Ombudsman to probe 600 officials for illegal dumps

ABOUT 600 mayors, vice mayors and councilors in 13 administrative regions are in trouble for illegal dump sites.

The Office of the Ombudsman will investigate close to 600 local officials for alleged violation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Romeo Hidalgo, Ecowaste Coalition commissioner, filed at least 50 complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman, saying involved mayors, vice mayors and councilors have “the mandate to establish policies and having control over the funds of the city” and that “they conspired in committing the violations of RA No. 9003 within their jurisdiction.”

He invoked the law stipulating that “no open dump sites shall be established and operated, nor any practice or disposal of solid waste by any person, including local government units, which constitutes the use of open dumps for solid wastes, be allowed after the effectivity of this Act, every LGU shall convert its open dumps to controlled dumps.”

In 2013, the Environmental Ombudsman program, in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau, kicked off a three-year nationwide campaign to heighten public awareness of the law and promote voluntary compliance.

Under the program, the local governments were directed to conduct their respective self-assessment as to their compliance status and to voluntarily implement corrective actions.

Two years after the implementation, tracer results showed the law remained to be the least prioritized local government program. (Manila Standard Today)

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