PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has floated a proposal to his Cabinet to crack down on plastic pollution after making a similar approach to his fellow regional leaders, officials said.

Mr. Duterte brought up his proposal at the Wednesday Cabinet meeting, during which participants heard a presentation from the Natural Resources Development Corp. (NRDC) on the pollution problem.

After hearing the NRDC report, “the President floated the idea to ban the use of plastics, which according to him would require legislative action,” Palace Spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement Thursday.

Mr. Panelo said that upon hearing the presentation, President Rodrigo R. Duterte “floated” the idea of banning the use of plastics but it will need to be legislated.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters that a plastic ban proposal is still under discussion with no policy action yet.

“The President has become more conscious of climate change. (Before) he was not so concerned. (NRDC CEO Frances Veronica R. Victoria) presented on plastics… there’s so much plastic waste in Manila Bay,” Mr. Pernia said.

NRDC is a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) attached to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The House of Representatives is currently discussing House Bill No. 8692, or the proposed Ban on Single-use Plastic Products Act.

The bill’s proposed ban covers plastic packaging, such as grocery bags, food packaging and containers, water bottles, straws, cups, and sachets.

The counterpart bill in he Senate is Senate Bill No. 40, which if passed will become the Single-Use Plastics Regulation and Management Act of 2019.

Mr. Duterte called on fellow leaders during last week’s 35th ASEAN Summit to uphold “environmental sustainability and protect biodiversity” in the region, in particular preventing more marine debris from pollute the region’s waters. — Gillian M. Cortez and Beatrice M. Laforga