By MANDY FRANCISCO
TRECE MARTIRES CITY — Cavite mayors have expressed
concern about a possible garbage crisis that may come about as a result of a ban on the operations of open and controlled
The enforcement of the ban began
last Feb. 16 when the deadline for the use of open and controlled dumps expired.
Almost all municipalities and cities
in Cavite are maintaining either open or controlled garbage dumps.
Fears of a widespread garbage crisis
loom amid reports that the groundbreaking rites for a multi-million-peso sanitary landfill in Barangay Sapang, Ternate, will
not be held as scheduled.
Engineer Rolly Pozas, head of the
provincial environment and natural resources office (PENRO), said the contractor-operator of the proposed landfill project
has yet to comply with requirements for the issuance of an environment compliance certificate (ECC).
"The project should have started
(in the) middle of February but it has to be moved either to the last week of March or early May because the contractor has
yet to conduct consultation with the affected residents and other stakeholders. After this, it is all systems go," he said.
Under the implementing rules and regulations
of Republic Act 9003, also called the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, all local government units (LGUs) in
the country are prohibited to build or maintain trash dumps other than sanitary landfills after Feb. 16, 2006.
The law penalizes violators with a fine
of R500,000 plus five to 10 percent of the "annual income during the period."
Also, second-time offenders face imprisonment
of not more than three years.
In an interview, Tanza Mayor Raymundo A.
del Rosario, president of Cavite Mayors League (CML), said he could not imagine what kind of trouble the mayors, not only
in Cavite but also in the whole country, would run into if Republic Act 9003 is strictly enforced.
He said that as far as he knows, there
are only three operating sanitary landfills in the country whose designs and built strictly conform with the specifications
mandated by law. These are the landfills in Puerto Prinsesa City (Palawan), Cebu City, and Metro Clark, in Pampanga.
"The mayors could hardly comply with the
deadline set by law. However, we recognize the fact that the law is the law, albeit harsh. And as public officials, we are
bound to enforce it. We will file an application for closure and start designing our dumpsites in accordance with the provisions
of the Act," Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario also said that the mayors will
try to prevent a possible garbage crisis by disposing household wastes in a manner that would not violate the law.
Pozas said that the mayors may still be
allowed to utilize their present trash dumps even after the deadline and until the sanitary landfill becomes operational.
"Provided, however, they have to initiate
efforts in order to rehabilitate the dumps under the supervision of their respective environment officials," he said.
Meanwhile, Cavite Gov. Ayong Maliksi said
that the provincial government will not spend a single centavo for the establishment of the state-of-the-art sanitary landfill.
He said that the contractor-operator, Environ
Safe Inc. which is a subsidiary of Cavite Ideal Construction Corp., will solely finance the project
and operate it once it is finished.
The contractor would be allowed to charge
tipping fee in accordance with the terms and conditions to be promulgated by the provincial government, Malliksi said.