Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu proudly announced that the Philippines has always been in full compliance with the Montreal Protocol since it ratified in 1991 the global agreement to protect the ozone layer from chemicals referred to as ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

According to Cimatu, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is considered as one of the most successful multilateral environmental agreements in history because it enjoys the full support and cooperation of countries like the Philippines.

“The Montreal Protocol has 197 state signatories, and I can say that the Montreal Protocol owes its success to countries like the Philippines, that for three decades, has been consistently cooperative and compliant to the targets and schedules it set to phase out ODS around the world,” Cimatu said in his opening message, which read by Undersecretary Jonas Leones during the annual Technical Forum on the Promotion of Alternative Substances and Natural Refrigerants for Ozone Layer and Climate Protection held in Quezon City last Friday.

In 1987, the Philippines joined the rest of the world in adopting the landmark global agreement to protect the ozone layer by stopping the production and consumption of ODS. Four years later, in 1991, the country successfully completed the ratification of the Montreal Protocol.

Cimatu said that from 1991 to 2010, the country has fulfilled its commitment of phasing out the first batch or group of ODS in the manufacturing and servicing sectors.

In 1996, the Philippines phased out carbon tetrachloride or CTC and methyl chloroform. After three years, it ended the production and consumption of halon, a chemical compound formerly used in firefighting.

Also in 1999, the country phased out chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) variants—CFC-13, CFC-114, CFC-115—used in various industries as refrigerant, propellant, solvent and cleaning agent.

Appliances, such as refrigerators and airconditioners, using CFC-11 were totally banned in 2005. Non-quarantine pre-shipment methyl bromide was phased out in 2009, while cars having airconditioners with CFC-12 were prohibited to be registered since January 2010.

Cimatu said the Philippines is currently focused on phasing out the supposed last batch or group of ODS—the hydrochlorofluorocarbons or HCFCs, which phaseout schedule spans for 27 years from 2013 to 2040.

“Nevertheless, the country has made good with its implementation and has complied with the 10 percent import reduction since 2015, a target set to be achieved up to year 2019,” Cimatu said.

Every year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources—through its Environmental Management Bureau—organizes a technical forum to give stakeholders and partners updates on the latest developments in the Montreal Protocol.

The annual forum, held recently in observation of International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, also serves as a venue to learn the status of the country’s implementation of the ODS Phaseout Program.

During the forum, experts on the field presented the different alternatives to HCFC use, particularly in refrigeration, airconditioning, foam blowing, fire suppression and servicing.

There was also discussion on the significant development in the Montreal Protocol, which is the Kigali Amendment that was adopted by the parties to the original protocol in 2016 in the African state of Rwanda.

The Kigali Amendment aims to bring about a global phase down of poweful greenhouse gases hydroflourocarbons or HFCs, which could also mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. ###