PGMA's visit to Zamboanga Sibugay highlights government's zero waste environmental program
Talusan, Zamboanga Sibugay (23 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived in this island municipality amid cheers from local residents for being the second president to visit their place. Her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal visited Talusan on May 9, 1965 when it was still a barangay of Olutanga municipality.
PGMA brought along good tidings for the people of Zamboanga Sibugay to hasten the development of Olutanga, Talusan and the capital town of Ipil and to ensure that basic services and infrastructure projects trickle down to far-flung municipalities.
With the President were Secretary Heherson Alvarez, Presidential Assistant for Global Warming & Climate Change, DENR USec Demetrio Ignacio, MWSS Director Ferdie Mahusay and Congresswoman Belma Cabilao.
The reception party was headed by Mayor Orlando Ramiso, DepEd Supervisor Lilia Samodio, Col. Generoso Amor and P/SSupt Francisco Cristobal along with local officials, students, teachers and residents.
Secretary Heherson Alvarez, PACC updated the president with his weekly report on climate change at Talusan Central Elementary School and the president asked what can be done to help Talusan, a fifth-class municipality, with regards to its implementation of Republic Act 9003.
President Arroyo immediately approved the request of the local government in establishing a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in its newly-acquired 8,000 sq. m. lot in barangay Florida.
She turned-over a check worth P700,000 to Mayor Ramiso, after the local chief executive approved the counter parting scheme, where the LGU will share P300,000 to raise P1-M needed for the said project.
"President Arroyo's visit here is really a blessing to all of us," Ramiso said in an interview, adding that Talusan has "no financial capacity to procure MRF since it is a 5th class municipality."
"The amount that she gave is already a great help in the implementation of our solid waste management program here," Ramiso added.
Talusan has only P30-M Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) annually, the smallest IRA in the 16 municipalities of Zamboanga Sibugay, where 6-M or 20% of the amount is intended for social services.
Talusan, soon to be a model of RA 9003
"It's too ambitious to think of a barangay or municipality to comply with the law, the President said, adding that with the 'acquisition of the facilities and with the active cooperation of the local government and the public in solid waste management, it can be achieved.
President Arroyo said that in the implementation of the program. she is not pushing for sanitary landfill because residents will no longer segregate their waste, instead they will 'put everything there'. However, she recommended MRF so that there will be 'zero waste' and everybody will learn how to manage their garbage properly.
"What is important is segregation because the MRF accepts recyclable materials which have been separated at source and will process biodegradable waste into organic fertilizer," the President said.
With the full implementation of the R.A. 9003 in Talusan, the President is optimistic that it will help address global warming and eventually become a model in environmental management and as such, deserves to be replicated by neighboring municipalities in the province. (PIA9-Pagadian City) [top]