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Better Air Quality (BAQ) 2008
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World Bank Awards Grant to Partnership for Clean Air to Operationalize the Citizen's Suit
By Glynda Bathan , CAI-Asia Local Network Coordinator

The World Bank has awarded the Partnership for Clean Air, Inc. (PCA) in the Philippines a grant of P480,000 (about US$10,000) to support the project on "Operationalizing the Citizen's Suit of the Clean Air Act." The project seeks to develop a mechanism for empowerment of civil society to use the citizen suit provision of the Philippine Clean Air Act. The project is expected to be completed by 31 December 2007. This grant is made as part of the 2007 Small Grants Program.

The citizen suit provision states that "For purposes of enforcing the provisions of this Act or its implementing rules and regulations, any citizen may file an appropriate civil, criminal or administrative action in the proper courts against: (a) Any person who violates or fails to comply with the provisions of this Act or its implementing rules and regulations; or (b) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources or other implementing agencies with respect to orders, rules and regulations issued inconsistent with this Act; and/or (c) Any public officer who willfully or grossly neglects the performance of an act specifically enjoined as a duty by this Act or its implementing rules and regulations; or abuses his authority in the performance of his duty; or, in any manner, improperly performs his duties under this Act or its implementing rules and regulations: Provided, however, That no suit can be filed until thirty-day (30) notice has been taken thereon."

At the end of the project, a copy of a draft Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Citizen’s Suit Provision shall be approved by the Department of Transportation and Communication. In addition, at least 50 pilot cases of reported smoke-belching vehicles shall have undergone the mechanisms of Citizen’s Suit developed by the project. A complete database of entries reported by civil society, number of Notices to Sue handed out by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the national association of lawyers in the Philippines, and number of cases filed by IBP (including status) shall be part of the project completion report. Promotional materials will be printed and distributed to program partners. Educational primers will be printed to increase awareness of the public, especially those reported by citizens, on the health and environmental impact of air pollution from each specified sources (mobile, stationary or area). These materials will also be sent to reported cases as attachment to the Notice to Sue served by volunteer lawyers of the IBP. The results of the project, especially the mechanisms which will be detailed in the Implementing Rules and Regulations, shall be continuously disseminated by the Partnership for Clean Air and supporting organizations in training, workshops, conferences and fora, whenever possible.

PCA is a multi-stakeholder network which promotes better air quality management in the Philippines. It evolved from the Lead-Free Coalition, then the Coalition for Cleaner Fuels. Building on the success of a multisectoral co-opting strategy, PCA was established in 2001 and incorporated as a non-stock, non-profit organization in the Philippines in 2003. PCA is the local network of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) in the Philippines.

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