THE multipartite agreement signed among the local governments of Baguio and Itogon, the management of Benguet Corporation (BC) and its development partner, Goldrich Natural Exploration and Development Inc., is primarily for the use of the mining company’s Antamok open pit property as the site of an engineered sanitary landfill.
This was clarified by Mayor Mauricio Domogan explaining there are no other intentions of the agreement but for the identification of the Antamok open pit site with an area of over 60 hectares as a solid waste disposal facility to support the processing of the pertinent permits and clearances from the concerned government agencies before the signing of whatever detailed agreements in the future once the use of the area shall have been approved.
“We have to clarify whatever doubts was created by the signing of the agreement because it was clear from the start the agreement to be signed is for the identification of the Atamok property as a landfill site with a waste-to-energy component,” Domogan stressed.
Domogan agreed with the concerns of Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan that host municipality should be entitled to free dumping of their waste and a share of the tipping fees collected by the developer and these concerns will be incorporated into a detailed agreement to be entered among the parties once the use of the area for its prescribed purpose shall have been finalized and approved by concerned government agencies.
The mayor added the counterpart of Baguio City to the agreement is to guarantee at least 300 tons of garbage daily to make feasible the operation of the land fill and the waste-to-energy plant for both the developer and the mining company.
Domogan assured residents of Itogon the agreement will redound to the benefit of Itogon if the disposal facility will come to fruition because of they will have entitlements incorporated in the final agreements to be signed by the same parties in the future.
Under the agreement, the development partner of the company is given one year to conduct due diligence on the property offered for the sanitary landfill and another one year to secure the necessary permits and clearances from concerned local governments and concerned government agencies.
The project has a lifespan of 25 years and renewable for another 25 years upon the mutual agreement of the involved parties purposely to effectively and efficiently address the garbage disposal problems of the Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay areas.
Domogan underscored he and Mayor Palangdan will make sure that future agreements to be signed will be in favour of the host communities without compromising their stand for the sustained preservation and protection of the environment and the health of the people pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. (Dexter See/PIO)