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Promoting highland vegetable industry - Understanding the Writ of Kalikasan

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Understanding the Writ of Kalikasan The Supreme Court defines the Writ of Kalikasan as the “remedy available to a natural or juridical person, entity authorized by law, people's organization, non-govermental organization, or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any government agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or private individual or entity, involving environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property of inhabitants in two or more cities or provinces. Eco warriors consider the law as a new weapon in their fight against environmental destruction. Lawyers say the law is very practical as it paves the way for quick legal action on environmental cases and dispenses with extensive litigation. Based on the rules set by its framers, the high court will have to render judgment on petitions for a Writ of Kalikasan in 60 days . Here, regular courts can also grant a 72-hour temporary environment protection order (TEPO), similar to a regular restraining order, if the case is deemed a matter of “extreme urgency” wherein the petitioner faces “grave injustice and irreparable injury. ” The court may then convert the TEPO to a more permanent order or extend the status until after the environmental protection or rehabilitation is fully complied with. The SC says the rules are not all in favor of the petitioners as they also provide a recourse for defendants called “strategic lawsuits against public participation” or SLAPP. Both petitions for the issuance of the Writs of Kalikasan and Mandamus, according to the SC, are exempt from the payment of docket fees. Hence, with all these, the law becomes the cheapest and quickest way to correct environmental problems . Environmentalist-lawyers Antonio Oposa, Jr. and Gloria Estenzo Ramos of the Global Legal Action on Climate Change praised Chief Justice Reynato Puno and the entire Supreme Court for coming up with the law during their watch, describing such development in the nation's courts as a “first in the world.” March Fianza, The Baguio Reporter/NPT For comments, suggestions and inquiries,

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