September 7, 2018 --- Frontline communities from various mining, coal and waste districts in the Philippines gathered last Friday to meet with Department of Health (DOH) in an aim to revive the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in light of the influx of environmentally-critical projects in the country.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), HIA is a means for determining the potential and lived health impacts of (1) public policies and (2) development projects in a wide array of sectors. It uses qualitative, quantitative and/or participatory techniques that can provide evidence-based recommendations to decision-makers in creating alternatives that protect and promote health.
In 1997, a Framework and Guidelines on Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) was released as a DOH tool to be able to participate in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Environmental Impact Assessment or EIA (which is supposedly another requirement for projects to be put up) through a MOA.
But until now, the HIA is under discussion between the two agencies for there is no policy or law that mandates it -- thus the objective of its reactivation.
Workers unload coal from a truck into a stock field in Catanduanes.
PHOTO COURTESY OF REUTERS
More than the health of the environment, the public both in the nearby communities and those working in the plants are also heavily affected by the waste, emissions and toxics coming from these critical projects.
Community Leader from Limay Concerned Citizens Inc. (LICCI) sharing their experience during the community scoping conducted by DOH in Limay, Bataan
Dr. Emerito Faraon, A/Dean Academic Affairs and College Information Officer, College of Public Health, UP Manila; delivering a solidarity message in behalf of CPH and discussed the role of academic institutions in the revival of the HIA
At the end of the forum, community leaders along with DOH and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Asia pledged to continue engaging DENR and other agencies for the restoration and reinforcement of the HIA in order to ultimately protect public and planetary health.
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