LEGAL SERVICES AND PROVISION OF SECRETARIAT SERVICES TO THE POLLUTION ADJUDICATION BOARD
The Legal Services Section is involved in the issuance of Notices of Violation to non-complaint industries or commercial establishments, conduct of technical conferences and investigation of complaints. For the first semester, the accomplishment of the Section is presented in Table 1.
Table 1. Summary of Accomplishment (January to June):
|ACTIVITY||RA 8749||RA 9275||PD 1586||RA 6969||RA 9003||TOTAL|
|Notices of Violations issued||22||129||79||28||1||259|
|Technical Conferences conducted||399||399|
|Complaints acted upon||20||20|
The total number of NOVs issued is 245 while the total number of Technical Conferences conducted is 399. The number of complaints wherein a technical conference was conducted was 20, but the total number of complaints including those wherein notices and invitations have been sent but there was no appearance of parties is 25. The Legal Section also serves as resource persons in the DENR Legal Affairs Service investigations within its jurisdiction.
Pursuant to EMB Memorandum Circular 2020-21, the Legal Section has adopted video-conferencing or eTechCon.
Due to the pandemic and the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine, majority of the targets of the Legal Section were moved to third and four quarters of the year in the latest revision of the Work and Financial Plan.
2 Challenges (Issues/Concerns):
- Compliance to Technical Conference Orders / Disposition / Commitment– We are challenged with the monitoring of the parties’ compliance with regard to payment of penalties imposed, submission of status/progress reports, etc. After TC, we are usually not able to follow through and ensure compliance with our Orders because all of us are occupied with our assigned tasks with higher priority.
- Non-appearing parties– We take note of the non-appearance of some invited parties especially for TCs conducted pursuant to NOVs, but we usually overlook issuance of second notices or imposition of appropriate sanctions on the non-appearing parties, to the prejudice of the appearing parties, again due to our attention to other assigned tasks.
- Technical Conference Venue – We used to have this issue before the pandemic. The space allotted for Technical Conference only comfortably seats four (4) persons. The current practice of eTechCon is a better alternative to this, while avoiding the risks of spreading the virus.
- Technical Conference Invitations – Email addresses of parties are not readily available hence, it takes a while before we could send invitations to all parties to the technical conference.
- Service of Orders– We incur delays in the service of Orders mainly due to the unavailability of a service vehicle.
- Availability of Records– A work-from-home arrangement is ideal for the legal section but the ease of access to records and other references is affected. However, the legal staff has backed up all legal documents from 2019 onwards.
- Internet Connectivity – eTechCons take more time than actual Technical Conferences because of connectivity issues of all parties
- Lack of Manpower – We believe that an additional staff will be of great help to us with some of the aforementioned issues.
3 Photo Documentations:
Figure 1. Service of Cease and Desist Order to DPWH Batangas
Figure 2. Assistance to DENR Legal Service
Figure 3. Technical Conference
Figure 4. e-TechCon