Former Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu took pride in the accomplishments of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in implementing Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management (SWM) Act of 2000 under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“As we celebrate the 21st anniversary of RA 9003, let us build stronger partnerships for a waste-free Philippines, to make a sustainable future for the generations to come,” said Cimatu who recently resigned as DENR chief due to health reasons.

During the 21st anniversary of the signing of RA 9003 on February 2, Cimatu highlighted the DENR’s numerous achievements in enforcing the law that made up for the shortcomings of previous administrations.

“Unfortunately, the implementation of RA 9003 during its first 15 years, or until mid-2016, left a lot of work undone,” he said.

“It fell upon the administration of our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to make up for the deficiencies in the past,” he added.

Cimatu said that one of the biggest accomplishments of the DENR was the closure of all open dumpsites in the country and start of post-closure rehabilitation in 2021.

Through the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), the National Ecology Center was also created to expand the participation of experts and the general public in solid waste management activities, the DENR chief said.

“This administration has indeed done a great deal since it took over in mid-2016,” he pointed out.

As the chair of the NSWMC, Cimatu highlighted the approval of 10-year SWM plans of local government units (LGUs), which increased from only 256 in 2016 to 1,171 in 2021.

Moreover, the number of LGUs that have access to sanitary landfills almost doubled from 248 in 2016 to 478 in 2021.

On access to materials recovery facilities, only 13,155 barangays in the country had access in 2016 but had significantly improved to 16,418 barangays in 2021.

According to Cimatu, the DENR also continues to turnover biowaste shredders and composters to LGUs.

“This is to enable them to reduce the volume of wastes for disposal, particularly the biodegradable wastes that comprise around 52 percent of municipal solid waste,” Cimatu said.

He also boasted of adopting the National Plan of Action for the prevention, reduction and management of marine litter that aims to achieve zero waste in Philippine waters by 2040.

Meanwhile, in the height of the pandemic, Cimatu said the DENR has issued guidelines on the management of COVID-19-related health care wastes. ###