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Legarda Hopes For Stricter Implementation of 15-Year Old Solid Waste Law

January 23, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today said that she sees stricter implementation of Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Law, due to stronger funding support and the ongoing investigation of the Ombudsman on non-compliant local government units (LGUs).

Legarda, principal author and sponsor of the law, made the statement in line with the upcoming 15th anniversary of the ESWM Act on January 26.

“It is lamentable that 15 years after the measure was enacted into law, compliance rate is still very low. But I am optimistic that this year will be different. Hopefully, more LGUs will be able to properly implement the law because we have allocated funds for capacity building programs and concerned government agencies are also looking into LGUs that are not compliant so that legal actions may be undertaken,” said Legarda, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

In the 2016 national budget, P500 Million was allocated under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) for capacity building programs for LGUs for the implementation of the ESWM Law.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Ombudsman, in cooperation with the EMB and the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) are investigating LGUs that have yet to comply with the ESWM Law, especially those that are still operating open and controlled dumpsites.

Under RA 9003, all open and controlled dumpsites should now be closed and instead, sanitary landfills should have been established.

Furthermore, all LGUs should have a solid waste management plan, which should be submitted to and approved by the NSWMC.

More importantly, the law dictates that there should be mandatory segregation of waste at source and a “no segregation, no collection” policy. All barangays should have a materials recovery facility (MRF), where waste materials are sorted for composting and recycling and the residual waste will be brought to sanitary landfills.

“There are very few LGUs that have effectively and efficiently complied with the ESWM Law. The fact that there are compliant LGUs only means that it is doable and there is no reason why other LGUs could not follow suit. I hope our leaders will have the political will to implement the law at full speed,” Legarda concluded.