ILOILO City – The Office of the Ombudsman warned local government officials of charges should they fail to adhere to the provisions of current environmental laws.
The Environmental Ombudsman is directed to investigate and assess local government units that fail to implement environmental laws, like Republic Act 9003 (Solid Waste Management Act of 2001), according to Office of the Ombudsman Region 6 director Pio Gargantes.
The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has an office that closely works with the Environmental Ombudsman, Gargantes added on Wednesday.
“The EMB will evaluate the issue and call on the officials. If they cannot comply, the EMB will act as complainant,” he said.
The Ombudsman will then conduct preliminary and/or administrative investigation into the concerned public official.
The liabilities that await the public official will depend on the extremity of the violations committed, Gargantes said.
He added that public officials should know that environmental protection is one of their responsibilities.
“We call to public officials, especially elective, that once they file their certificate of candidacies to run for a position, they should bear in mind that the environment is included there. From the barangay level up to the top officials, they are supposed to know that,” Gargantes stressed.
The Office of the Ombudsman will take part in the Visayan Sea Expedition this April 4 to 9 at Isla de Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo and Bantayan Island in Cebu.
The expedition aims to urge the public to stop illegal fishing activities in the Visayan Sea. (With PNA/PN)