Want to construct a building? Plant a tree first

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 14) — Lawmakers are looking into passing a bill which will require those who wish to construct buildings to plant a tree first.

The House of Representatives signed House Bill 7373, or the "Green Building Act" on second reading. The bill requires the planting of trees inside the properties of residential, commercial, industrial and public establishments to help mitigate the effects of climate change in the country.

The measure states applicants of building permits must submit a Tree Planting Plan (TPP) in addition to other requirements imposed by local government units.

The plan indicates the total area of the project, number and species of trees to be planted and lay-out of areas for trees and flora.

There must be a ratio of at least one tree for every 500 square meters of commercial or industrial projects or one tree for every 250 square meters for housing development projects.

The TPP encourages the planting of indigenous species of trees, taking into account the location, climate, and topography of the area.

Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, principal author of the bill, said the country produces more carbon emissions than it is able to produce and replenish green resources.

"The continuous abuse of our forest reserves by big businesses does not help our cause either. With the passage of HB 7373, we are confident that we can effectively reduce the exploitation of our green resources," said Aglipay-Villar.

This comes on top of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), which is issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The ECC application includes which raw materials will be used and the manufacturing technology to be implemented.

Should the DENR approve the application, the ECC will be issued to those looking to build a property in the area. It certifies that the project will not have a negative impact on the environment.

If the bill is passed, the DENR, in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), shall issue the necessary implementing rules and regulations within 60 days.

Data from the World Bank shows the Philippines accounted for 1.055 metric tons of carbon emissions in 2014.

CNN Philippines intern Samantha Corrales contributed to this report.