BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan ordered the local government’s technical personnel to immediately survey the 12-hectare area within the Antamok open pit site in Itogon covered by a deed of usufruct issued by the Benguet Corporation (BC) in favour of the city for the put up of its permanent solid waste management facility.
The local chief executive disclosed initial inspection done by experts in the site showed there is a potential for the conversion of the 12-hectare area to the city’s proposed engineered sanitary landfill (ESL) and the waste-to-energy plant that will covert the city’s generated waste to renewable energy.
“We want to ascertain the metes and bounds of the area covered by the deed of usufruct issued in favour of the local government by the BC management so that we can proceed with the steps necessary to free the property from issues arising from previous government issuances covering the said area,” Domogan stressed.
He explained that the area is covered by the mining patent issued to BC situated in the Upper Agno river Basin and an existing regulation of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) totally prohibits the use of portions of declared watersheds and forest reservations as solid waste management sites.
According to him, the relevant Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) must first endorse the removal of the 12-hectare area from the reservation before it could be used as a site for a waste disposal facility, or it is possible that the NWSMC may relax its policy on the said matter, especially that the area has been declared part of BC’s mining claim decades before the policy restricting the use of watersheds for solid waste disposal sites was issued.
He added that the agriculture department gave the local government at least one year to use portions of the Baguio Dairy Farm property as a temporary staging area for the hauling of the city’s residual waste.
However, he remains positive that the use of the Baguio Dairy Farm property will not go beyond the one year period as city government is doing its best to work out the establishment of the city’s integrated solid waste disposal facility in the BC property with the support of concerned government agencies and the Itogon municipal government.
Domogan clarified that the noise created by motor vehicles going up and down along Marcos highway is far more considered as a nuisance compared to the noise emanating from the temporary staging area while the odor emanating from the garbage being dumped in the area is not that bad as being alleged by the concerned residents of Tuba, Benguet who filed the petition against the use of the area as a staging area of residual waste.
He emphasized that the no-touch ground policy being implemented in the temporary staging area has greatly contributed in reducing the odor of the waste being hauled out by the local government’s hauler to the landfill in the lowlands.
By Dexter A. See