Envi groups, solons to MMDA: Strictly implement solid waste management
MANILA, Philippines — Environment advocates and lawmakers from the House of Representatives have called on the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to strictly implement the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
Mother Earth Foundation Chair Sonia Mendoza, who was present during the House committee on Metro Manila development hearing on Thursday, suggested that enforcing Republic Act 9003 can solve the long-time trash problem of the capital region.
“We have a law on solid waste management authored by Senator Loren Legarda. It is very sad that it’s already 18 years and it has not been implemented to improve the garbage collection in Metro Manila and all over the country,” Mendoza told the committee.
“We have to implement strictly Republic Act 9003, and that’s what Mother Earth Foundation is doing in our model city,” she added.
According to her, their model city — San Fernando in Pampanga — has been nearly self-reliant in terms of managing waste through segregating and recycling. Budget intended for waste management also went down significantly.
“In our model, it has been ongoing for six years, from 12 percent the waste diversion in 2013, the waste diversion now is 81 percent. It means that 19 percent goes to the landfill,” Mendoza explained.
“It used to spend P70 million per year for waste management. When we had the program, it was down to P15 million per year,” she added.
During the hearing, committee chair and 2nd District Rep. Winston Castelo called out MMDA for being unable to rid Metro Manila streets of trash, despite its P1.77 billion budget for waste disposal in 2018.
MMDA said that in 2018, 56,052.37 cubic meters of trash was collected from Metro Manila cities.
Representatives from the agency said that preventing waste from being scattered around the streets and even in the waterways is the responsibility of local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila.
“‘With regards po dun sa uncollected waste, natatapon sa water areas and open space, that’s under the jurisdiction of the LGUs,” MMDA Engineer Emilio Llavor, who filled in for chairman Danilo Lim, said.
“The internal arrangement, the LGU is in charge with the collection and transport, MMDA is mandated to provide sufficient space for disposal,” he added.
Mendoza however noted that the garbage collection scheme in Metro Manila is also flawed, because garbage trucks roam from house to house. In San Fernando, garbage is collected per barangay.
“It should be decentralized, what Metro Manila is doing is a centralized system wherein the city trucks go around to collect the waste,” she noted.
“In our model, we do it barangay per by barangay because it is more logical, it has a smaller waste generation, there are fewer people so the implementation is faster and more efficient,” she added.
Senior Citizen party-list Rep. Francisco Datol Jr. said that MMDA should consider creating a solid waste management task force within every barangay. This should be discussed with the heads of every Metro Manila city’s Association of Barangay Captains (ABC).
“Para masolve ang basura sa Metro Manila, ipatawag niyo po ang 17 na ABC president ng mga barangays, pagkatapos po kasama ang Metro Manila council, magtatag po kayo ng solid waste management task force sa mga barangay,” Datol asked.
Castelo then told MMDA to take point in enforcing R.A. 9003, and relay the suggestions to the Metro Manila Council, which is composed of city mayors inside the National Capital Region (NCR).
“We will take this with the Metro Manila council,” Llavor said. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)
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