Ombudsman’s probe underway on illegal dumpsites in Albay
An in-depth fact-finding investigation by the Environmental Ombudsman is underway to probe the illegal dumpsites in Albay.
In a statement on Thursday, the Office of the Ombudsman said its investigators from the Environmental Ombudsman Program has launched a fact-finding investigation on the dumpsites in the Albay towns of Camalig, Guinobatan, Tiwi, Daraga, Polangui and Tabaco City.
The Ombudsman ordered the officials to attend a series of clarificatory hearings which were conducted on October 10 to 12 in Legazpi City.
The Environmental Ombudsman’s fact-finding investigation was launched as part of the Ombudsman’s campaign to ensure compliance of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
The law prohibits the operation of open dumpsites.
Earlier, the Environmental Ombudsman in May closed down three open dumpsites in the municipalities of Hindang and Bato in Leyte, and the municipality of Catarman in the Northern Samar.
In August, the Environmental Ombudsman launched a fact-finding investigation on 40 local officials in Silang, General Trias, and Kawit in connection with their operation of open dumpsites.
The Environmental Ombudsman Team headed by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera has the mandate of investigating complaints against any environmental protection official and employee, and recommend penalties or filing of criminal charges.
Since February, the Ombudsman has started its probe of around 600 local government officials throughout the country over illegal dump sites and other violations of the solid waste management act.
Mosquera earlier said the officials may also be held liable for criminal charges of graft, violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Local Government Code, among others.
They also face administrative charges before the Ombudsman for gross neglect of duty that may result in their dismissal from service, forfeiture of benefits and perpetual disqualification from public office, Mosquera added.
According to R.A. 9003, “no dump sites shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including LGUs (local government units), which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, be allowed after the effectivity of this Act, every LGU shall convert its open dumps to controlled dumps.”/rga
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