Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid has filed Senate Bill 1846 which aims to establish an “Electronics Donation and Recycling Program” nationwide where manufacturers and retailers of electronic gadgets will be mandated to set up donation and recycling booths in their sales outlets and service centers.
With the launching of new models of phones, laptops, tablets and other electronic gadgets every year, Lapid said it is expected that thousand if not millions of new gadgets flood the market on an annual basis. Users frequently dispose of their old gadgets for brand-new units, which in turn, contribute to the electronic waste problem in the country, he noted.
In a study conducted by engineers from the University of the Philippines, it was found out that by 2021 the number of discarded phones will hit over 24.9 million, with respondents saying that they were replacing phones at a rate of once every one to two years.
“Hindi natin masisisi ang ating mga kababayan kung gugustuhin nilang palitan ng bago ang kanilang mga gadget kahit hindi pa ito sira, lalo kung may pambili naman sila. Pero kung tutuusin ang mga lumang gadget gaya ng mobile phones at laptop, hindi naman kailangan itapon. Pwede pa itong ipamigay dahil marami pa ang pwedeng makinabang dito lalo sa panahong ito. Maraming mga estudyante at guro ang walang magamit na cellphone o computer habang nasa online classes tayo dahil sa pandemya,” Lapid said.
The lawmaker said the apparent wastage in the disposal of still usable gadgets on one hand, and the lack of electronic gadgets among students from poor and low-income households on the other, serve as the primary motivation for the proposed measure.
Lapid said old and used gadgets can still carry out its purpose in families and individuals in need of these things, especially with the shift to remote learning modalities for school year 2020-2021 due to the pandemic.
A 2020 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) revealed that only 69% of poor households have mobile phones, while only 1% and 6% of poor and low-income families have computers, respectively. In the National Capital Region alone, around 648,405 public school students lack gadgets. This, while 13% of teachers have no laptops or computers at home based on the recent survey of the Department of Education (DepEd).
“Nag-aalala tayo na ang kawalan ng gadget kasama na ang problema sa Internet sa bansa ay maaring maging dahilan para di na lamang tumuloy sa pag-aaral ang ating mga kabataan sa panahong ito ng pandemya kung saan pinatutupad ang distance learning. Maiibsan sana ang kawalang ito ng ating mga mag-aaral kung may magdodonate lamang ng kanilang lumang gadget na gumagana pa naman. Sa halip na itapon, sigurado akong mas gugustuhin ng ating mga kababayan na ibigay na lamang ang kanilang mga gadget na hindi naman na nila gagamitin,” Lapid noted.
Under the Electronics Donation and Recycling Program, there will be donation and recycling booths nationwide which will be set up in sales outlets, stores, and service centers of electronic gadgets. For collected gadgets which are intended for donation, the recipient shall be the Department of Education for distribution to poor students.
Meanwhile, for collected gadgets which are intended for recycling, such will be turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-accredied facilities capable of recycling electronic gadgets and its components.
Lapid concluded, “Dalawang mahalagang layunin ang magagampanan ng panukalang ito– protektahan ang ating kalikasan sa pamamagitan ng pagbawas sa pagtapon ng mga lumang electronic devices habang malaking tulong ang inaasahang matatanggap ng mga kapos-palad nating mga estudyante mula sa donasyong gadgets ng ating mga kababayang hangad ding makatulong sa panahong ito ng matinding pagsubok.”