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Message: Ceremonial Filing of Affidavit-Complaints of the National Solid Waste Management Commission

February 10, 2016

Message of Senator Loren Legarda
Ceremonial Filing of Affidavit-Complaints of the National Solid Waste Management Commission
10 February 2016 | Office of the Ombusdman, Quezon City

 

In 2001, Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Act, a measure I authored, was signed into law. Since then, I have been advocating for every local government unit’s faithful compliance with this law.

 

Fifteen years have passed, yet, we are still far from 100 percent compliance rate of LGUs.

 

Latest statistics from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) show that as of last year only 36 percent, or 545 LGUs, have complied with all aspects of RA 9003.[1]

 

In his encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis said, “We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations, while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them.”[2]

 

In our case, this circular model of production and consumption already exists under our laws – it is embodied in the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law.

 

The ESWM Law aims to create a clean and healthy environment using a system of solid waste management that starts with segregation of garbage at its source, segregated transportation, processing, treatment and proper disposal of solid waste. It emphasizes on recycling so that less garbage is actually brought to the sanitary landfill and those brought to the final disposal site are effectively maintained.

 

We already have a very good law, which could even be a model legislation for other nations to follow. But what we need now, which should have already been done long ago, is to put it into action.

 

I am glad that we see today convergence not only among government agencies but also between the government and non-government sectors to push for higher compliance rate. It is however, unfortunate, that we have to come to this point where complaints have to be filed because there are LGUs that lack the political will to do their duty of implementing the law.

 

As the famous legal maxim goes, “the law may be harsh, but it is the law,” thus, let cases be filed to enforce compliance by those who are failing to do their duty.

 

Fifteen years have been too long for a grace period and there is no acceptable excuse for non-compliance, especially because there are LGUs that were able to implement this law, which basically says we must segregate garbage and recycle.

 

It is always a challenge to implement a new law, but if we only take that first crucial step of actually trying to do it, maybe we would have already reached 100 percent full compliance rate.

 

In the 2016 national budget, P500 Million was allocated under the DENR for capacity building programs for LGUs for the implementation of the ESWM Law. This is our way of giving further support for this sector.

 

My optimism is still very high because the Ombudsman and the DENR, supported by non-government organizations and advocacy groups, are at the forefront of this battle to urge and compel LGUs to implement the ESWM Law and all other environmental laws.

 

It also my hope that, as the election campaign period kicked off yesterday, environmental issues will be part of all candidates’ agenda and that the next set of leaders that will be elected will have the political will to implement our laws at full speed.

 

Thank you and good morning.***

[1] Turning garbage into gold by Jonathan L. Mayuga – January 18, 2016http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/turning-garbage-into-gold/

[2] Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’, of the Holy Father Francis on Care for our Common Home