Espinoza: Arrest violators

Free zone

LITTERING, throwing, dumping of waste matter in public places, such as roads, sidewalks, canals, esteros or parks, and establishments, or causing or permitting the same are prohibited acts under Paragraph 1, Section 48 of Republic Act 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Violation of Paragraph 1, Section 48, RA 9003 is punishable, upon conviction, with a fine of not less than P300, but not more than P1,000 or community service for not less than a day to not more than 15 days to the local government unit (LGU) where such prohibited acts are committed, or both.

This law, RA 9003, which took effect on Jan. 26, 2001 or 18 years ago, is finally enforced now that Cebu City is experiencing the ugly effect on our environment, on the indiscriminate dumping of wastes, because most of the residents are undisciplined and callous to the call for the protection of our ecosystem and despite City Ordinance (CO) 1361 (anti-littering ordinance) and CO 2031 (no segregation, no collection of garbage).

Recently, Cebu City workers and volunteers hauled off more than 70 tons of intentionally thrown garbage along the stretch of Guadalupe River that somehow infuriated Mayor Edgardo C. Labella and prompted him to warn that barangay captains who fail to enforce this law would be sanctioned administratively.

There are more canals and esteros that Cebu City is going to clean up. I mentioned in my Super B column yesterday that humongous garbage floated on the canal beneath the bridge along Imus St. when I passed this road on Saturday.

Mayor Labella was serious when he warned the barangay officials of administrative sanctions if they fail to implement RA 9003 and clean up their barangays of garbage.

Under Section 50 of RA 9003, the local government officials and officials of government agencies who fail to comply with and enforce the rules and regulations promulgated in relation to this Act shall be charged administratively in accordance with RA 7160 (Local Government Code) and other existing laws, rules and regulations.

Of course, keeping our community clean and sanitary is not the sole responsibility of the government officials. We, the people, also have the primary obligation to maintain a healthy and tidy surrounding. But the basic problem is that most people don’t observe the law until they’re arrested for the violation.

What the LGUs and the police shall do is to embark on a no letup campaign against those who violate RA 9003 and prosecute the violators. But with our brand of politics, this kind of campaign needs a strong political will.

The provision of Paragraph 1, Section 48, RA 9003 is simple and not difficult to comprehend, yet some people still litter, throw and dump their garbage in public places, unmindful of their harmful effects.

While LGUs have the mandate to enforce RA 9003 on the violators, they are also mandated under Section 44 of RA 9003 to establish common waste treatment and disposal facilities pursuant to Section 33 of the Local Government Code. But does Cebu City have its own facility for the purpose? The city’s lack of it though is not a reason for the residents to throw their wastes anywhere.


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