The two-day deliberations for the 10-year garbage disposal plan conducted by National Solid Waste Management Board (NSWMB) started yesterday with the first batch of 14 local government units (LGUs) lining up for approval.
Chaired by Romeo Hidalgo, a nine-member NSWMD panel examined each proposal for deficiencies and recommended revisions in accordance with Republic Act 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law.
Under the law, LGUs are required to replace open dumpsites with sanitary landfills and material recovery or recycling facilities. Non-compliance is a ground for filing of charges against LGU chief executives with perpetual disqualification from office as part of the penalty.
LGUs lining up to present their plans are Tabuelan, Boljoon, San Remigio, Cordova, Tudela, Sogod, Madridejos, Carmen, Alegria, Pinamungajan, San Francisco, Camotes, Ronda, Consolacion and Ginatilan.
As of press time yesterday, Tabuelan, Boljoon and San Remigio finished their presentation.
Noel Felongco, undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said that during the series of evaluation conducted nationwide, he noted that LGUs are able to craft a sound plan, but the problem lies in the implementation.
“Magaling tayong magplano. Pero ang importante ma-implement rin natin,” Felongco said.
The deliberation centered on benchmarking the towns’ garbage volume collection and the efficacy of their projects in waste disposal and management in line with the standards set by RA 9003.
The panel also scrutinized whether LGUs have strictly enforced garbage segregation and waste collection scheme.
Before they will issue a decision, the NSWMB will discuss first the plan of each LGU with members of the panel in the central office in Manila.
As a sideline comment, Rodel Bontuyan, environment specialist of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), asked the panel to help the province lobby to Congress for the creation of its counterpart office in all towns and cities.
“With the heaping environmental problems, all towns and cities under the province must have an environment office which can immediately attend to its concerns,” he said.
To compel the towns and cities, Bontuyan stressed that an amendment is needed in the Local Government Code that will make the creation of such office compulsory to all LGUs.
Moreover, Bontuyan informed the NSWMB that the province has initially allocated P40 million in its Annual Investment Plan next year to help LGUs comply with RA 9003.
Since 2015, the Capitol has extended at least P500,000 in financial assistance to each town and city for the construction of their materials recovery facility.
The deliberation, which started yesterday and organized by the Provincial Solid Waste Management Board, was attended by some chief executives including San Remigio Mayor Mariano Martinez, Cordova Mayor Techie Sitoy-Cho, Tudela Mayor Erwin Yu, Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, and San Francisco, Camotes Island Vice Mayor Al Arquillano.