Local execs charged over open dumps
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday filed complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against the mayor of Tabaco City, Albay province, and a former mayor of Limay town, Bataan province, as well as four others for allegedly violating the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, or Republic Act No. 9003.
Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns Benny Antiporda, who led the filing, said that while “the penalty is light” for violation of the Solid Waste Management Act, he expressed the hope that preventive suspension may be applied as penalty to serve as a deterrent to future offenders.
“What is important is that local government unit heads are aware that if they have a hand in destroying our environment, we will really go after them, no matter how heavy or light the sentence,” Antiporda said in an interview after the filing.
“We will leave it to the discretion of the Ombudsman, but I think preventive suspension can be up to one year,” Antiporda said of the complaint, which came with a prayer seeking the suspension of the respondents.
In a four-page complaint, the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) of the DENR held that former Limay Mayor Lilver Roque as well as municipal planning and development officer Romario Panangui, municipal environment and natural resources officer Randy Cacho and General Services Office chief engineer Danilo Quinto, were liable for two counts of violation of Section 37 of the said law.
According to the DENR, Roque and the other respondents used a transfer station as an open dump at Sitio Mamala, Barangay St. Francis I.
A transfer station is a temporary site for waste until they are hauled to the end point of disposal.
Roque has not responded to the DENR’s repeated requests for an explanation on this.
The respondents also allowed an open dump at Barangay Alangan.
“The fact remains, during his tenure as mayor, Limay used its purported transfer station as an open dump site,” the four-page complaint read in part.
“Worse, after the closure of the open dump site at Sitio Mamala, Barangay St. Francis I, Limay, Bataan, the municipality opened another dumpsite at Barangay Alangan, Limay, Bataan,” the complaint added.
Meanwhile, the complaint against Tabaco City Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro and city environment and natural resources officer Reynold Martinez claimed that Luistro was a repeat offender and had a pending complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for a similar offense.
“This complaint is executed to show everyone that the NSWMC is serious in its role of seeing to it that RA 9003 is strictly complied with, especially by the local government officials,” the three-page complaint said.
The DENR likewise sought the preventive suspension of both Luistro and Martinez.
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