cannot compare to Bhutan wherein 70% of its land area is still covered with virgin forests.
This means, he explained, Bhutan is not only carbon neutral but carbon negative, meaning, the oxygen its forest cover produces is more than the carbon dioxide its population, households, machineries and industries produces.
As things are, Aumentado admits, the Philippines cannot yet hope to become another Bhutan.
But the one tree per child policy can certainly improve air quality and with it, the health of its citizens, he explained.