BACOLOD City – Local government units in Negros Occidental that continue to operate open dumpsites face charges, the Environmental Management Bureau Region 6 warned.
Complaints will be filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas, said Vicente Losbañes, head of the EMB Region 6’s Solid Waste Management Section.
The EMB is closely monitoring and evaluating 12 local governments in Negros Occidental for possible violation of Section 37 of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, Losbañes disclosed Wednesday.
He refused to name the local governments but stressed that they are expected to comply after Notices of Violation were forwarded to them last year.
After the evaluation, the EMB Region 6 will forward recommendations to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, he said.
The national agency will lodge the complaints at the Ombudsman if necessary, said Losbañes.
The National Solid Waste Management Commission is the major agency tasked to carry out the solid waste management law, or Republic Act 9003.
Signed on Jan. 26, 2001, the law calls for the institutionalization of a national program that will manage the control, transfer, transport, processing, and disposal of solid waste.
Section 37 (Prohibition against the Use of Open Dumps for Solid Waste) states: “No open dumps shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including LGUs (local government units), which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, be allowed after the effectivity of this Act.”
“Within three years after the effectivity of this Act, every LGU shall convert its open dumps into controlled dumps” and “no controlled dumps shall be allowed five years following the effectivity of this Act,” the law states.
Complaints were filed before the Ombudsman against six local governments across the country in 2016 and another six in 2017 for violations of the waste management law, Losbañes pointed out./PN