The Environmental Ombudsman ordered over 90 local officials to submit an explanation and comment on the complaint filed against them for alleged violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Office of the Ombudsman said it has deployed close to 30 investigators from the Environmental Ombudsman team to serve the orders on the local mayors, vice-mayors and Sangguniang Bayan members of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya; Bataan; Nueva Ecija; Pampanga; Bulacan; Cavite; Rizal; Albay; Quezon; Oriental Mindoro; Northern Samar; Leyte and Palawan.
The local officials were given a non-extensible period of 30 days to submit their explanation as well as a Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan (SCRP), which must include a proposal to immediately close the open dump site.
The Environmental Ombudsman, led by the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera, is mandated to handle complaints against any public official, employee, office or agency mandated to protect the environment and conserve natural resources.
Mosquera also ordered the local officials to detail the specific tasks, activities and legislative action to be completed within six months of the SCRP’s implementation.
On Feb. 10, 2016 the Ecowaste Coalition filed 50 complaints before the Environmental Ombudsman alleging that it was found upon field investigation that the respondents “committed violations of R.A. No. 9003 and its implementing rules and regulations.”
RA No. 9003 prohibits the use of open dump sites for the disposal of solid waste.