Domogan bats for early passage of env’t code

AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING ordinance to protect Baguio’s vulnerable environment is being pushed by the city mayor to advance his green governance platform raised during his re-election bid.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan told reporters that he hopes the Environment Code will be passed before the new set of officials take over the City Council on June 30.

“I hope they could iron out the ordinance and incorporate all the suggestions during the public hearing maliban na lang kung may mag-grandstanding dyan ay hindi talaga nila yan matatapos,” Domogan said.

With barely five sessions left for the City Council before the new set of councilors take over, the mayor said the needed revisions of the Environment Code and its approval can be done if the City Council commits to pass the ordinance.

The Environment Code components include land management and classification, preservation of parks and heritage sites, urban greenery and architecture. It also sets direction to clean air monitoring, pollution, water quality and resources, ecological solid waste management, biodiversity climate change and disaster.

Among the provisions of the code which he wants implemented is the non issuance of building permits to those without rain harvesting facilities.

He said rain water which the city receives regularly as among the most important resource that is wasted and not harnessed as it only gets washed away to the sea.

He sees this as a good temporary solution to water shortages experienced during summer time.

The code will also be able to enforce garbage segregation and penalize residents violating the garbage collection schedule and those found throwing their garbage in creeks and water tributaries.

He said Committee on Environment chairman Councilor Erdolfo Balajadia is making sure the ordinance will give teeth to existing national laws like the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act for the city government to prosecute violators of environmental laws.

The mayor said the National Economic Development Authority has communicated with the local government that they will prioritize the initially proposed waste to energy facility to complement the city’s Environmental Recycling System facility and minimize expenses for garbage hauling and tipping fees.

He promised to finalize the technical team tasked to inspect an operational waste to energy plant abroad to see its feasibility before recommending it to Neda to prioritize the project.

In addressing the city’s worsening air quality, he stressed another technical team is also looking into making results of tests of the Roadside Inspection Testing and Monitoring Team consistent with Private Emission Testing Centers.

Meanwhile, to protect the city’s remaining forest cover, he reiterated his stand against the illegal issuance of titles by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to several major forested areas like Forbes Park, Botanical Garden, Wright Park, a portion of Fort Del Pilar, and the Loakan Airport.

He clarified he is not against giving what is due to legitimate ancestral land claimants but stressed the city must pursue the cases to protect its remaining forest cover and address the problems already affecting several national line agencies.

The code he said will all contain these important provisions which will once and for all address the most pressing environmental problems faced by the city and its residents.

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