Towns unite to save Chico River-A A +A
Sunday, July 22, 2012
BONTOC –- The capital town of Bontoc was singled out as the main Chico River pollutant because of the existing open dumpsite conspicuously located along the Chico River.
It has become the object in the filing of Writ of Kalikasan being readied by the Kalinga officials against the Bontoc municipality.
The Municipal Government has been continually addressing the perennial problem on garbage since they are aware open dumping is no longer allowed under Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
Numerous efforts have been made to address the problem by reducing waste going to the dumpsite through waste segregation.
Bontoc Market Vendor’s Association (Bomarva) has introduced zero waste management and has successfully diverted an average of 300 kilograms daily of bio-degradable materials to its composting project.
It can be recalled sometime on May 13, the municipality of Tinglayan, Kalinga, hosted a forum on the protection and restoration of the Chico River that was organized in coordination with the members of the Chico River Health District Zone consisting of participants from the municipalities of Bontoc, Sadanga, and Tinglayan including Kalinga officials.
It was decided that the three cooperating municipalities will have clustered landfill to be located in Sadanga, Mt. Province. The idea of having a clustered sanitary landfill was earlier suggested during the district meeting conducted December 2011.
Subsequently, a team composed of Mayor Pascual Sacgaca of Bontoc and Mayor Gabino Ganggangan of Sadanga accompanied Geosciences Development Services Division chief Fay Apil from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for an initial inspection and validation on the proposed sites for the clustered landfill for the three municipalities.
There were at least three proposed sites that were identified by Ganggangan.
During the forum, it was decided a pre-investment study be prepared as basis in making decision and serves as banking document if found viable.
The municipality of Bontoc was assigned to do the study, while the municipality of Sadanga will firm up negotiations with the land owners of the proposed site.
It was also followed by the signing of Pledge of Commitment to support the plans and programs that will be formulated through the studies conducted and the subsequent strategic planning workshop to be conducted by the Kalinga–Apayao State College.
One of the signatories is lawyer Kristian Wandag who happens to be leading a group of lawyers thinking of filing the Writ of Kalikasan against Bontoc.
The commitment states to support plans and programs for Chico River Protection and Restoration as will be defined by the results of a baseline study to be conducted by a technical working group from the Kaling-Apayao State College and strategic planning participated by the stakeholders of the health cluster alliance composed of the municipalities of Bontoc, Sadanga, and Tinglayan and the provinces of Kalinga and Mountain Province.
Likewise, sometime in May, an investigating team from Tinglayan and province of Kalinga came to assess and validate the systems and procedures on waste disposal of the municipalities of Sadanga, Bontoc including Sabangan.
The Bontoc General Hospital has also been inspected since the municipal officials from Tinglayan fear hazardous waste from the hospital is being disposed indiscriminately into the river.
As per validation, Bontoc General Hospital has its own septic tank and proper waste management and procedures in accordance with the Health and Sanitation Code.
Meanwhile, the Kalinga-Apayao State College is presently conducting research on the preservation of the Chico River. A team composed of Robert Rodolfo, Tulez Banwa, Amado Imyos, and Maximo Garming came to Bontoc last July 11 to float some questionnaires regarding the generation of baseline data necessary in the formulation of development Framework for the Chico River preservation and restoration. (Wabilyn Mana-od)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 23, 2012.