BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) disclosed that all the 77 local government units in the region formulated their own 10-year solid waste management plans as initial compliance to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
EMB-CAR regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo claimed that the 75 municipalities and 2 cities initially complied with the provisions of the law on solid waste management but the implementation of the projects detailed in their plans is another matter they must contend with as the agency will stringently monitor implementation the plan of these local governments.
Of the local governments in the region, the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) approved 20 solid waste management plans, conditionally approved 19 plans, is conducting review of 28 plans and returned 10 plans to the concerned local governments for possible revision to conform with prevailing standards on solid waste management.
Of the 20 approved 10-year solid waste management plans, six local governments were in Abra, namely, Tineg, Bangued, Dangla, La Paz, Licuan-Baay and San Juan; all 7 towns of Apayao, namely, Conner, Calanasan, Flora, Kabugao, Luna, Pudtol and Sta. Marcela; 3 are in Benguet, particularly Baguio City, La Trinidad and Mankayan; 3 in Ifugao, namely, Mayoyao, Lamut and Banaue and 1 in Kalinga while no local government in Mountain Province has an approved solid waste plan.
For the local governments that were issued conditional approval, the EMB-CAR official explained there are some minor adjustments to be done by the concerned local governments in compliance to the stipulations of the law while those plans that were returned will have to be assessed and evaluated by the local government to incorporate the recommendations of the Commission.
Under the law, all local governments are mandated to close the operation of their open dump facilities and replace them with environmentally-friendly disposal facilities such as controlled dump sites, engineered sanitary landfills for the protection of the health of the people and the preservation of the state of the environment.
Digamo is grateful to all the local officials in the region for painstakingly working together in the crafting of their 10-year solid waste management plans because all of them can be charged before the Ombudsman if they do not adopt such mandatory plan and work for the realization of the identified interventions that will effectively and efficiently address their solid waste disposal concerns.
He claimed that the 10-year grace period for local governments to comply with the submission of their 10-year solid waste disposal plans have lapsed over a decade ago and local governments should now be implementing projects contained in their plans for the benefit of a safer environment and guaranteed better health for their constituents.
By Dexter A. See