In 2017, petitioners sued the Government of the Philippines seeking to reduce air pollution from vehicular emissions. They argued that the government’s failure to address air pollution was prejudicing life, health, and the property of all Filipinos. Petitioners alleged that the government should reduce “personal and official consumption of fossil fuels” by at least 50%. They asserted that the government should (i) reduce vehicular traffic by implementing road sharing with pedestrians and cyclists, (ii) devote public open spaces to sustainable urban farming, and (iii) allocate more budget to mitigating environmental pollution. The petitioners had sought the writs of kalikasan (protection of constitutional rights to a healthy environment) and continuing mandamus to compel the Presidentially-created Climate Change Commission to implement a variety of measures to promote biking and walking and disincentivize car travel. Petitioners based their claims in the Philippine Constitution and Executive Order 774, which designates a task group to reform the transportation sector and follow the principle "those who have less in wheels must have more in road."
However, on March 7, 2017 the Supreme Court of the Philippines dismissed the lawsuit for failing to establish the requisites for the issuance of the writs. The Court found that petitioners had not established that the Commission was guilty of violation or neglect of environmental laws as required by the writ of kalikasan. Further, petitioners failed to prove direct or personal injury arising from the government's failure to act, as required by the writ of continuing mandamus. The court accepted the government’s evidence that it was implementing environmental laws and prioritizing programs aimed at addressing and mitigating climate change.
|03/07/2017||Judgment||Download||Supreme Court Judgment|