Santiago, Ilocos Sur: Environmentalists in the Ilocos region led by the Ilocos Network for the Environment dared officials of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Region 1 to file charges against local governments that continue to violate the Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003).
This came after EMB deployed 13 basura (garbage) patrollers to monitor the implementation of the law among the 125 towns in the Ilocos region.
“We commend EMB’s effort to institute mechanism to monitor the implementation of the law. The success of this campaign, however, depends on its will to pursue charges against erring local governments and the closure of open dumpsites,” said Sherwin De Vera, the group’s regional coordinator.
EMB-1 Environmental Education and Information Section Chief, Ma. Venus Junio has said that the basura patrollers were hired to inspect if LGUs are complying with the law.
They are mandated to check their ascribed areas of responsibility and take real time geo-tagged images of solid waste management violations. The service of the patrollers will be from June to December this year with a P12,000 monthly salary.
The EMB has vowed that cases will be filed against LGUs to the office of the Environmental Ombudsman.
According to de Vera last February, the Environmental Ombudsman announced that they are set to investigate 800 local officials in 13 regions in relation to violation of RA 9003.
But he was dismayed, he said, that no local government unit in the region was ever charged, claiming that many LGUs in the region are still disposing unsegregated waste and operate open dumpsites.
He alleged that Santiago town still disposes its wastes in an open dumpsite, which is a violation of Republic Act 9003.
Santiago town has not acknowledged de Vera’s claim.