December 05 - December 11, 2005

on LC landfill
DENR clarifies closure order
Order was for cessation of dumping not closure

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Executive Director Victor Ancheta, appearing on a special session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, clarified that the order they issued on the Laoag City Sanitary Landfill was not for the closure of the garbage facility but rather the cessation of dumping activities which had made the facility more of an open dumpsite.

In clarifying the DENR order, Ancheta said the Laoag City government has until February 16, 2006 to correct the technical flaws of the landfill or it would be ordered closed by the environment agency.

Ancheta explained that, under the Solid Waste Management Act, the said facility had been given five years for it to be transformed into a sanitary landfill in three phases: open dumpsite, controlled dumpsite and sanitary landfill. The timetable started on 2000, or the year the waste management law was implemented.

The environment official also divulged that they found that the said facility had been turned into an open dumpsite wherein it should have been on its way to becoming a sanitary landfill by this year as this is the fifth year it had been given under the law. As a result of this, they handed down a cessation of dumping activities order.

Council’s assistance

Ancheta, however, is optimistic that the city government would be able to comply with the requirements laid down by DENR for the continued operations of the garbage facility.

In explaining this further, Ancheta said that as long as the Sangguniang Panlungsod would appropriate a budget for the maintenance of the facility and the construction of the needed requirements for it to become a fully operational sanitary landfill he sees no problem.

Council passes temporary maintenance budget for landfill

During the same special session, the city council approved an ordinance appropriating P500,000 for the temporary maintenance of the sanitary landfill.

The deliberation though was held in a closed-door session with only the department heads concerned with the landfill and the DENR officials joining the councilors.

This group later visited the landfill to see for themselves what are the things needed to be done for the facility’s continued operations.

The council is expected to pass another supplemental budget ordinance appropriating another P500,000 for the landfill’s maintenance in their regular session scheduled on December 9 at Barangay Gabu.

Councilor vs councilor

A sidelight of the session occurred when Councilors Vicentito M. Lazo and Modesto Melvin M. dela Cuesta exchanged heated words during the budget deliberations for the landfill.

The debate nearly went out of hand as Lazo said he and Dela Cuesta should just settle their exchange of words out of the session hall.

It was after this incident, that the councilors decided to hold a closed-door session.

Solutions for the landfill issue

Meanwhile, Lazo, who chairs the council’s finance committee, explained that the completion of the sanitary landfill should become the priority project of the city government as he proposed that the P5 million counterpart allocation of the city government for the construction of a Laoag City police station be used instead for the solid waste management program.

Lazo stressed that the P5 million has not yet been approved by the council hence it could still be realigned.

The first-term councilor was also hoping that concerned officials would submit immediately the layout plan for the landfill, which should include the construction of a retaining wall, rehabilitation of the drainage canal and the leachate collection and treatment facility. He emphasized that they all have only until February 16 to make sure the landfill becomes fully operational.

He also appealed to the City Engineering Office, which supervises garbage collection in the city, to strictly implement the “no-segregation, no-collection” policy for an easier collection process.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

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