A trader engaged in buying and selling of used chemical containers is facing criminal charges for allegedly dumping toxic chemicals into a river in Tuy, Batangas, last Wednesday.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny D. Antiporda said 46-year-old Romano Cabrera is now facing charges for alleged violation of Republic Act 6969, or Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990, and Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act of 2004.
Antiporda, who heads DENR’s Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit Concerns, told reporters via Viber that Cabrera is also facing charges for conducting business without the necessary permits from LGU office.
An initial investigation report alleged that Cabrera was dumping toxic wastes into a river in Barangay Bayudbud where he was washing foul-smelling drums.
Residents of Barangay Bayudbud and nearby Barangay Sabang, however, complained of the foul smell and fish mortality caused by Cabrera’s frequent drum washing and reported these to the authorities, leading to the trader’s arrest.
Antiporda said Cabrera’s washing of his drums may have caused fish in the river to die and float.
Police reportedly recovered from Cabrera 16 drums containing still unknown chemicals.
According to Antiporda, Cabrera appears to have bought the containers, which he may have intended to sell after washing and cleaning. “The damage he did for the environment is serious. Naglutangan ang mga igat at hito sa ilog,” the DENR official said.
Antiporda said a team from the DENR-Environment Management Bureau Calabarzon Office has been dispatched in the area to conduct further investigation to the extent of damage caused by Cabrera.