BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-CAR) elevated to the Pollution and Adjudication Board (PAB) the charges of violation of the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 6969 or the Toxic Substances, Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Act of 1990 and RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act filed by the agency against the management of the Baguio Medical Center (BMC) relative to the dumping of suspected hospital waste mixed with excavated debris in three areas in Taloy Sur, Tuba, Benguet over three months ago that caused the same to be washed to river systems in the area and nearby Pugo, La Union.
EMB-CAR regional director Reynaldo S. Digamo said that the agency elevated the charges to the PAB through a memorandum several ago so that the board will be the one to ascertain the liability of the hospital and its contractor in hauler on the damage inflicted by the unregulated dumping of hospital waste in three sites in Tuba town.
“The ball is now in the hands of the adjudication board. We were able to complete the pertinent documents of the cases that were already part of the memorandum that we transmitted to the PAB,” Digamo stressed.
The EMB-CAR official explained that the P200,000 fine imposed by the agency against the hospital management and its hauler is within the jurisdiction of the regional office but other fines that will be imposed will be upon the discretion of the PAB after the conduct of a thorough investigation and evaluation of the pollution cases that were forwarded to the board for proper disposition.
While MC submitted to the EMB-CAR a comprehensive report detailing the conduct of massive cleanup activities that were done in the affected areas by the hospital management that recently commenced, Digamo claimed that the report formed part of the transmitted case folders to the PAB for possible appreciation of the measures that were done to mitigate the effects of the unregulated dumping of the hospital waste in the affected areas of Tuba which spread to the nearby town of Pugo in La Union.
According to him, the pollution cases against BMC and other medical institutions that also dumped their hospital waste in some parts of La Trinidad town previously should serve as a warning to other similarly situated government and private institutions not to repeat the same offense because the agency will not hesitate to file the appropriate charges against responsible officials and impose the appropriate fine against them considering that such activities are detrimental to the efforts of the concerned government agencies and local government to preserve and protect the state of the environment in the region.
Digamo urged local officials and residents to be vigilant on what is happening within their areas so that whatever activities that tend to inflict serious damage to the environment should be reported to the concerned government agencies and the local government for their appropriate and immediate action to instill discipline among the people not to damage the environment for the benefit of the present and future generation of inhabitants.
He appreciated the concern being shown by the people against activities that tend to affect the region’s state of the environment, saying that people should not wait for nature to take its toll on them. By HENT