Caloocan trash collectors accused of dumping garbage in front of school

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MANILA, Philippines — A waste hauler and its employees are in a stinky mess after they were caught dumping a fast-food restaurant’s trash in front of a school in Caloocan.

The city government warned that it would be tightly enforcing proper waste disposal in the area.

The Caloocan Department of Public Safety and Traffic Management (DPSTM) is preparing charges of illegal disposal in violation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act against Jerry Faustino Palma, reported to be the owner of the waste hauling company; driver Val Mosqueda; and his helper.

Jay Bernardo, head of the Caloocan North DPSTM, said in a phone interview that officers of Task Force Payatas were on patrol at 3 a.m. on Friday when they chanced upon Mosqueda and his still unidentified companion taking trash bags from a van and dumping these in front of the Deparo Elementary School in Caloocan North.

“Some of the bags were transparent and the apprehending officers saw that there were leftovers, food packaging and most importantly, receipts which indicated that the waste came from a restaurant in Lagro, Quezon City,” Bernardo said.

The two men were then arrested while their vehicle, still containing the garbage bags, was impounded. Bernardo said the two were supposed to be subjected to an inquest but they escaped after they were given permission to leave to fetch their superior.

The DPSTM, however, said it would push through with the filing of charges against the two.

Bernardo said that what happened was not an isolated incident, especially as the city government was tightening its garbage collection policy.

“We have caught five persons and impounded more than a dozen vehicles, including that AUV, an L300, a jeepney, several tricycles and a few pedicabs. We all caught them dumping trash [in different areas]. But it’s clear the place where they’re throwing the garbage is far from where they are actually from,” he said.

Asked why people would do such acts, Bernardo suggested at least two motives.

“We’ve observed that the previous administration was very lax about waste disposal. So people and businesses from outside of Caloocan take advantage of that and continue to dump garbage in our city,” he said.

The second theory he offered had political undertones. “We are also considering whether it could be an act of sabotage,” Bernardo said, adding that maybe the perpetrators wanted to destroy the reputation of the new city administration.

To further avoid illegal dumping and arrest the violators, Bernardo said the city government has launched several programs in a bid to clean up the city.

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