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Residents oppose Palayan City sanitary landfill project but offer no alternative solutions

By Johnny C. Nunez

PALAYAN CITY, Aug. 21 — When one opposes a project that aims to solve a major problem that affects the general welfare — in the instant case, garbage crisis and garbage disposal management — it becomes a matter of utmost responsibility for the oppositor or group of oppositors to suggest or recommend alternative solutions.

This is the problematic situation now obtaining in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija’s capital city, relative to a proposed 20-hectare sanitary landfill facility in Barangay Imelda Valley here.

The project site has been declared ideal for the purpose based on a joint study by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the resident Geodetic Engineer of the city government, and EcoSci, a private company willing to develop the project.

Local residents and civil society groups, however, continue to vehemently oppose the project on the basis of their claim to be fealty and harmful to the environment and other unclear and unspecified reasons.

The opposition prompted Central Luzon DENR-Environment Management Bureau (EMB) Regional Director Lormelyn Claudio to warn that unless the oppositors relent and the project pushes through, there will shortly be a garbage crisis in Nueva Ecija and the oppositors may as well assume the responsibility for it.

Claudio stressed the sanitary landfill project has now become an imperative necessity in the province on account of the increasing volume of its garbage output, adding that its construction and development is legal and in accordance with Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Waste Management Act.

She explained that R.A. 9003 provides for the establishment of sanitary landfills in place of open dumps which are more messy, more harmful to the environment and more dangerous to public health. She also noted that Central Luzon now has an existing serious garbage problem due to the failure of local chief executives to comply with the provisions of R.A. 9003.

"We have seen what happened in the recent flash floods. They were largely due to improper garbage disposal,” she pointed out, stressing that proper garbage disposal should be the responsibility of mayors and barangay officials.

The DENR-EMB has approved the application for an Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the project by EcoSci Corp., a firm based in Quezon City, for the 20-hectare sanitary landfill project.

EcoSci chairman Juanito Ho had earlier signed an agreement for the development and operation of the project with Palayan Mayor Romeo Capinpin.

Claudio said her office has also issued ECCs for the operations of sanitary landfills in Sta. Rosa, also in Nueva Ecija, and in Ma. Aurora town in Aurora province. (PNA)

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