The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has started the crackdown against the illegal operation of open dumps near the shores of Manila Bay with the recent closure of an open dump site in Limay, Bataan.
The DENR, led by Undersecretary for Local Government Units Benny D. Antiporda, issued a cease-and-desist order against the municipal government of Limay, Bataan Province for operating an open dump in Barangay San Francisco de Asis I.
The DENR official, along with the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), earlier vowed to close open dumps within Manila Bay as part of the rehabilitation effort to restore of the bay.
According to the NSWMC, there are 27 open dumps within the Manila Bay area. Manila Bay covers a total of 190 kilometers coastline from Cavite to Bataan Province.
The establishment and maintenance of an open dump is strictly prohibited under Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
In a two-page order dated May 7, 2019, and signed by Antiporda, the DENR directed Mayor Lilvir Roque to “immediately cease and desist” from operating the dumpsite and “conduct immediate rehabilitation of the area.”
Roque and members of the Limay Municipal Council led by the vice mayor, Robert Arvin Roque was also summoned to Antiporda’s office at the DENR headquarters in Quezon City to present their immediate plan of action for the closure and rehabilitation of the dumpsite.
They were told to “bring the necessary documents, clearances, and other permits issued pertaining to the implementation of the disposal site.”
“Failure to appear in the said meeting and submit the required explanation would mean a waiver on your part and this Office shall resolve the case based on our records in accordance with the rules,” the order stated.
Section 37 of RA 9003 states that “no open dumps shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including LGUs, which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, is allowed.”
Under Section 48(9) of the same law, the establishment or operation of an open dump is prohibited and penalties await violators. Any person found violating the law for the first time, shall upon conviction, face a fine of P500,000, plus an amount equivalent to up to 10 percent of his net annual income during the previous year.
Administrative charges may also be filed against local and national government officials who fail to comply with and enforce the rules and regulations relative to RA 9003.
The order was served on May 8 to Roque’s office by DENR’s Bataan Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Raul Mamac, Dinalupihan (Bataan) Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Marife Castillo and staff members from the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau in Region 3. Antiporda said the operation of the Limay dumpsite must be stopped to prevent it from reaching the nearby Manila Bay, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation.
Image credits: AP/Aaron Favila