Palace releases P80M to repair Baguio dumpPhilippine Daily Inquirer
BAGUIO CITY—The government released P80 million this week to help the city government repair a decommissioned dump that burst during heavy rains accompanying Typhoon “Mina” last year, spilling trash over a hillside community along Asin Road here, Baguio Rep. Bernardo Vergara said on Friday.
Vergara said the amount would go to the construction of a new retaining wall that would keep the city’s garbage in place before this year’s rainy season begins.
“Maybe [the repairs will] convince Benguet and La Union that we are not a threat to the environment,” Vergara said.
The city government is the subject of a Jan. 17 temporary environmental protection order (Tepo) that was issued by the Supreme Court, while the Court of Appeals hears evidence over charges that the city dump remains an environmental threat to the waterways of Tuba, Benguet province, and Aringay, La Union province.
Vergara said the city government asked President Aquino to release P100 million last year to finance a new engineering plan for containing the remaining garbage at the Irisan dump. The plan was drawn up by two Baguio universities, the city engineering office and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
But the funds meant for the dump’s rehabilitation was realigned to assist victims of flash floods in Northern Mindanao last year, he said.
Vergara said he spent another three months to lobby for the Irisan project, which was examined again by the DPWH and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“Two weeks ago, I spoke to [Budget Secretary Florencio] Abad who told me they could not afford the full P100 million. This week, DBM released the allotment advise so Baguio can now start repairing that dump,” he said.
The writ of kalikasan complaint was filed last year by Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan and National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto Cabrera in behalf of a Tuba community that endured the stench of garbage that littered their neighborhood for months until the city government completed cleanup operations early this year.
Aringay Vice Mayor Eric Sibuma and other town officials joined the suit.
The Tepo prevents Baguio from using the dump. The facility was closed in 2008 due to pressure from residents who believed it could no longer hold more garbage, said Cordelia Lacsamana, city environment officer.
A 10-year rehabilitation plan for the Irisan dump intends to convert the mountain of trash into an ecological park, she said.
Irisan hosts two machines that convert organic waste into powdered fertilizer.
The dump also served as a temporary sorting and storage area for plastic and inorganic wastes before these were shipped out to a landfill in Tarlac province.
The Tepo forced the city government to relocate its temporary sorting area.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the city government was still constrained by the absence of land that would be appropriate for a landfill, although it had offered to join a solid waste management project being developed by the Benguet government.
Slow progress in segregating waste from the neighborhoods and from the city market also plagues Baguio’s efforts to cope with its garbage collection. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon