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Loren Lauds President’s Move for Trash-Free PHL, Says LGUs Must Comply with Eco-Solid Waste Mgmt Law

July 18, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda today welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement to look into the local government units’ (LGUs) discretionary funds and how they are using it to manage garbage in their respective communities.

Legarda agreed that there was no reason for LGUs not to effectively manage solid waste in their localities because aside from having discretionary funds, the ecological management of solid waste is mandated by law.

“For 15 years now, we have the Ecological Solid Waste Management (EWSM) Law (RA 9003). The measure 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,” said Legarda, principal sponsor and author of RA 9003.

The Senator lamented that majority of LGUs have yet to comply with the provisions of RA 9003, particularly on decentralization of waste collection, submission of Solid Waste Management (SWM) Plan, establishment of local SWM boards, establishment of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF), closure of all open and controlled dumpsites, and mandatory waste diversion.

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), as of 2015, only 36 percent of LGUs have complied with all aspects of this legislation.

Earlier this year, the Ombudsman filed cases against non-compliant LGUs, particularly those that still operate open dumpsites, have not built MRFs, do not implement segregation at source, and have not submitted a 10-year SWM Plan.

“It is unfortunate that complaints have to be filed against LGUs for non-compliance with a law that was passed 15 years ago. 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,” said Legarda, citing model LGUs that have effectively complied with the ESWM Law, including San Fernando City in Pampanga, Municipality of San Francisco in Camotes Island in Cebu, and Barangay Potrero in Malabon, among many others.

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

“We are giving the necessary support to LGUs and 15 years have been too long for a grace period. There is no acceptable excuse for non-compliance. What we really need is for local leaders to have the political will to implement the law at full speed,” Legarda concluded.