DENR to assist LGUs to level up solid waste management in MM

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to provide PhP1 million fund assistance to local government units to level up solid waste management compliance in Metro Manila.

“The DENR is ready to provide as much as PhP1 million to each local government unit within Metro Manila to assist them in monitoring the compliance, particularly of subdivisions and condominiums, in the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003,” DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said. 

Republic Act 9003, also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Act of 2000, explicitly puts the responsibility of solid waste management on local government. However, Paje explained that the fund support is an approach taken by the DENR, being the chairman of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), to enhance compliance to the law at the local level, particularly in the metropolis where the garbage problem remains a critical social as well as an environmental issue.

Paje said he already discussed the fund assistance with the Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino and members of Metro Manila Development Council or their representatives during a recent meeting in Paranaque City.

Paje explained the fund assistance will be used to enhance waste segregation at source to minimize the volume of garbage collected and dumped in landfills. It will be covered by a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among the DENR, the concerned LGU, and a non-government organization (NGO) to be chosen by the LGU, which will be responsible in formulating an appropriate ESWM system for subdivisions or condominiums within the city or municipality.  “The LGU may also use part of the fund to access technical assistance from the NGO in conducting information and education campaign on solid waste management,” he added.

According to the DENR chief, among the provisions that will be included in the memorandum of agreement will be for the concerned local government to identify homeowners associations of subdivisions and condominiums that will become beneficiaries under the project, based on a selection criteria that will be developed by the NSWMC.  

The LGU will also be tasked under the MOA to provide counterpart personnel, who will be trained and deputized to enforce the solid waste management law.  “We expect that with this fund assistance, the local government will be more determined to exact compliance from its constituents,” Paje stressed, as he lamented the seeming apathy of cityfolk toward their environment.

“It pains us to see our own people indiscriminately discarding their garbage in the streets of Metro Manila, dirtying their own surroundings, yet readily follow anti-littering laws in Subic or Singapore,” said Paje, stressing that a strict law enforcement could be the key to compliance. 

“Compliance to the law is only a matter of discipline. With strict enforcement of the law, discipline will surely follow,” he said.
Metro Manila generates more than 8,700 tons of garbage a day, around 25% of the country’s total daily generation of 35,000 tons. 

 

DENR scores in green governance

Barely a year into the P-Noy Administration, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has seized progress on environmental stewardship, initiating key reforms in all fronts, particularly forestry and land management.

In a reversal from previous years, the DENR placed 4th in the list of “least corrupt” national agencies in a recent survey conducted by Pulse Asia held in February and March this year, the only regulatory body to be included in the ranking with service-oriented agencies led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Education (DepEd).

Paje underlined some key reform initiatives of the Aquino Administration in stopping the destruction and abuse of the environment to include Executive Order No. 23, which banned logging in the remaining natural forests in the country.  This was complemented by the creation of the National Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force in the same EO, which as of press time, has netted 7.283 million board feet of logs and lumber valued at PhP200 million, and the closure of 56 wood processing plants in the CARAGA region and the provinces of Davao and Quezon identified to have been processing undocumented forest products.

In the disposal of confiscated forest products, the DENR has given priority to the DepEd in keeping with President Aquino’s directive to help address the perennial problem of inadequacy in armchairs, desks and tables in public schools.  

“A Memorandum of Agreement was already signed among DENR, DepEd, PAGCOR and TESDA on the manufacture of school facilities using the (donated) logs/lumber,” Paje said.

Paje also reported that the number of DENR checkpoints has been rationalized from 274 to 117, or 57% reduction, also in a move to get rid of any opportunity for graft and corruption in the timber industry.

On reforestation, the first six months of the P-Noy Administration saw the reforestation of some 29,552 hectares with 32.3 million trees, benefitting some 17,758 families with livelihood opportunities. 

Describing it yet as “the biggest reforestation program in the history of the Philippines,” Paje said EO No. 26, which established the National Greening Program, aims to plant and grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares in the next six years.  For this year, the DENR, which is mandated by President Aquino to lead in the implementation of the NGP, sets out to grow 50 million trees in 100,000 hectares.  

“Reforms in the land administration are now among the priority legislative agenda of the President,” Paje added, saying the passage of the Land Administration Reform Bill will unify all land agencies, and the National Land Use Bill which will rationalize the country’s land management.

Paje underscored the importance of pushing such legislative agenda of the government, saying it will eradicate the problem of “multiplicity of government agencies” involved in land administration with overlapping functions and powers.  “Let alone the judicial processes in land titling, no less than five agencies in the executive branch also play out key roles in the country’s land management, resulting in multiplicity in terms of standards for survey and mapping,   land valuation, and  taxes on land transactions. All these multiplicities breed opportunities for graft and corruption.’’ 

Agencies involved in land administration include the Department of Justice’s Land Registration Authority and Register of Deeds; DENR’s Land Management Bureau and Land Management Services in regional offices; the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority; and the CARP Secretariat and its field offices. 

 

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