LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo said the managements of both a hospital and a kidney center were already issued the mandatory notices of violation initially for violation of the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 6969 or the Toxic Substance, Nuclear and Hazardous Waste Disposal Act while assessment is being still undertaken whether or not the said illegally disposed medical waste contaminated a body of water which could aggravate the charges filed against the owners of the health facilities because of the inclusion of the violation of the provisions of RA 9285 or the Philippine clean Water Act.
“We want to send a clear message that we mean business in the implementation of environmental laws, rules and regulations. I am not from this region that is why I will strictly implement existing rules and regulations to the fullest without fear or favor so that local residents will be forced to love caring for the environment more than I should do because they are the ones who will enjoy a good state of environment,” Digamo stressed.
Initially, concerned residents of Camp 7 reported to personnel of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) the presence of an alleged dumped salvage victim in their midst by still unidentified individuals.
However, the EMB-CAR official narrated that upon verification, probers found out that the dumped alleged salvage victim turned out to be medical waste from a La Trinidad-based health facility because of the presence of names attached on the various medical instruments which were already used.
On the other hand, concerned residents of Atok town also reported to the local government and police authorities the presence of alleged illegally dumped waste in one of the ridges in their place and upon validation, the dumped waste turned out to beg untreated medical waste from the similar health facility and a Baguio-based kidney center.
During the visitation conducted by EMB-CAR personnel to the health facilities, Digamo disclosed that his personnel found that the names of patients on the boards of the said facilities were the same names marked as owners of the used medical instruments found by residents in the several sites in Baguio City and Atok town that warranted the issuance of the notice of violation against the management of the said facilities.
According to him, the said health facilities were not allegedly able to commission the services of a toxic substance hauler to ferry the generated medical waste to the accredited toxic substance disposal facility in Region III which must also be investigated properly to ascertain where the said facilities had been dumping their medical waste.
Digamo disclosed the managements of the two health facilities will be imposed fines up to P50,000 per violation of existing environmental laws, rules and regulations and depending on the duration of the violations that will be uncovered during the course of the investigation on how the health facilities were able to dispose of their medical waste even without an accredited toxic substance hauler from the start of their operations.
He pointed out that the merits of the argument of the health facilities will be weighed during the conduct of the technical conference scheduled for the said purpose.