BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) disclosed the proposed sites of the engineered sanitary landfill (ESL) and the waste-to-energy (WTE) facility within portions of the Antamok open pit are feasible pursuant to the standards prescribed by existing laws, rules and regulations.
Reynaldo S. Digamo, EMB-CAR regional director, said the previous sites that have been identified as the sites for the ESL and WTE projects of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) in the Camote Vein of the former open site was also found to be feasible but there were initial problems with the residents, thus, the area was subsequently relocated to the former site of the Benguet Corporation’s millsite.
Earlier, Benguet Corporation, the municipal government of Itogon and the Baguio City government entered into a tripartite agreement last year for the use of the mining company’s Antamok open pit site for the put up of a sanitary landfill with WTE facility through a private partner, Goldrich Natural Explorations and Development, Inc..
“The proposed sites for the sanitary landfill with WTE plant are all feasible and it will now be up to the proponents to complete the required documents for the issuance of the required permits so that the BLISTT local governments can have a permanent solution to their garbage disposal problems,” Digamo stressed.
BC’s partner is obliged to select its industrial partner in providing the WTE component of the project to maximize the utilization of the generated waste in lowering the cost of electricity in the host communities.
Digamo explained that the proponents of the ESL and WTE will be responsible for the processing of the pertinent documents for the issuance of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and other necessary permits required by concerned government agencies and the local government for the eventual operation of the garbage disposal facility.
The EMB-CAR official claimed that their role in the project is simply to process the required ECC of the project and to monitor the compliance of the proponent to sound environmental practices.
According to him, once the ESL and WTE will be operational, Baguio City and the other nearby local governments will simply be customers of BC’s private partner in the implementation of the project.
However, Digamo claimed one of the pressing issues that must be addressed by the project proponents will be the segregation of the proposed site of the ESL and WTE from the Lower Agno watershed reservation as the area for the project is a titled property of the mining company, thus, the concerned local governments must request for exemption from the policy of the National Solid Waste Commission (NSWMC) prohibiting watershed reservations from being used as sites for the put up of solid waste disposal facilities.
He said the matter had already been brought to the attention of NSWMC officials when they visited the city several months ago, thus, the need to follow up the matter for the eventual realization of the project.
By Dexter A. See