QUEZON CITY, Philippines – A social development and advocacy network is aiming for a legislative path that will provide Mother Nature its own legal rights and be recognized through a law.

Recognizing ‘Rights of Nature’ means that human activities and development must not interfere with the ability of ecosystems to absorb their effects, to regenerate their natural capacities, to thrive and evolve, and requires that those responsible, including corporate actors, be held fully accountable for negative impacts on Earth systems.

Rights of Nature law, is being pushed primarily by Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI), together with NASSA/Caritas Philippines, the development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The group had presented their draft bill during a consultation meeting with other environmental groups on January 25 in Quezon City.

Although the draft bill is still shaping, the group have said that there were positive responses from their previous consultations with other sectoral groups.

“This has been done by other countries, in Ecuador and Bolivia, so this is not a totally a distant concept but rather we see it as a chance that we could also emulate,” PMPI National Coordinator, Yolanda Esguerra said.

Ecuador was the first country to institute rights of nature into their constitution while Bolivia crafted a national law that also safeguards their Mother Nature.

“To be honest, this a long shot campaign especially that here in the Philippines, nature and its natural resources are seen as an output to our economic indicators, but we will welcome the challenge,” Esguerra added.

PMPI also hopes that this coming 2019 midterm elections, candidates could put emphasis on the situation of Philippine environment into their political agenda.