50 LGU execs probed for open dumps
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating officials of at least 50 local governments in Central Luzon for violating the law mandating them to shut down open dumps in their areas.
The office has directed these officials to attend hearings as it investigates local governments that still operate open dumps, which have been banned since more than 10 years ago by Republic Act No. 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2001.
The hearings held in the region since Aug. 22 had been attended by the mayors, vice mayors and councilors of Abucay in Bataan; Paombong and Hagonoy in Bulacan; San Simon in Pampanga; Bongabon, San Isidro and Jaen in Nueva Ecija, according to lawyer Myla Teologio of the Office of the Ombudsman’s environmental ombudsman program.
The environmental ombudsman team presented sets of evidence that local officials had failed to enforce RA 9003, during these closed-door hearings, said Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera.
“Material recovery facilities are actually open dump sites. The garbage was not segregated,” he said in a news briefing.
Despite notices of violations, the officials have not introduced changes to comply with the law, Teologio said.
“They are recalcitrant. They are stubborn. They flaunt that they are already compliant or have closed dump sites. They have not submitted their 10-year solid waste management plan, which is in violation of the law,” she said.
She said officials cited the lack of funds and politics as reasons for failing to comply with RA 9003.
But Mosquera said their reasons were unacceptable. He said the officials were ordered to close the dumps in three months and to execute their safe closure and rehabilitation plan in six months.
Officials who do not fulfill these requirements face criminal and administrative complaints, he said.
The National Solid Waste Management Commission had prepared 350 complaints against local governments. The complaints were trimmed down to 50 involving the most blatant violations, Mosquera said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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