CA to Cebu City: Stop dumping garbage at Inayawan landfill
A FRESHER air to breathe and cleaner waters to drink. A victory for Cebuanos.
These are among the things to be expected with the Court of Appeals (CA) granting the first-ever Writ of Kalikasan in Cebu and ordering the Cebu City government to permanently stop dumping and disposing garbage at the Inayawan landfill, said Councilor Joel Garganera yesterday.
Garganera, who was the one who filed the petition before the CA last September, said that he hopes Mayor Tomas Osmeña and the rest of the other city officials will follow the ruling. “This significant victory is for the Cebuanos … We should never cower in the face of opposition when what is at stake is our health and our very own future. The stronger the opposition, the more we should be convinced of its rightness,” he said yesterday after getting an official copy of the CA order.
But with the decision, City Hall officials are now pressed for alternative solutions. The City Legal Office received an official copy of the decision of the Special 19th Division of the CA at around 11:25 a.m. yesterday.
The decision prompted a meeting with the Department of Public Services, General Services Office and Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office Consultant Nida Cabrera to meet and decide to develop a temporary waste transfer station at the South Road Properties.
Osmeña also said that they would respect and follow the CA decision.
While they are implementing the order, Osmeña through the Cebu City’s legal office, will file a motion for reconsideration.
In the 25-page CA decision dated Dec. 15, 2016, the city was ordered to “permanently cease and desist” from dumping or disposing garbage or solid waste at the Inayawan landfill.
But at the same time, the city, through Mayor Osmeña, was ordered to continue with the rehabilitation of the Inayawan landfill.
The CA also directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) to regularly monitor the city’s strict compliance of the order.
If the city is not complying, the CA directed the DENR-EMB to file or recommend the filing of appropriate criminal, civil and administrative charges against responsible persons before the proper authorities.
The DENR-EMB is also required to submit to the CA a monthly progress report on the city’s compliance or non-compliance of the order until such time that the city completes rehabilitating the Inayawan landfill into the standards of the DENR-EMB.
The decision was ordered by Associate Justice Edgardo Delos Santos, chairperson of the CA Special 19th Division and concurred by Associate Justices Edward Contreras and Germano Francisco Legaspi.
Sought for comment on the decision, Cebu City Legal Officer Joseph Bernaldez told CDN that they still plan to file a motion for reconsideration (MR) on the CA decision which is allowed within 15 days from receiving the document.
If their MR is denied, he said they also plan to file an appeal before the Supreme Court (SC) already.
Garganera, for his part, also said Environment Secretary Gina Lopez congratulated him when informed about the CA decision.
“That’s great! So now let Cebu bear the benefits that come from taking care of the environment!! Take care!! We can work with you…. I hope there is a way to mend fences between your team and the mayor, Otherwise, it will be different to make things move,” she said in a text message sent to Garganera.
Environmental Management Bureau Director William Cuñado said that they will help Cebu City government on technical matters.
“We are asked to monitor. Submit monthly report to the court and organize monitoring team. We will assign legal officer to make the report,” Cuñado said.
Cuñado said that it is the responsibility of the local government unit (LGU) to propose 10-year plan and solutions on solid waste management.
“EMB will assist the LGU. Once they have proposal, let’s see if this is good for the environment,” Cuñado said.
Sought for comment on the 10-year plan, Osmeña said, “I only became mayor six months ago. What did Mike Rama do for six years? Is it because I did not do anything? That Inayawan landfill is the first sanitary landfill in the Philippines. I put it there. Mike Rama is so excited to pay so much money to Consolacion. Depleting our resources, not even six months nahurot na ang budget for garbage collection.”
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