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.