Lack of political will and sufficient training for government officials are significant obstacles to environmental governance in the Philippines. To address this, environmental scientists and legal experts worked with the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct an assessment of environmental compliance in municipal areas off the Visayan Sea, and developed a plan to improve waste management near marine resources.


Law of Nature Foundation
Facebook / The Law of Nature Foundation

In the Phillipines, two obstacles hinder the implementation of the rule of law in the environmental arena:

  1. The lack of sufficient education and training for officials who administer and enforce environmental laws;
  2. A lack of political will on the part of public officials to execute laws that impose burdens on powerful economic interests. Underlying the lack of political will is the lack of public understanding of environmental problems and civic interest in holding the government accountable for addressing them.


Program Summary

The Law of Nature Foundation implemented a pilot program to assess environmental compliance in municipal areas off the Visayan Sea. The program was a public-private partnership conducted under the auspices of the Office of the Ombudsman, with support from the Law of Nature Foundation. The pilot program focused on two key areas: (1) management of waste and (2) management of marine resources. The assessment was conducted by personnel with scientific and legal expertise.


The local government's compliance to environmental law has increased considerably in all municipalities, which has directly influenced other outcomes. Firstly, the government’s compliance with the solid waste management law provided economic gains from the proceeds of recycled materials. Similarly, government's compliance with the Fisheries Code enhanced the productivity of the marine ecosystem. In addition, the project established various forms of cooperation between organizations and institutions for the implementation of the rule of law.


The Law of Nature Foundation established a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Office of the Ombudsman, which has the power to investigate local government officials. As a part of this MoC, the Office of Ombudsman established a special unit dedicated to addressing environmental issues. In addition, the Law of Nature Foundation partnered with numerous local universities, bar associations, non-governmental organizations, many of whom played an integral role in conducting municipal compliance assessments.

Program Details

East Asia & Pacific