The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued a cease and desist order (CDO) against the municipal government of Limay in Bataan province for operating an open dumpsite located in Barangay San Francisco de Asis I.

Establishment and maintenance of an open dumpsite is strictly prohibited under Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

In a two-page order dated May 7, 2019 and signed by Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Unit (LGU) Concerns Benny Antiporda, the DENR directed Mayor Lilvir Roque to “immediately cease and desist” from operating the dumpsite and “conduct immediate rehabilitation of the area.”

Mayor Roque and members of the Limay Municipal Council led by the vice mayor,Robert Arvin Roque, were also summoned to Antiporda’s office at the DENR headquarters in Quezon City to present their immediate plan of action for the closure and rehabilitation of the dumpsite.

They were told to “bring the necessary documents, clearances and other permits issued pertaining to the implementation of the disposal site.”

“Failure to appear in the said meeting and submit the required explanation would mean a waiver on your part and this Office shall resolve the case based on our records in accordance with the rules,” Antiporda warned Limay town officials.

Section 37 of RA 9003 states that “no open dumps shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including LGUs, which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, is allowed.”

Under Section 48(9) of the same law, the establishment or operation of open dumpsite is prohibited and penalties await violators. Any person found violating the law for the first time, shall upon conviction, face a fine of P500,000, plus an amount equivalent to up to 10 percent of his net annualincome during the previous year.

Administrative charges may also be filed against local and national government officials who fail to comply with and enforce the rules and regulations relative to RA 9003.

The CDO was served on May 8 to Roque’s office by DENR’s Bataan Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Raul Mamac, Dinalupihan (Bataan) Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Marife Castillo and staff members from the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau in Region 3.

Antiporda said the operation of the Limay dumpsite must be stopped to prevent it from reaching the nearby Manila Bay, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation.

“We cannot clean Manila Bay if we allow this,” Antiporda said, pointing out that dumpsites have leachates which could flow to nearby bodies of water.

The Limay open dumpsite is located right beside a creek that flows to Mamala River, which drains into Manila Bay.

“Masasayanglangangmalakinghalaganagugugulinnatinsapaglilinis ng Manila Bay kung mayroonggayanito,” Antiporda said, referring to the waste pile estimated to be two-story high or approximately 6 meters.

The open dumpsite sits on a 7-hectare property owned by the Limay municipal government.

According to CENRO Castillo, Limay has an existing memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. (MCWMC) in connection with the dumpsite’s safe closure and rehabilitation. The MOA was signed in 2015 and will expire in December this year.

Castillo, however, said the MCWMC never issued a disposal report since the supposed closure and rehabilitation of the Limay dumpsite. ###