COMMISSIONER Crispin Lao of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) urged the local government units to get the participation of the citizens for the implementation of the Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

Lao, who led the First Regional Training-Workshop on Measuring and Mitigating Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) from the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Sector with foreign delegates from Asia at O Hotel in Bacolod Monday, April 2, said the citizens' participation is needed for the successful implementation of the waste segregation policy.

"If the citizens or business establishments will not participate then it's not going to work," he pointed out.

The workshop was attended by representatives from Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Japan; representatives from Department of Public Services (DPS), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)- Environment Management Board (EMB) and Mayor Evelio Leonardia. It will end on April 4.

It aims to raise awareness on municipal solid waste management and its role in achieving the global climate and sustainable development goals and to facilitate knowledge sharing across the region on good practices related to climate-smart waste management, discussing options for aligning activities with long-term development efforts.

"The bigger challenge for us right now is to ensure that the programs will be put in place, at least the good programs are sustained and the only way we can do that is to get the community to be involved or actively participate," Lao said, adding that political transition is a challenge.

He said the LGUs should also implement penalties for violators and it takes political will to implement any form of penalties.

The NSWMC has already filed charges against 50 mayors from various regions for violations of RA 9003 while 100 violations will be filed by the environmental Ombudsman within a year.

"We are serious, and we will continue filing charges against the erring local chief executives. This time, it's not only the mayor will be charged, but we will charge the whole local chief executives including the environment officer," Lao said.

He said the erring local chief executives were found operating open and controlled dumpsites which were supposed to be closed already since 2006, adding it’s a severe violation. They could be penalized for perpetual disqualification from public office.

He added the assessment started last year and the national government and the DENR-EMB continue to monitor all the LGUs for its compliance with the waste segregation law.

Meanwhile, Jiraporn Pumwiset of Nonthaburi, Thailand and Mariani Yanti of Jambi, Indonesia, Phorpminea Hing of Kampong Chinang, Cambodia, and Zaw Lwin of Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar said they also have a low compliance in waste segregation law and they are experiencing the same problem with other Asian countries.

They are hopeful to follow the strategies implemented in the country on solid waste management.