Today, is another breakthrough in our solid waste management efforts as we begin our solid waste advocacy campaign in Cagayan valley region, the “Pinas: Basura Buster.”

         Solid waste management has long been a challenge to all of us. To address issues besetting the quality of our environment, our agency has made solid waste management as one of its top priorities over the years. While it is true that the department of environment and natural resources is the lead agency in making our nation a clean and healthy environment, we admit that we cannot do it alone. As you can see, we are strengthening our efforts to mobilize the citizenry in cleaning up our rivers, coastal and other waterways alongside our intensified information, education and communication activities.

           In January 2001, then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law republic act 9003 otherwise known as the ecological solid waste management act of 2000. The law aims to ensure the protection of public health and environment by providing systems and institutional mechanism for proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of the best environmental practices in ecological waste management. It also intends to encourage greater participation from the public and the private sector in the development and implementation of waste management programs. To promote environmental awareness and action among the citizenry, RA 9003 also seeks to strengthen the integration of ecological solid waste management and resource conservation and recovery topics into the academic curricula of formal and non-formal education.

          Under RA 9003, the local government units are primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of solid waste management within their respective jurisdictions.

          Dalawampu’t isang taon makalipas ang pagsasabatas at implementasyon nito, we acknowledge, marami pa tayong kailangang bunuin.With the 89 municipalities, four cities and 2,311 barangays in region 2, only 48 sanitary landfills and 274 materials recovery facilities have been established.

          The statistics is very challenging. And we all know that poor solid waste management poses great threats on our environment and public health.  That is why during my first month as the regional executive director of DENR region 2, I ordered the Environmental Management Bureau Region 2, as the lead and oversight agency in the implementation of Republic Act 9003, to strictly monitor the compliance of LGUs including other government agencies with the law.

           We are also faced with other challenges in solid waste management implementation in the region. According to the EMB, collection of mixed waste is still prevalent. This is improper solid waste management. Disposal of mixed waste to the sanitary land fill will shorten its lifespan.

           I understand that the cost of rental fee and the lengthy and tedious process in securing special land use permit are factors affecting the implementation plans of the lgus. I therefore urge the EMB and our PENROs and CENROs to initiate assistance to the LGUs and facilitate and expedite the processing and issuance of permits for as long as all the requirements are satisfied by the proponent LGU.

           While there are a number of LGUs that are non-compliant to RA 9003, however, we are happy to report that there are some local government that are successful in solid waste management implementation. To give due recognition to barangay LGUs that are successfully implementing solid waste management in their respective communities, I told our former chief of the regional strategic communication and initiatives group to initiate a search that will showcase the best practices of the barangays in waste segregation, reduction, management and disposal. As part of our solid waste advocacy campaign, we launched the contest last June 5 to mark the celebration of the World Environment Day. And for this, we commend our local chief executives and barangay officials who are giving serious attention to solid waste management through innovative strategies, strong political will and community participation. Yes, solid waste management is also the responsibility of every individual in the community. Each of us has a role to play to avert the ill effects of improper solid waste management and it starts at home. If only we manage our waste and choose to reduce, reuse and recycle, we can avoid generating unnecessary waste thereby reducing the amount of waste reaching the landfill.

            According to the national integrated climate change database information and exchange system, poor waste management practices such as open burning, dumping in creeks and water bodies, and non-segregation of waste have contributed to greenhouse gas emissions. Piling of biodegradable waste in landfills and operation of open and uncontrolled dumpsites also lead to greenhouse gas emissions. We therefore urge every individual to help mitigate climate change by practicing proper waste management.

            Truly, there are a hundred and one ways to address issues on solid waste management. And for our part in the DENR, we will not stop until the present and future generations are assured of a clean and healthy environment. As strategic intervention to strengthen the implementation of RA 9003, we will be introducing in a while the Pinas Basura Buster or PBB mascot and a mobile game application which our agency perceives as instruments to encourage more allies to participate in our advocacy to raise environmental consciousness and consequently enhance people’s behavior toward our environment.

            May we then appeal to our local government from the provincial down to the municipal and barangay level, the academe, the media, the youth, other government agencies, the business sector, the private sector and other civil society organizations, and all of you, for your continued support and active involvement. You are key for others to take action, and for our region to win the battle on solid waste. Just what environment secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga has enthused, “we uphold shared environmental values…we want stewardship that is democratic where stakeholders can participate. We want to work across the silos.”

           To my DENR region 2 family, I would like to reiterate my tall order for us to be role models on cleanliness and proper waste disposal. Let us talk, and walk our talk.

          Thank you and good morning!