ITOGON, Benguet– Mayor Victorio Palangdan said the proposed conversion of Benguet Corporation’s Antamok open pit site to an engineered sanitary landfill (ESL) with a waste-to-energy component will have to pass through lawful processes pursuant to the provisions of environmental and solid waste management laws, rules and regulations.
The local chief executive clarified that it was clear that the memorandum of agreement that he signed with BC management and its partner Goldrich Natural Exploration and Development Inc., and Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan was for the company and its partner to start processing the pertinent documents with the concerned government agencies for the conversion of the open pit site into a landfill area.
“We have to clarify the disinformation being done by some quarters in the social media that we made the municipality as a garbage disposal area which is actually not true. We have some concerns that must be included in the agreement to make sure that we have available safety nets for the protection of our constituents from potential impacts of the waste disposal facility,” Palangdan stressed.
He claimed Itogon should not be charged when disposing its generated waste to the solid waste disposal plant that will be established and that the local government should be entitled to a share of the tipping fees to be paid by those interested to dump their garbage in the said facility in the future.
According to him, BC and its development partner will first have to secure clearance from the Environmental Management Bureau whether or not its Antamok open site is suitable for the said facility to help solve the garbage disposal concerns of Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay.
Palangdan claimed the municipal council refused to confirm the memorandum of agreement he entered with the company and its development partner because of the absence of pertinent provisions that will guarantee their free disposal of waste and the share of the local government from the tipping fees that will be collected by the private developer once the facility becomes operational.
On his part, lawyer Froilan Roger Lawilao, BC administration department manager, disclosed the issues raised by Mayor Palangdan are valid and will be incorporated in the future detailed agreement that will be entered into by the same parties because the earlier agreement signed will be used for the processing of the pertinent documents required for the realization of the project, a laudable one that will put an end to the garbage disposal issues of the involved local governments.
Lawilao added all concerned stakeholders will be consulted relative to the project because the company recognizes the importance of their inputs in improving the status of the project.
Palangdan agreed to the fact that there is really a need for the put up of the appropriate solid waste disposal facilities by concerned local governments to avoid the filing of charges against concerned officials for their non-compliance with the provisions of the law.