CEBU CITY: The Court of Appeals (CA) Special 19th Division in Cebu City has granted the Writ of Kalikasan and ordered the permanent closure of the city-owned 15.4-hectare Inayawan Sanitary landfill until it is fully rehabilitated.
In its 25-page decision, the CA ordered Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to permanently cease and desist from dumping garbage or any solid waste on the landfill located in Barangay Inayawan.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos, 19th Division chairperson, and concurred in by Associate Justices Edward Contreras and Germano Francisco Legaspi, the CA also ordered Osmeña to continue the rehabilitation of the Inayawan landfill.
The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 was directed to regularly monitor the city’s strict compliance with the CA’s decision and submit a monthly progress report.
The EMB-DENR 7 is a co-respondent to the case that includes EMB 7 OIC-Director William Cuñado, DENR 7 Director Emma Melana, in representing DENR Secretary Regina Lopez.
The CA decision also made it clear that in case of non-compliance, the EMB-DENR 7 is directed to file or recommend the filing of appropriate criminal, civil and administrative charges before the proper authorities against the responsible persons.
The petition for a Writ of Kalikasan was filed by Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera. The petition for the writ also prayed for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) against Osmena and EMB-DENR. Ultimately, the petition also seeks to enjoin the respondents to cease from reopening and operating the sanitary landfill.
An inspection conducted by the Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas on the landfill found it lacks compliance with 12 sanitary requirements to operate a disposal facility that may pose as a public health hazard.
It said that the landfill has no garbage grinder or materials recovery area, in violation of the Clean Air Act, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the Sanitation Code of the Philippines and the environmental compliance certificate issued by the DENR.
The DOH pointed out that the landfill has been operating for 17 years already and has already exceeded its capacity. It was built to last for only seven years.
The Inayawan landfill, which started operations in 1993, was closed by former mayor Michael Rama in 2015 but was ordered reopened by Osmena in July 2016.