DENR eyes 3-strike policy vs open dumpsites
by Prix D Banzon
Davao City (15 August) -- The government started monitoring and implementing warnings to cities and municipalities in the country that still adopt the open dumping of garbage and those still with open sites will be placed under the "three strikes policy".
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Assistant Secretary Gerardo Calderon in an interview during the Davao River Forum at the Matina Townsquare in Davao City said this campaign is part of the 300 Days Zero Olympics that is attuned to President Arroyo's priority program on environmental protection which she outlined during her recent State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Calderon said the use of "open dumping" was allowed for eight years after the passage of RA 9003 and this has already expired in 2005.
He said three years had passed since the expiration and their agency had started issuing first notices of strikes since July 2008 to cities and municipalities found using the scheme.
Calderon said 55 percent of the cities and municipalities here are not complying while others went back to open dumping.
"These areas were given technical support on what to do and the most that they can do is pushing for controlled dumping in case they are still working on there sanitary landfill," he said.
He said if within three months nothing has been done, the second strike notice will be issued.
They will be allowed another three months to comply he said and failure to do so the third notice will be issued.
"The DENR Secretary will issue the recommendation to file administrative case at the office of the Department of Interior and Local Government in violation to RA 9003," he said.
Meanwhile DENR XI regional executive director Ricardo Calderon said most of the cities and municipalities here already complied with what is prescribed by the law on garbage management although some have adopted controlled dumping.
He said there are still three municipalities that they are monitoring closely even as he said that they also issued closure order for those using open dumpsites.
Meanwhile Asec Calderon said that they are also advocating best practices adopted by the different cities and towns with regards their waste management program.
He said the Davao River Forum is one scheme that could be developed into something concrete mechanism to address the issues affecting the water resource.
"What is good with this activity is that the officials and the community once they come up with agreements could help sustain and protect the natural resource, an innovation that other areas may also adopt," he said.
He cited in particular the experience of Santo Tomas Municipality in Davao del Norte for their comprehensive waste management program that has become a model for other areas who had adopted the program. (PIA) [top]