BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to first segregate alienable and disposable lands suitable for the put up of solid waste disposal facilities in the different parts of the country before awarding the said lands to qualified applicants.
The local chief executive explained the problem with the present situation in most parts of the country is that most of the alienable and disposable sites have already been awarded to individuals so there are no more areas left to be converted into solid waste disposal sites pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which is now the predicament of most local government units trying to locate suitable areas in their jurisdiction to put up their own solid waste projects.
“It is the DENR that knows the alienable and disposable lands in the different parts of the country that are suitable for the establishment of solid waste disposal sites because it is the agency that is in possession of the map of the country where the lands are specifically identified,” Domogan stressed.
He admitted most local governments in the different parts of the country are having a difficult time identifying lands in their areas of jurisdiction suitable for the put up of solid waste disposal projects to address garbage disposal problems considering the stringent rules and regulations being imposed by concerned government agencies for the said purpose.
According to him, most of the alienable and disposable lands were already awarded by the environment department to the individual applicants, thus, when the solid waste management law took effect, local governments have difficulty identifying available and suitable lands within their jurisdiction for remedies of solid waste disposal problems, thus, most of the local governments cannot comply with the put up of their supposed solid waste disposal sites that conform with the current standards.
RA 9003 mandates all local governments to immediately close the operations of their open dumpsites and replace the same with controlled dump facilities or engineered sanitary landfills to ensure the sustainable preservation and protection of the state of the environment and the health of the people living in the communities within rural and urban areas around the country.
The law further provided local officials of local governments not able to comply with the put up of their own controlled dump facilities or sanitary landfills within 10 years from its effectivity will be liable for administrative and criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman to be initiated by the DENR and its attached bureaus responsible for the preservation and protection of the environment.
Local officials who will be found liable for violation of the provisions of RA 9003 will be face the imposition of administrative fines that can go as high as P1 million and imprisonment that could reach up to 12 years depending on the gravity of the offense they have committed in their failure to adhere to the provisions of environmental laws, rules and regulations that were crafted for the said purpose.
By Dexter A. See