THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has helped 321 local government units (LGUs) properly close and rehabilitate both open and controlled dumpsites, an official said during a visit to Cebu.
In his speech during the second Philippine Environment Summit at Waterfront Hotel, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu also vowed to strictly implement the Ecological Solid Waste Act of 2000. He did not say how many towns or cities from Cebu were among the 321 the agency has assisted.
That law created a National Solid Waste Management Commission but also designated local governments as the bodies “primarily responsible” for implementing waste segregation and preparing a 10-year solid waste management plan that includes recycling and waste reduction. Cebu City plans to hire a consultant for P2.4 million to prepare a post-closure and rehabilitation plan for its landfill in Inayawan.
In a press conference, Cimatu said that DENR also aims to have cities clean up all creeks and other bodies of water in their communities.
Cimatu reported that DENR has lanted 1.86 million trees from 2011 to 2017 and generated four million jobs. It has institutionalized the National Greening Program, which covered, among others, Metro Cebu’s watershed.
Eduardo Inting,assistant regional director for technical services, said that about 5,000 hectares have been reforested in the region.
Cimatu, however, said he will cooperate with Rep. Benhur Salimbangon in converting Bantayan Island into alienable and disposable land.
Bantayan Island was declared by the late President Ferdinand Marcos as a wilderness area. Cimatu compared its situation to that of the Dinagat Island in Surigao del Norte, which was proclaimed as a “mineralized island” but has become a province where so many people cannot own land.
“I have asked authorities if we can separate the lands that are inhabited, which is possible through an act of Congress,” Cimatu said. “We will really support (a change in Bantayan’s status) by submitting the requirements to Congress.EOB