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Gill H. Boehringer, writings of A former Dean of Macquarie Law School, Sydney Australia; and, an inter-disciplinary scholar.

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Old 06-02-2013, 07:12 PM
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Default The Republic of the Philippines: Assessing the Laws Concerning the Environment and their Implementation

Professor Gill H. Boehringer[indent][indent]


Assessing the Laws Concerning the Environment and their Implementation


The Housing and Urban Land Use Regulatory Board (HULRB) of the Republic of the Philippines

Gill H. Boehringer

Urban environmental issues have not been much discussed in the Philippines (or most other countries), and often only after some disaster such as “ondoy” the destructive typhoon that struck Manila in 2009. And legal regulation to the extent it exists has, from my observation, been honoured greatly in the breach.

I will discuss some issues arising out of my own experience as a litigant before the HULRB. I have not done research on that institution, but I think it is well worth doing, perhaps for a law student or group.

There are some interesting frameworks in which the work of the HULRB can be considered. First, it was a development – like so much else – of the Marcos period, the “statebuilding” for a New Society which the late president said would be based on a more efficient technical-bureaucratic regime. An exploration of the specific forces involved in setting up this tribunal would be of interest, locating it within the reforms attempted and achieved – for better or worse – under the martial law/authoritarian regime. How does it fit?

Second, the establishment of the HULRB took place at the time of the incredible surge in property ‘development” which began the transformation of Manila into Metro Manila (more Marcos administrative efficiency?) with a skyline teeming with towers – residential as well as business – to compare with many metropolises across the globe. Surely the coincidence of these two developments was not just a coincidence (in the other sense of the word). (Time permitting I will briefly discuss the Green bans placed by Building Workers union to stop inappropriate “development“ in Sydney region – a movement ahead of its time, and once again going strong, if at a less grand scale).

At the time, across the western countries, for the most part, there was a movement toward informalism. Taking disputes – criminal and civil – out of the mainstream court system and placing them into tribunals and other fora of essentially administrative (or non-judicial) types, supposedly to provide cheap, quick substantive justice rather than legalistic formal procedures where rules were enforced, often regardless of fairness or justice. If we consider HULRB as a move to informalism in the area of property disputes – what was the result? Has it achieved its purpose? Indeed, what exactly were the aims of those (whoever they were) who pushed for its establishment)? Can it be seen as a positive procedure for those with out power/money?

And more specifically for our focus, has it any possible traction in the area of regulation of aspects of the environment?

Gill H. Boehringer is a retired professor of law and history from the Macquarie University in Australia.

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