LGU to appeal the decision
TACLOBAN CITY-The Environment and Management Bureau (EMB) regional office issued a notice of violation against the city government of Catbalogan for allegedly dumping dirty water and solid wastes that go directly to Maqueda Bay, a major body of water in Samar province.
Based on its ruling dated September 13 of this year, the EMB in a decision signed by Regional Director Letecia Maceda, said that the city government violated Republic Act 9275 or the ‘Clean Water of 2004,’ and Administrative Order 2016-8 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR) known as ‘Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standards.’
The alleged dirty water and sludge were from the public market of the city which is located in Barangay San Roque.
The said public market, involving around 300 stall owners, is a temporary facility as the original site, located in Barangay 13(Poblacion 11), is under construction being developed by the Primark Town Center under the private-public partnership entered by the city government.
“After a careful evaluation of the investigation report, the office records, and such all records relevant to the case, this Office finds respondent liable for both of the violations…that there being substantial evidence to support the conclusion that a prima facie exists against respondent,” the EMB, on its five-page ruling, said.
This action of the EMB-8 was prompted on a complaint-letter dated on May 27 filed by one Plaridel Oscar Bohol, a lawyer and resident of the city.
On June 3, personnel from the EMB conducted their investigation which issued its findings, among others: that the waste water coming from the different stalls goes into the drainage system and drains directly to the sea; no waste water treatment was installed; and improper waste disposal was observed.
But these findings of the EMB is being questioned by the city government through Edgardo Guya, city environment and natural resource officer.
Guya, in a phone interview, said that they were surprised on this EMB ruling saying that they have instituted the necessary precautionary measures to avoid that the Maqueda Bay would not be polluted.
For one, they have installed what he called ‘holding tanks’ where the waste waters coming from the vendors are being deposited.
And in turn, he said, these waste waters are treated using bio-enzymes so these could still be used.
Guya also said that they have also advised the vendors to impound their wastes waters and placed in a container and disposed them properly and not directly to Maqueda Bay.
The official also said that City Mayor Dexter Uy also asked for a thorough clearing operation to ensure the orderly and cleanliness of the area.
Guya said that they will be seeking for a reconsideration on this findings of the regional office of the EMB before its adjudication board- Manila which will rule on what possible sanctions would be meted against the city government of Catbalogan.
(JOEY A. GABIETA)