DENR USec: ‘Heads will roll’ on Cebu medical trash issue

By Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo |January 11,2019 - 09:12 PM

SIARGAO — An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said “heads will roll” on the issue pertaining to the medical wastes ending up on the seas of Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova town. 

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said a technical conference will be conducted by the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) and Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue City based on the evidences gathered during the investigation period.

He did not, however, mention the specific date of the technical conference.

“Rest assured that heads will roll on this,” he told CDN Digital at the sidelines of the ground launching of Cebu Pacific’s Juan Effect program in Siargao Island on Friday, January 11. 

Juan Effect is a sustainable tourism program of Cebu Pacific to mitigate the impact of tourist arrivals in destinations. 

On Thursday, January 10, the EMB Central Visayas (EMB-7) recommended for Davao City Environmental Care Inc. (DCECI) and Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue City to pay P250,000 and P110,000 in fines respectively, as penalty for violating provisions in the Revised Procedures and Standards for the Management of Hazardous Wastes.

Asked if the fines are enough penalty, Antiporda said: “It’s not the fines that we are worried about, it’s the pollution.”

“We asked the questions: Ngayon lang ba nangyari to? Madalas ba mangyari to? (Did this happen only now? Does this happen often?) We will look into it and assure people that this thing will never happen again,” said Antiporda..

On January 5, photos of the hospital wastes floating on the seas of Lapu-Lapu City were posted and shared on social media site, Facebook

DENR’s EMB launched an investigation on the issue and came out with a report which was released to the media. 

A technical conference was held on Monday, January 7, attended by EMB-7 officials and representatives from Chong Hua Hospital and DCECI. 

The report said that DCECI exceeded its allowable annual treatment capacity of eight metric tons.

“The TSD (treatment, storage, disposal) Facility shall not exceed the capacity indicated in the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), as such the subject wastes shall be treated within six months from the date of transport as indicated in the Hazardous Waste Manifest,” the report said.

According to EMB-7, DCECI did not have the prescribed documents or manifest forms that allow them to collect and dispose wastes from hospitals.

EMB -7 recommended that DCECI be slapped a fine of P250,000.

The EMB-7 report also recommended that Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue City be fined P110,000 as penalty for not having the prescribed manifest forms, and irreconcilable data pertaining to the volume of trash they produced and transported for disposal.

EMB-7 gave both institutions 15 days to submit their position papers. /rcg

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