Baguio laments trash dirtied ‘cleanest’ record | Inquirer News
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Baguio laments trash dirtied ‘cleanest’ record

08:47 PM September 01, 2011

BAGUIO CITY—The country’s only American-built city commemorated its 102nd Charter Day on Thursday by launching a clean-up drive in the wake of the destruction left by Typhoon “Mina,” including a deadly trash slide from a decommissioned dump here that killed five people.

“We celebrate the city’s birthday with deaths in our minds,” said Baguio Rep. Bernardo Vergara, who addressed a crowd of mostly City Hall employees and barangay officials at the Baguio Convention Center.

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In his speech, Mayor Mauricio Domogan expressed lament over the fact that Baguio has achieved notoriety for garbage, after being hailed as the country’s cleanest and greenest highly-urbanized city in the 1990s.

“We have invited you [the public] to help us find solutions to our garbage problems [and help restore Baguio’s title as Hall of Famer] for being the cleanest and greenest highly-urbanized city,” he said.

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But disunity and political opportunism turned up instead to take advantage of Baguio’s “moments of infamy,” a reference to the Aug. 27 slide of over 1,500 tons of trash from a 38-year-old dump in Barangay Irisan that toppled over houses lining Asin Road.

Domogan said the slide should compel officials and residents to unite and help solve the city’s new garbage crisis.

The Inquirer learned that the families of the victims in the slide have asked lawyers identified with Domogan’s political rivals to help them prepare a damage suit against the city government for the incident.

For now, city officials have been deliberating on the financial cost of removing the tons of garbage that have blocked Asin Road.

The road hosts several woodcarving shops that have become popular to tourists. The Bencab Museum, owned by National Artist Ben Cabrera, is also located on Asin Road.

Work crews have managed to punch through the heap of garbage, allowing small vehicles and public utility jeeps to drive through Km 5 of Asin Road.

The sun shone briefly on Thursday, allowing engineers a better view of the damage. Last weekend, government inspectors who visited the dump were only able to make damage estimates because strong rain and thick fog obstructed their view. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Baguio City, Mina, Typhoon
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