Republic of the Philippines
FROM THE DESK OF:
TTY. OSE M
IDAS . PM ARQUEZ
CHIEF OF STAFF, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE
CHIEF, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
ASSISTANT COURT ADMINISTRATOR
12 March 2009
MR. PIPALAWAN O. NAGA
Save Lake Lanao Movement (SALLAM)
12-B 6th Street, MSU Main Campus
Marawi City 9700 PHILIPPINES
Dear MR. NAGA:
The Supreme Court is spearheading a Forum on Environmental Justice: Upholding the Right
to a Balanced and Healthful Ecology on 16 – 17 April 2009, to be held simultaneously in three sites
nationwide through videoconferencing—University of the Cordilleras (Baguio City), University
of the Philippines Visayas (Iloilo City), and Ateneo de Davao University (Davao City). The
main site of the forum is Baguio City because the vigorous and continuing debates on Baguio’s
environmental issues make it an especially apt venue for the forum. The forum will be an ideal
activity as a run-up to Earth Day on 22 April 2009.
This forum completes the circle of rights initiatives of the Supreme Court which began in
July 2007 with the conduct of the National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and
Enforced Disappearances. That same year, the Supreme Court promulgated the Rules on the Writ
of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data which are both aimed at protecting the first generation
rights in the form of individual and civil rights. The following year, the Supreme Court
conducted the Forum on Increasing Access to Justice for the Poor which focused on the second
generation of human rights and resulted, among others, the formulation of the Rule of Procedure
for Small Claims Cases, and the Enhanced Justice on Wheels Program (EJOW), and the Rule on
Mandatory Legal Aid Service for Practicing Lawyers among others.
In this regard, on behalf of the Supreme Court, may we invite you to attend the two-day
forum at the Ateneo de Davao University, 8016 Roxas Avenue, Davao City?
We are sending herewith the Forum Program and Guide for your information and
perusal. May we also request you to accomplish the attached registration form and fax to (02)
There will be no registration fees. Transportation costs, meals and hotel accommodation
will be provided during the forum.
We look forward to seeing you in April.
Very truly yours,
JOSE MIDAS P. MARQUEZ
Supreme Court of the Philippines
Forum on Environmental Justice:
Upholding the Right to a Balanced & Healthful Ecology
16 – 17 April 2009 (Thursday to Friday)
University of the Cordilleras, Baguio City
University of the Philippines Visayas, Iloilo City
Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City
The Rule of Law and the Environment. On August 2002, in the Global Judges Symposium on
Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Johannesburg Principles were drafted by the
attending representatives of the judiciaries all over the world holding that “an independent judiciary and judicial
process is vital for the implementation, development and enforcement of environmental law….” It further
emphasized that “the fragile state of the global environment requires the Judiciary, as the guardian of the Rule of
Law, to boldly and fearlessly, implement and enforce applicable international and national laws, which, in the
field of environment and sustainable development will assist in alleviating poverty and sustaining an enduring
civilization, and ensuring that the present generation will enjoy and improve the quality of life of all peoples, while
also ensuring that the inherent rights and interests of succeeding generations are not compromised.”
Environmental degradation and climate change increasingly receive international coverage within the context of
human rights issues. Recognition of the link between the abuse of the human rights of various vulnerable
communities and related damage to their environment is expressed under the term environmental justice. In both
the industrialised and developing parts of the world, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that poor and other
disenfranchised groups have been the greatest victims of environmental degradation.
Environmental Justice. The concept of environmental justice embraces two objectives. The first is to
ensure that rights and responsibilities regarding the utilisation of environmental resources are distributed with
greater fairness among communities, both globally and domestically. This entails ensuring that poor and
marginalised communities do not suffer a disproportionate burden of the costs associated with the development
of resources, while not enjoying equivalent benefits from their utilisation. The second is to reduce the overall
amount of environmental damage domestically and globally.
The Right to a Healthy Environment. Section 16 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution, provides
that: “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord
with the rhythm and harmony of nature.” In Section 15 of the same Article, it is provided that: “The State shall
protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.” The right to a
healthy environment requires a healthy human habitat, including clean water, air, and soil that are free from
toxins or hazards that threaten human health. The right to a healthy environment entails the obligation of
governments to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of the right to a healthy
environment; prevent third parties such as corporations from interfering in any way with the enjoyment of the
right to a healthy environment; and adopt the necessary measures to achieve the full realisation of the right to a
Within the Judiciary, the Supreme Court has, for several years, now been implementing a comprehensive
judicial reform program, which focuses on the development of systems, institutions, and resources. On the issue of
environmental justice in particular, the Supreme Court has taken steps to address delays in the resolution of
environment cases, lack of information, stringent requirements in litigation, lack of environmental (“green”)
courts and other barriers to environmental justice. While these measures are continuing, there is a need to assess
their impact, consolidate gains, further enhance their effectiveness, identify and obviate constraints, and to launch
innovative initiatives, through the Court’s singular rule-making power under the Constitution concerning the
protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure on all courts, the admission
to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. [Art. VIII, § 5 (5)]
On 28 January 2008, the Court issued SC Administrative Circular No. 23-2008, designating 117
environmental (“green”) courts. The designation of environmental courts is just one of the many steps in helping
affected communities that have suffered adverse conditions resulting from environmental law violations.
Currently, some judges may not be ready to try cases that involve technical procedures or terms; lack awareness
on existing environmental laws; or fail to realize that a speedy trial is crucial, given that a number of
environmental cases concern survival of species. With these scenarios in mind, there are succeeding steps that
need to be undertaken to strengthen the courts and make them effective, foremost of which, is the capability
training for judges handling the environmental courts. Another step would be the greening not only of the benches
but also the other pillars of justice, namely the prosecution, enforcement, community, and penology. A multi-
sectoral framework would be crucial because no environmental court will function fairly if one pillar is prejudiced
against the other. The other pillars would also necessitate awareness trainings to fully understand the
requirements of environmental justice.
After 2007’s national consultative summit seeking solutions to the problem of extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances that constitute a violation of our people’s civil and political rights, and 2008’s forum on
increasing access to justice by the poor and marginalized groups, the Court now focuses its attention to what has
been termed as “third generation” rights, particularly, environmental rights. The Forum will enable the Court to
receive inputs directly from the different stakeholders in the justice system, particularly the sectors that are most
vulnerable. The outputs from the Forum will also enable the Court and other allied pillars of justice to better fulfill
their constitutional mandate in promoting, protecting and upholding the right to a balanced and healthful
B. FORUM OBJECTIVES
1. To validate the draft Rule of Procedure for Environmental Cases;
2. To discuss the need for a mechanism/structure that will address the need to monitor environmental cases
or issues and monitor compliance thereat; and
3. To identify best practices of some agencies/units and replicate in a particular situation.
C. PARTICIPANTS AND OBSERVERS
A estimated total of 560 participants and observers from the Judiciary, Executive and Legislative branch,
Non-Governmental Organizations, Peoples’ Organization, the Academe, Development Partners, and
Diplomatic Corps will be invited. The participants will then be distributed to each of the break-out groups to
best represent the following sectors:
1. Forestry 5. Solid Waste
2. Water 6. Toxic Substances
3. Marine 7. Energy
D. WORKING LANGUAGE
The working languages of the Forum are English and Filipino. Forum documents are available in English
E. FORUM PROPER
The Forum will be held for two days, from 16 – 17 April 2009, simultaneously in three sites — University of
Cordilleras in Baguio City, University of the Philippines Visayas in Iloilo City, and Ateneo de Davao University
in Davao City, which shall all be linked through video conferencing.
Day 1: 16 April 2009
During the morning session, heads of government agencies will deliver a short message on how the courts
can help in the protection and preservation of the environment and their agencies’
commitment on environmental justice. These messages will thereafter be followed by a short
response from representatives of civil society.
The culminating activity before lunch break will be a signing of Memorandum of Commitment on
Environmental Justice by the different heads of government agencies, representatives of civil society, and
After lunch, participants will break out into their pre-determined groups to share their respective experiences
and surface issues concerning environmental justice relating not only to the Court, but also regarding
implementation, enforcement, legislation, monitoring, etc…The objectives of this group-sharing are: (1) to
identify legal and non-legal issues on environmental justice in the participants’ respective areas of concern;
(2) to identify gaps existing in substantive laws and rules concerning environmental justice; and (3) to identify
best practices in attaining environmental justice of some groups despite the absence or inadequacies of
substantive laws and rules or the unresponsiveness of government agencies/prosecutors/other authorities.
Each group will be assisted by a facilitator and a documentor. A synthesis of the groups discussion will be
presented by region (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao) on the 2nd day of the Forum.
Day 1 of the forum will be concluded with a presentation on the proposed Rule of Procedure for
Day 2: 17 April 2009
On Day 2, a synthesis of the group discussions of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao shall be presented during the
plenary session. This will be followed by a workshop where participants will be requested to comment and
share their insights on the proposed Rule of Procedure for Environmental Cases.
The highlight of the afternoon session of Day 2 will be a presentation by each group of their respective reports
and recommendations on the proposed Rule. The Court may adopt or refer to the necessary body for
appropriate action the recommendations from the Forum.
All speakers are encouraged to prepare and submit a paper of any length with annexes if needed, detailing the
significant inputs of their respective agencies / sectors. However, because of time constraints, each speaker is
only allotted a maximum of 10 minutes to make their respective presentations. The moderator will remind
the speakers of their remaining time. With permission from the speaker, his/her paper will be printed and
distributed to the participants by the forum secretariat. It will also be uploaded in the Supreme Court of the
Philippines website (http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph).
The speakers are requested to provide the secretariat with electronic copies of their respective papers together
with their one-page profile with photo (jpeg format) on or before 16 March 2009 (Friday) through email at:
The hard copies of the papers and one-page personal profiles of the speakers may likewise be received at the
Public Information Office (PIO) of the Supreme Court, 3/F Annex Building, Supreme Court of the Philippines,
Padre Faura Street, Manila.
A computer and printer will be made available at a designated room where speakers may edit their
presentation or rehearse should they wish to. During the forum proper, an LCD projector with screen and a
computer operator will also be available. Should the speakers have any other requirements, please feel free to
coordinate with the contact person listed below on or before 16 March 2009 (Friday).
Registration is required for all participants.
Pre-registration can be done by sending the completed registration form through email at
email@example.com or fax to the following numbers:
1. Speakers, Government Agencies, Local Government Units (LGUs), and Media c/o Public
Information Office at Tel. No. +632 526 8129
2. Development Partners, Diplomatic Corps, Judges, NGOs/POs c/o the Philippine Judicial Academy
at Tel. No. +632 552 9628
On-site registration will commence on 15 April 2009 (Wednesday), beginning at 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the
respective hotel lobbies. Registration on 16 April 2009 (Thursday) will commence from 08:00 to 08:30 a.m.
at the University of Cordilleras, Baguio City, University of the Philippines Visayas, Iloilo City, and Ateneo de
Davao University, Davao City. Participants who have pre-registered will be given their respective IDs, while
those who have not yet pre-registered are requested to secure their IDs from the Forum Secretariat. Kits will
be given at the registration counter upon presentation of the ID.
All participants must wear their IDs for the duration of the forum.
I. MEALS and HOTEL ACCOMMODATION
The following hotel accommodations are provided for participants coming from the regions/provinces outside
of Baguio City, Iloilo City and Davao City from 15 April to 18 April 2009:
• Luzon participants, except those residing in Baguio City, shall be given hotel accommodation at
the Hotel Veniz, Baguio City.
• Visayas participants, except those residing in Iloilo City, shall be given hotel accommodation at
the Amigo Hotel, Iloilo City.
• Mindanao participants, except those residing in Davao City, shall be given hotel accommodation
at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, Davao City.
Check-in time is 2:00 p.m. of 15 April and the latest check-out time is at 12:00 noon of 18 April. Participants
arriving earlier than the designated check-in time on 15 April or those who wish to depart beyond 18 April will
shoulder the additional costs of accommodation.
The organizers have reserved rooms on sharing arrangements with breakfast. Participants are requested to
observe room assignments strictly. The organizers cannot guarantee room preference. Accompanying
persons not invited to attend the forum will have to shoulder the costs of their own accommodation.
Use of mini bar and outgoing calls from the hotel rooms are not allowed. However, should the participants
wish to avail of these and other hotel services, they may do so at their own personal expense.
Meal arrangement at the hotel accommodations will be provided as follows:
• 15 April, Wednesday: Dinner
• 16 April, Thursday: Breakfast and Dinner
• 17 April, Friday: Breakfast and Dinner
• 18 April, Saturday: Breakfast
Lunch and Snacks during the Forum will be provided at the respective venues.
J. REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES (for NGOs and Pos, and Judges ONLY)
Participants coming from the regions/provinces outside of Baguio City, Iloilo City and Davao City may
reimburse their transportation expenses upon furnishing the Finance Group the following documents:
• Completed Itinerary of Travel; and
• Original transportation tickets such as but not limited to plane fare tickets with boarding pass, bus
and boat tickets.
The reimbursement process will be done based on the following schedule and venue:
• 15 April, 2-4 PM, Hotel: Submission of requirements
• 16 April, 8 AM -12 NN, Forum Venue: Submission of requirements
• 16 April, 1 PM – 4 PM, Forum Venue: Release of reimbursements
• 17 April, 8 AM - 4 PM, Forum Venue: Release of reimbursements
Participants are encouraged to take the most economical means of transportation to the venue. Only direct
transportation expenses will be reimbursed. The reimbursement process shall be done in accordance
with existing government accounting and auditing rules and regulations.
K. SEATING ARRANGEMENTS OF PARTICIPANTS
Participants are requested to be guided by the signage in finding their respective seats. Ushers and usherettes
will also be posted before the start of the sessions to assist the participants in finding their seats.
L. FORUM SECRETARIAT
Should you have any concerns during the forum, please feel free to approach any of the Secretariat team
members who can be identified through their respective I.D.s.
Should you have other questions and request for additional information please refer them to any of the
The Forum Secretariat: firstname.lastname@example.org
Armida M. Salazar
Charmaine C. Saltivan
(02) 552.95.23 to 24
Abigail T. Sze