TACLOBAN CITY- The national government has released about P52 million in the past seven years to improve the capability of local government units in the region to comply with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional coordinator for the solid waste management program, Maribel Munsayac, said financial assistance has been provided to cities and towns in the region whose officials are more committed to comply with the environmental law.
“With the very limited resources, we prioritize those areas with initiative to manage their solid waste. Since the fund is already handed to them, there’s no reason they won’t close open dumpsites,” Munsayac said on Wednesday.
About P26 million has been released since 2012 for the establishment of the materials recovery facility (MRF) of three cities and 58 towns in the region’s six provinces.
The MRF receives waste for final sorting, according to its type for composting and recycling. It is designed to receive, sort, process and store compostable and recyclable material efficiently.
Of the P52 million, P20.29 million was given to six local governments for the closure of open dumpsites.
These were Tacloban City; Palo, Leyte; Lavezares, Northern Samar; Laoang, Northern Samar; Abuyog, Leyte; and Motiong, Samar.
Most of the funds were released in the past two months.
Republic Act (RA) No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act prohibits the continued use of open and controlled dumpsites and requires that they must be closed and rehabilitated.
“The degradation of the waste layers takes a long time even as these continue to generate leachate and methane gases. It is necessary to manage the dumpsite properly after the operations and to manage the post closure land use in order to protect public health and preserve the environment,” Munsayac explained.
Some funds were also poured for the provision of shredder machines for biodegradable wastes (P3.42 million), solid waste management in public markets (P1.8 million), school-based eco-savers program (P450,000), and informal waste sector (P100,000).
These funds are primarily sourced from the office of Senator Loren Legarda, the principal author of RA 9003, which was signed in 2001.

By: Sarwell Q. Meniano/PNA