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MMDA, Ombudsman team up vs execs who let esteros stink

/ 02:38 AM February 29, 2016
FRUSTRATING The MMDA will run after local officials who allow waterways to be clogged with trash despite repeated cleanup drives by the agency. One of the worst examples is Estero de Magdalena in Sta. Cruz, Manila, shown here in a photo taken in January 2013.  EDWIN BELLOSILLO

FRUSTRATING The MMDA will run after local officials who allow waterways to be clogged with trash despite repeated cleanup drives by the agency. One of the worst examples is Estero de Magdalena in Sta. Cruz, Manila, shown here in a photo taken in January 2013. EDWIN BELLOSILLO

ADDING legal muscle to its yearly campaign to rid creeks and esteros of trash, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will ask for the Office of the Ombudsman’s help in suing barangay officials who allow the waterways to be polluted again after repeated cleanups by the MMDA.

“After cleaning up esteros through our Estero Blitz program, we will take photos of these waterways and send these to the Ombudsman,” MMDA chair Emerson Carlos said Sunday on the agency’s weekly radio program.

Should the MMDA find those waterways again clogged with garbage, it will report this to the Ombudsman and “it will up to that office to determine the liability of the negligent barangay officials,” Carlos said.

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The MMDA official announced the tie-up weeks after 50 mayors, 50 vice mayors and about 500 other local officials across the country were charged in the Office of the Ombudsman for allowing open dumps in their localities.

The complaints were filed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission against the local officials who allegedly did not comply with the waste management standards under Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

The MMDA chair noted that his agency had repeatedly conducted cleanup drives in various esteros in Metro Manila throughout the year but the same waterways would again stink and turn stagnant with garbage just a few days or weeks later.

MMDA flood control office chief Baltazar Melgar added that the esteros they cleaned up last year were again full of garbage because of the waste coming from informal settler families living along the banks.

Clogged esteros prevent pumping stations from functioning properly, thus causing flash floods in nearby neighborhoods and streets, he said.

The MMDA is once again initiating summertime cleanups on Tuesday, starting at Estero de Kabulusan and Estero de Quiapo in Manila, and the waterways in Pasay City. Parallel activities will also be conducted in various public markets, a major generator of solid waste.

“We have 273 esteros in Metro Manila and we will make sure that we will be able to clean them especially those in flood-prone areas,” Melgar said, adding that the campaign also seeks to eliminate breeding areas for disease-carrying mosquitos.

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TAGS: Cleanup Drives, esteros, Metro Manila Development Authority, MMDA, Office of the Ombudsman, Pollution
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