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Writ of Kalikasan and the right to environment

Joefer G. Maninang
College of Arts and Sciences Education, University of Mindanao, Davao City



What is the Writ of Kalikasan? By virtue of the Philippine constitutional provision which mandates 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, the Writ of Kalikasan is a Special Civil Action under the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases that was innovated by the Supreme Court. The writ is a legal remedy when such constitutional right or any environmental policy or law is violated. The writ is a laudable self-executing provision since it protects the Filipino right to a healthy environment. Employing the lens of social ethics, this article therefore explores the writ and surveys some of its generic cases “involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property” of affected inhabitants. It informs about the recently written writ which relevantly empowers Filipinos to legally assert their “right to environment” in order to obligate their own government to act. The article discusses some perspectives, criticisms and limitations on the writ as revealed by cases of violations by foreign nationals within Philippine territory and in “contested areas” of the West Philippine Sea. Such areas are ‘contested’ but then the said violations are in fact committed within the Exclusive Economic Zone. The past government administration won an international legal case it brought before an international tribunal, but this didn’t stop the alleged violations while the present administration renewed its diplomatic ties with the country of the foreign perpetrators.

Keywords: social ethics, right to environment, Writ of Kalikasan