DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 officials finally articulated yesterday through the media what Barangay Inayawan residents and stakeholders at the South Road Properties (SRP) could not: the Inayawan dump site stinks. And they are starting to worry about their health as well as the welfare of the people who transact business in their office, which is located in a portion of the SRP that is a bit closer to where the dump site is located.

Perhaps Eddie Llamedo, spokesperson of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, has something to say about that. Llamedo defended his agency's decision to allow the Cebu City Government to reopen the dump site after opposition City Councilor Joel Garganera threatened to sue them for doing so.

Llamedo did some word play in his defense, claiming that because the previous administration of Michael Rama did not submit a rehabilitation and closure plan, DENR 7 considered the facility as still operating even if the city's garbage was already dumped in faraway Consolacion town. But the dump site being open “on paper” is not the issue here, is it?

Another thing. Llamedo claimed DENR 7 is providing the city government with “technical assistance” to make sure that the operation of the dump site would be compliant with environmental laws. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. That DPWH 7 officials are complaining about the dump site odor shows that either the “technical assistance” DENR 7 provided to the City was inadequate or the City did not listen to it. Either way, it signals incompetence.

With the complaint of DPWH 7, another national government agency, it would be good for both agencies to do what Llamedo advised city government officials to do: they should get their acts together. DPWH 7 should better complain about the operation of the dump site not only to the City but also to DENR 7 so it would admit the problem that it has refused to see and push the City to act on it.

Because when all has been said and done, the bigger blame should be heaped on DENR 7 for its failure to prevent the reopening of the dump site.