Garbage crisis looms as town to block entry of Canada trash
CLARK FREEPORT—Business establishments in this economic zone, hospitals and local governments in Central Luzon risk losing disposal sites for their wastes if the mayor of Bamban, Tarlac, signs an ordinance banning the transport of garbage through the town.
Data gathered by the Inquirer showed that 55 local governments, 360 companies and 180 housing units based in Clark, five locators at the Trust International Paper Corp. complex in Mabalacat City, 125 industrial clients and 80 percent of hospitals in Central Luzon may lose access to a private sanitary landfill in Sitio Kalangitan in Capas town should Bamban Mayor Jose Antonio Feliciano sign an ordinance closing all roads leading to the facility.
The Bamban council approved the ordinance in its session on Tuesday on the heels of the scandal over 103 cargo containers of garbage from Canada that had been shipped to the Philippines by Chronic Plastics.
Environmental groups and many local officials raised howls of protests over the shipment of garbage from Canada, demanding that this be returned to its port of origin.
Feliciano did not reply to calls and text messages inquiring if he would approve the transport ban in the town. In June, he vetoed a similar ordinance, saying Tarlac would stink if the ban would be imposed.
The ordinance came more than a month after the provincial board passed two resolutions regarding waste disposal in the province.
The first, Resolution No. 56, asked the Bureau of Customs and the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. (MCWMC), the landfill operator, to cancel a contract in the disposal of trash from Canada packed in 50 containers.
MCWMC took in the contents of 26 containers and stopped the disposal of the rest in compliance with the provincial board’s demand.
The second, Resolution No. 57, banned the dumping of any garbage of foreign origin in Kalangitan and elsewhere in Tarlac.
But Tarlac Vice Gov. Enrique Cojuangco Jr. clarified that the 70-hectare landfill in Capas is not being closed. MCWMC, he said, should revert to using the Capas route to the facility.
“They must pass through Capas and pay taxes to the local government and fix or build the roads as promised in the contract,” Cojuangco said.
“They must be transparent in their operations and abide by their parameters of operation prescribed by the provincial government,” he said.
In 2006, the provincial board passed Resolution No. 091 suspending the dumping of wastes from Clark and Metro Manila on complaints of Bamban residents.
Capas Mayor Antonio Rodriguez set the same conditions on MCWMC before hauling firms resume using a road in the town.
Rufo Colayco, president and chief executive officer of MCWMC, said his company would “act or respond to official, written instructions from government officials.”
The firm has not received any order from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or other agencies to close or suspend operations, he said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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