Charges await LGUs not complying with solid waste management law, Cimatu warns

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has warned that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will not hesitate to initiate criminal and administrative charges against leaders of local government units (LGUs) that continue to operate phased-out open dumps and controlled dump facilities, which are prohibited under the law.

Cimatu said it was high time the LGUs be pressed to comply with the provisions of Republic Act No. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

“LGUs are our partners in environmental management, and our coordination is vital in implementing Philippine environmental laws that have been recognized as the best in the world,” Cimatu pointed out.

The former Armed Forces chief added: “However, LGU officials that violate our laws must be responsible for their actions. They will be made accountable for their crimes including incompetence to implement R.A. 9003, which has been in effect for 17 years now.”

Soon after he assumed the DENR post in May, Cimatu said that the strict enforcement of laws on clean air, clean water and solid waste management would be on top of his agenda.

In implementing R.A. 9003, Cimatu said that, as much as possible, filing of criminal charges against LGU officials would be the last thing on his mind.

“The emphasis is for the DENR to work with the LGUs in resolving the perennial problems in waste management. At the end of the day, government agencies must work together to be able to properly implement the law,” Cimatu said.

Meanwhile, the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) is currently conducting workshops for Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs) across the country to equip them in providing technical assistance in pre-closure assessment and preparation of closure plans for dumping facilities by LGUs.

“These technical workshops will further empower local environment officers to assist LGUs in the implementation of R.A. 9003,” said executive director Eligio Ildefonso of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).

According to Ildefonso, the DENR-EMB will continue to perform its mandate to help local governments in the proper closure of existing open dumpsites, pursuant to DENR Administrative Order No. 9, series of 2006 (DAO 9-2006).


Ildefonso said the NSWMC recently sent a team of experts to conduct technical workshops to local environment officers in Regions 1, 2, 4A, 4B, 5, 6, 7 and the Cordillera Administrative Region. The NSWMC will conduct the same workshops in other regions soon.

Under DAO 9-2006, the regional offices of the DENR and EMB are tasked to guide LGUs in the formulation of closure plan and other related activities, while the PENROs and CENROs would provide technical assistance to the LGUs in their preparation of closure and rehabilitation plans.

The EMB Regional Office, with assistance from the PENRO/CENRO, is tasked to monitor and update the existing database on open dumpsites and as appropriate, endorse for the elevation of cases to the Environmental Ombudsman against non-complying LGUs.

CENROs are mandated to conduct regular inspection and monitoring of the dumpsite during the actual closure activities and thereafter ensure that the site is not utilized as an open dump.

Cases where the closed site is reused as an open dump/controlled dump will be reported to the concerned DENR Regional Executive Director and EMB Regional Director for the imposition of appropriate sanctions in accordance with R.A. 9003 and other applicable rules and regulations.

Last August, the DENR ordered the permanent closure of the Payatas sanitary landfill in Quezon City due to serious environmental violations and susceptibility to trash slide. ###