Eddie Villanueva

Lawmaker lauds 3rd reading approval of PENCAS bill

August 6, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 188 views

CITIZENS Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Party-list Rep. Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva has lauded the approval by the House of Representatives on 3rd and final reading of House Bill (HB) 8443 or the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) bill.

The bill seeks to develop and institutionalize an information system and accounting framework that takes into account the state of country’s natural capital and its impact on the economy. Incorporating the health of the country’s natural capital into national accounts provides a broader picture of development progress than solely relying on traditional measures such as economic indicators (e.g. gross domestic product (GDP), etc.)

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the country’s natural resources composed of mineral, cropland, timber, and coastal and marine resources make up an estimated 19% of the nation’s wealth, contributing largely to national economic development. However, rapid growth and climate change are adding pressure to already strained natural resources.

“Economic growth must not be at the price of environmental degradation. The passage of PENCAS bill is a concrete step in our pursuit of sustainable development – a kind of progress that does not compromise the health and integrity of our natural resources but rather protects and promotes its conservation and well-being. By adopting a system that quantifies how we fare in taking care of our environment, we will be more conscious and apprised of the environmental implications of our actions and better plan our efforts towards growth. This will lead us to be more responsible stewards of our natural resources,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva is currently the chairman of the House committee on sustainable development goals (SDG) and one of the principal authors of PENCAS bill. His bill, HB No. 8117, is one of the consolidated measures that form part of the final version of HB 8443.

Villanueva awaits the swift passage of the measure into law, considering that PENCAS bill is one of the identified priority measures of the Marcos administration.

The House of Representatives approved Wednesday on third and final reading HB No. 8443 to establish PENCAS, a framework that takes into account the country’s natural capital and its impact on the economy.

With an overwhelming 215 votes, the chamber approved on final reading the bill that, once enacted into law, will establish a system for the collection, compilation, and development of natural capital accounts in the government as a tool for development planning and programming, policy analysis, and decision-making.

The PENCAS, part of the Legislative-Executive and Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) priority bill, will also serve as a comprehensive data framework in the generation of natural capital statistics and accounts for their progressive integration in macroeconomic indicators.

“We acknowledge that solid data is crucial in preserving and developing our natural capital and with this proposed legislation, we hope to provide tools and measures that can contribute to the protection, conservation, and restoration of ecosystems,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, leader of the 312-strong House of Representatives, said.

“This bill also intends to provide a framework in the generation of natural capital statistics and accounts toward their progressive integration in macroeconomic indicators that is why the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Interagency Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Statistics (IACENRS), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) shall work hand-in-hand in the implementation of the measure,” the highest-ranking House leader from Leyte’s 1st District added.

Some of the authors are Reps. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga, Jr., Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe, Francisco Benitez, Antonio Legarda, Jr., LRay Villafuerte, Miguel Luis Villafuerte, Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata, Brian Yamsuan, Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva, Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, Celso Regencia, and Adrian Michael Amatong. Under HB No. 8443, the PSA will have the overall responsibility for the institutionalization and progressive implementation of PENCAS following the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) framework.

This refers to a framework that integrates both economic and environmental data to provide a more comprehensive and multipurpose view of the interrelationships among the economy, the environment and ecosystems, and the stocks and changes in stocks of natural assets, as they bring benefits to humanity.