AMID questions raised by some of its critics, the Municipal Government of La Castellana has explained its move to acquire P80 million worth of loan from the Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO) of the Department of Finance (DOF).
Mayor Rhumyla Nicor-Mangilimutan, in a press conference at the municipal hall on Thursday, said it is long overdue for the town to have its own sanitary landfill.
Citing a notice from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) dated July 2016, Nicor-Mangilimutan said the agency has ordered the closure of the town's open dumpsite due to the violation of some provisions of the Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.
In a separate notice dated February 2017, the DENR-EMB said the locality's disposal facility located at Hacienda Villacana in Barangay Robles was found violating Sections 4, 5 and 9 of RA 9003.
The violations include causing or permitting the collection of non-segregated or unsorted waste, and the establishment or operation of the open dumpsite.
“We have no other sources of funds for the establishment and operation of sanitary landfill thus, we will acquire a loan through the MDFO,” she said, adding that “we have to implement what is mandated by law.”
Of the total loan, P20 million is intended for the purchase of the lot that will serve as a site of the sanitary landfill.
Another P20 million will be allocated for the development of the facility, and the remaining amount of P40 million will fund the purchase of heavy equipment to be used for the operation of the landfill.
Vice Mayor Manuel Vera said the Municipal Council has given the mayor the authority to enter a loan contract with the MDFO last week.
Vera said that based on the terms of agreement set by the MDFO, the P40 million loan for the purchase of the lot and sanitary landfill development is subject to 4.25 percent interest.
The amount is payable for 20 years inclusive of the three-year grace period on the principal payment.
The other P40 million under the Equipment Acquisition Fund has an interest rate of three percent payable in 10 years inclusive of a two-year grace period, he added.
The heavy equipment includes one unit each of backhoe, loader and bulldozer, six units of six-wheeler dump truck, two units of 10-wheeler dump truck, one unit of six-tonner compactor truck, and one unit of our-tonner compactor truck.
The local government is still on the process of complying with the requirements needed to acquire the loan, which will be in tranches.
For the meantime, the municipal government has urged residents to establish their own compost pit in their respective backyard to lessen the volume of garbage it collects.
Records of the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (Menro) showed that the town’s average garbage collection is pegged at 23 tons per day.
The collected garbage is still dumped at the open dumpsite. The DENR-EMB has provided P1.7 million in assistance for its closure, which is extended until December this year.
Another program of the local government is exchanging the plastic garbage of the residents with rice. Two kilograms of segregated garbage is equivalent to one kilogram of rice.
These plastics are then turned over to various partner-junk shops for recycling purposes.
Once the sanitary landfill is established, the town is also planning to develop an eco-park within the area like those of other cities in the country.
Nicor-Mangilimutan said the intention of the municipal government to establish its own sanitary landfill is “good” as opposed to what has been posted by some critics on social media.
“Aside from abiding the law, we want to position our town as leader of environmental protection and conservation practices which are vital in achieving sustainable development,” she added.