Legarda renews call for strict implementation of Solid Waste Management Law as Ombudsman receives cases vs non-compliant LGUs

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call to local government units (LGUs) to implement Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Law, or face the legal consequences of non-compliance with the 15-year old law.

Legarda, principal author and sponsor of the law, made the statement in line with the ceremonial filing today at the Office of the Ombudsman of affidavit-complaints of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) against a total of 50 respondent LGUs from all over the country citing violations under RA 9003.

“It is unfortunate that complaints have to be filed against LGUs for non-compliance with a law that was passed 15 years ago. But the law must be implemented and those who cannot comply must face the legal consequences, otherwise, we will never get everyone to comply with our laws,” said Legarda.

The senator said there are several LGUs that have effectively and efficiently complied with the ESWM Law which means that it is doable and there is no reason why other LGUs could not follow suit.

Under RA 9003, all open and controlled dumpsites should now be closed and instead, sanitary landfills should have been established.

Furthermore, all LGUs should have a solid waste management plan, which should be submitted to and approved by the NSWMC.

More importantly, the law dictates that there should be mandatory segregation of waste at source and a “no segregation, no collection” policy. All barangays should have a materials recovery facility (MRF), where waste materials are sorted for composting and recycling and the residual waste will be brought to sanitary landfills.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, said she is hopeful that, this year, more LGUs will be encouraged to implement the ESWM Act, as well as other environmental laws, not only because of the affidavit-complaints filed against non-compliant LGUs, but also because under the 2016 national budget, funds have been allocated for capacity building programs to help LGUs in the implementation of the ESWM Law.

“The benefits of the ESWM Law are yet to be felt because up to now very few LGUs have been implementing it. But with the Ombudsman at the forefront of programs related to ESWM compliance, I am confident that more LGUs will be encouraged, if not compelled, to take up their responsibility of implementing this law and all other environmental laws to ensure safe, clean, disaster-resilient and sustainable communities,” Legarda said.#