Friday, September 19, 2014
Legarda Lauds Ombudsman’s Solid Waste Act Compliance Program
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda lauded the Office of the Ombudsman for its efforts to ensure the implementation of the country’s environmental laws, particularly the 13-year old Republic Act No. 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Act of 2001.
Legarda, principal author and sponsor of RA 9003 and Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said that the Ombudsman’s “Solid Waste Management Law Voluntary Compliance Assessment and Promotion Program” will be a big boost in the campaign to compel all local government units (LGUs) to implement the law.
The program, which was launched in 2013 together with the National Solid Waste Management Commission, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Zero Waste Philippines, Mother Earth Foundation and Bangon Kalikasan, aims to recognize LGUs that have complied with the ESWM Law and urge voluntary compliance of other LGUs.
“This program of the Office of the Ombudsman is a welcome initiative and we hope this could finally lead to 100% compliance with the ESWM law. We have a very good solid waste management law, but its benefits are yet to be felt because up to now very few LGUs have been implementing it. In fact, the 2012 statistics from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) showed that ten years after the law was enacted, only 414 of the 1,610 LGUs nationwide have complied with the national plan. This translates to only 25.7% compliance rate,” she said.
According to Environmental Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera, letters were sent to LGUs asking them to rate themselves regarding their compliance with key provisions of the ESWM Law, particularly on mandatory segregation of wastes, materials recovery facilities, no segregation/no collection rule, closure and rehabilitation of open/controlled disposal facility, use of sanitary landfill or alternative technology, and submission of 10-year solid waste management plan.
The self-assessed compliance reports will be validated and the ESWM Excellence Awards will be conferred on LGUs with best compliance programs.
“With the Ombudsman, through its Office of the Environmental Ombudsman, leading this program, I am confident that more LGUs will be encouraged, if not compelled, to take up their responsibility of implementing the solid waste management law and other environmental laws to ensure safe, clean and disaster-resilient communities,” Legarda said.
“This law is very important especially in our efforts towards disaster risk reduction, to prevent flooding and other disasters such as the tragic trash slides of the past,” Legarda concluded.
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