BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) underscored it is inclined to strictly implement the provisions of existing laws, rules and regulations governing the prohibition of piggeries in highly urbanized cities to help significantly reduce the pollutants in various water systems in the city.
EMB-CAR regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo said there was an earlier agreement reached by agency officials and over 200 piggery owners in Baguio City and La Trinidad for latter to install the required septic tanks in their piggeries to prevent the wanton discharge of animal waste to creeks and other major river systems highly polluting them and significantly affecting the quality of water in the various bodies of water in urban centers.
Under the previous agreement reached by the EMB-CAR and the piggery owners, piggery owners situated near bodies of water found directly discharging their waste water to creeks and rivers were required to install the required septic tanks and for them to take care of only 4 heads of pigs side and were given reasonable time to remove their piggeries in the said areas, while those whose piggeries are located at least 500 meters away from waterways are also mandated to comply with the same regulations and will be given a maximum of 3 years to exist before ceasing their operations.
“We understand that livestock raising is major source of livelihood of a number of residents but the piggery owners must understand that we have existing policies prohibiting the presence of piggeries in urban centers, especially highly urbanized cities, that is why we are simply implementing the said policy,” Digamo stressed.
The EMB-CAR official pointed out it was discovered one of the identified pollutants of the Balili and Bued rivers is the animal waste from existing piggeries in several barangays in the city, thus, the agency, in coordination with the local government, was constrained to implement the existing policy against the presence of piggeries in residential areas to prevent the worsening quality of water in the different waterways.
Further, he also admitted that human waste, because of sewer lines that directly discharge household waste to the different bodies of water, was also identified as one of the pollutants of rivers and creeks, thus, the need for an intensified campaign to make sure that households have their own septic tanks to prevent the unscrupulous discharge of waste water to the different bodies of water and reduce the pollution in the waterways.
Digamo appealed to the affected piggery owners not to use the issue for political purposes because concerned government agencies and the local government are simply implementing existing policies that prohibit the presence of piggeries in urban centers and that piggery owners should be grateful to the agency because they were still given a timeframe to dispose their current livestock so that they will not incur heavy losses.
He claimed that EMB-CAR personnel and designated employees of the local government will continue monitoring the presence of piggeries in the different barangays and aggressively remind owners of the policies that prohibit the presence of piggeries in urban areas and for them to look for other suitable locations for the put up of their piggeries.
By Dexter A. See