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PIA Press Release

Sanitary landfill stirs Bayambang

By Venus May H. Sarmiento

Bayambang, Pangasinan (26 October) -- The widely announced sanitary landfill in this hilly town met with stiff opposition during the public hearing conducted Friday by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on its own in order to feel the local populace's pulse itself.

The Sanggniang Panlalawigan took the special move for an on-site inspection and deliberation after it was virtually swamped by position appears of various opposition groups to Bayambang municipal council's Resolution no. 127 s. 2006.

The resolution granted a "development permit" to a private developer,Waste Integrated Network Systems, Inc (WINS) to construct and operate an integrated solid waste management facility at barangay Dusoc, this town.

The Resolution was forwarded to the provincial board for mandatory review.

Members of the provincial board conducted the hearing in full force, except for Vice Governor Oscar Lambino who had a prior appointment. Leading the legislator's panel were Board members John Agerico Rosario and Angel Baniqued, both lawyers.

The public hearing ended on a tentative agreement for the holding of several more public discussions with Rosario himself saying the process will still take a long time before the matter is either approved or disapproved.

Ranged against Mayor Leocadio De Vera, Vice Mayor Jose S. Ramos and Municipal councilors Angelito De Vera, the main proponent of the resolution; Efresenio S. Sabanagan, Melita De Vera and Junie Angeles were oppositionists led by popular big-time businessman-Cesar Quiambao, Msgr. Manuel Bravo, from the religious sector and at least three town aldermen, Mylvin T. Junio, Gerardo De Vera and Ruben Bato.

Mayor De Vera said all the necessary steps prescribed in Republic Act 9003 were followed to the letter when municipal officials agreed to the establishment of the landfill project.

In the open forum, main arguments against the proposed sanitary landfill were that the municipal resolution was "procedurally flawed", did not comply with the provisions of RA 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, and that WINS, the chosen developer, has no track record to ensure its capability and effectiveness to implement such project.

Additional issues lumped against the sanitary landfill project in barangay Dusoc, some four kilometers from the town proper, were the environmental hazards involved and the lack of proper public bidding for the project which was awarded to WINS in the absence of other proponents.

Most of the placard-bearing residents interviewed by media were strongly against "hosting" the garbage of other towns, if ever the sanitary landfill is realized.

The sentiment was echoed repeatedly by Quiambao during his brief speech at the hearing saying the project might yet win their support if they are duly assured it will accommodate only the garbage and solid wastes of Bayambang and keep out the garbage of other towns and cities.

The Bayambang mass action recalls a similar scenario in barangay Awai in San Jacinto town when Dagupan City, looking for a site to replace its outlawed and already overflowing open dumpsite in Bonuan Binloc, tried to convert a piece of land it brought there into a landfill site a few years back.

Local opposition to the move forced the city government and even some San Jacinto town officials to reconsider and back off. The bought property remains idle until today. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]

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