BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) warned local officials regionwide that they can be imposed a fine of up to P1 million or they could be imprisoned for up to six years once they continue to disregard their mandated compliance to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, specifically the closure of open dumpsites and the establishment of environmentally acceptable solid disposal facilities.
Reynaldo S. Digamo, EMB-CAR regional director, said those local officials who will be charged by the agency will not only be limited to the local chief executives but also include the members of the city or municipal councils and appointed officials such as the municipal or city environment and natural resources officer and others who are directly involved in the management of solid waste.
Under the pertinent provisions of RA 9003, local officials who will be found to have neglected their duties and responsibilities in solid waste management could be either fined a maximum of P1 million or imprisoned for a maximum of 6 years or both at the discretion of the court.
“We want local officials to unite and work for the crafting of their solid waste management plans that will embody their direction in addressing the solid waste concerns in their respective areas of jurisdiction. We want our local officials to be aggressive in finding solutions to their solid waste concerns and not for them to be fence sitters when it comes to finding solutions to their solid waste problems,” Digamo stressed.
The EMB-CAR official called on local officials not to politicize the issue on solid waste management because what matters is the preservation and protection of the state of the environment and the promotion of the health of their constituents that is why there should be a direction in their campaign to find the appropriate environmentally acceptable solution to their solid waste concerns.
According to him, the EMB-CAR will be aggressive in evaluating, validating and monitoring the compliance of local governments to the closure of their open dumpsites and the the presence of environmentally acceptable solutions to their solid waste problems and the agency will not hesitate in initiating the filing of appropriate charges against elective and appointive officials who reportedly neglected their duties in finding solutions to their solid waste concerns.
Digamo opined that hauling could be a stop gap solution in addressing the solid waste disposal concerns of local governments but there should be efforts by the local officials to find other practical and doable solutions to the said matter to avoid draining the resources of the local government concerned.
He claimed the EMB-CAR is willing to extend technical assistance to local governments who seek their help in crafting solid waste plans and the putting in place of the appropriate environmentally acceptable technology for solid waste disposal./By Dexter A. See