BAGUIO CITY—The Court of Appeals (CA) has directed officials of Bontoc, Mt. Province, to decommission a riverside dump within six months to address an environment complaint filed against the town by neighboring Kalinga for polluting Chico River.
The Kalinga Anti-Pollution Action Group (Kapag) asked the court last year to order Bontoc to close the Toytoyokan Lagangew dump in Barangay (village) Caluttit, which is about 100 meters from Chico River. Only a concrete barrier stands between the dump and the river.
Bontoc and Kalinga began negotiating a settlement in January after the CA issued a writ of kalikasan against Bontoc on Oct. 17 last year.
Chico River is a major Cordillera river system that starts from Mt. Data in Mt. Province and traverses the towns of Bauko, Sabangan and Bontoc, as well as communities in the Kalinga towns of Tinglayan and Pasil, and the capital Tabuk City. Kalinga is a rice producing province that relies on the river for irrigation.
Clarence Baguilat, Cordillera director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said the CA’s Feb. 22 resolution, which he received last week, approved a consent decree affirmed by the Bontoc government and Kapag on Feb. 12.
A consent decree is a settlement agreement overseen by the court that would bind Bontoc to fulfill a mutually agreed set of actions to repair or mitigate the impact of its dump on the Chico River ecology.
The decree requires Bontoc to close the dump, to surround it with a larger retaining wall and to convert the facility into a green area.
It also requires the DENR to help Bontoc in developing an ecological sanitary landfill and improve its solid waste management system, including its daily waste segregation and collection. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon