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Mayor orders all-out collection, disposal of garbage at Irisan dumpsite

BAGUIO CITY – Bucking indifference from the city council, the broiling unrest at the dumpsite area and possible culpability to environmental laws, Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. last week ordered the emergency collection of wastes and the disposal of the same at the same at the Irisan controlled dump facility to alleviate the waste crisis hounding the city for weeks now.

The mayor said it is high time to implement these emergency measures to ease the garbage problem and prevent health risks that go with it.

The mayor earlier bared plans to use his executive powers on the garbage issue on account of the health risks involved.

The waste problem recurred after the city council failed to act on the proposed budget for hauling and disposing the wastes until the end of the year amounting to P36 million.  This has disgruntled barangay officials and residents who aired continuous appeal to the city officials to address the problem.

The mayor said that despite the council’s disapproval of the funding, he dared to contract out the hauling of 100 truckloads of wastes to a private firm at a minimal cost just so some priority areas in the city would be cleared of the refuse.  

This was assumed to be part of the drastic measures the mayor was expected to undertake on his executive prerogative along with his order to reopen the dumpsite amid the threat of residents to again mount a barricade and despite the lack of approval by the National Solid Waste Management Board which would make the mayor liable to environmental laws.

The mayor said he took the risk out of the pressing need for the reuse of the dumpsite in the absence of a disposal area and funds to haul out and dispose the wastes at the Capas facility in Tarlac.

He said the dumping of residual wastes would nevertheless be needed to backfill the recessed portions created by the construction of the retaining wall.  He also assured that there is no more cause for fear in the area as the retaining wall constructed had stabilized the area enough.

The mayor said he is willing to face charges for reopening the dumpsite but he also warned residents who will dare to prevent the city from reusing the dumpsite of further legal suits from the city government’s end.

He said the city has the right over the property which under the zoning ordinance is reserved for waste management and never for residential purpose.

This is the reason he said that the city is now in the process of reclaiming the entire 7.5 hectares by evicting squatters who put up residences within the reservation.

He assured that all structures in the reservation, big or small, that are not covered with building permits will be removed.

The mayor said the hauling of wastes at the Irisan dumpsite will be sustained until funds are made available for hauling to the Capas facility.

As this developed, Vice Mayor Daniel Farinas who assumed as acting mayor last Friday assured barangay captains that they will appeal to the city council to reconsider their decision to approve funds for the tipping fee, gas expenses and per diems and the repair of damaged dump trucks needed to haul out the wastes to Capas to enable the city to normalize its waste collection operations.

While this is being worked out, Farinas directed the city environment and parks management office to implement continuous garbage collection for ten succeeding days to reduce the accumulated wastes.

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CEPMO officer-in-charge Cordelia Lacsamana assured that the office would comply using all the city’s available resources. – aileen p. refuerzo

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