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Governor To Suspend Albur, Bohol Landfill Project?
« on: December 04, 2007, 07:31:16 PM »
By Kit Bagaipo
The Bohol Chronicle

Gov. Erico Aumentado finally backs down to pressure from groups opposed to the Albur Cluster Sanitary Landfill as he requested for the suspension of the project's civil works.

The governor informed Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) general manager Robert Dean Barbers last Wednesday of his intent to stop ongoing construction at the project site in barangay Dangay, Alburquerque town.

This after residents complained on the turbidity of their drinking water blaming it on the ongoing works. Dangay is among the sources of potable water in Albur.

Aumentado expects Barbers to act on his request this week.

However, staunch oppositors of the project sees the governor's pronouncement as a temporary relief as this is only meant for the project's proponent and local officials to complete the information, education and communication (IEC) campaign to enlighten the people on the advantages of the project.

The Hugpong Alburanon Nagpakabana (Hugalna) is opposing the project not only for the lack of information drive to Albur folks.

The group said in a press statement that putting up a sanitary landfill is prohibited in areas considered as an aquifer, or a source of potable water, under Art. 6, Sec. 40 of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003).

To note, the United Nations Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Ecological Governance (EcoGov), the Holy Name University (HNU) of Tagbilaran City, the Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO) and the Tanggol Kalikasan have lined up their respective IEC campaigns this month when the new set of barangay officials shall have assumed office and settled in.

Aumentado said it is his wish and that of local officials to complete the information dissemination to ensure the acceptance of the project and its orderly and hassle-free implementation.

Under the plan, Albur will host the landfill for the Tagbilaran and nearby towns including Panglao Island. Being a small island and therefore environmentally fragile, Panglao by law cannot embark into a landfill project. Both Panglao and Dauis have been throwing their garbage at the controlled dumpsite in Tagbilaran City.

The dumpsite, however, as in all open dumpsites nationwide, needs to be closed with the full implementation of Republic Act 9003 or the Clean Air Act.

EcoGov reports that while some local government units have been successfully operating sanitary landfills, the Albur case is a first of its kind in that it will "host" the garbage of 10 to 12 towns, Tagbilaran City initially included, for which it collects tipping fees.

The idea of a cluster was born out of the principle that the more towns contribute for its establishment of a landfill, the less expensive it would come out.

"Participating towns" stand to get shares from the landfill revenues.

Aumentado wants to complete the series of information dissemination, aware that those against the project can stage opposition rallies and negative IEC campaigns.

These spell trouble as what then Mayor Efren Tungol realized too late - the landfill became a political issue that led to his debacle in the last elections, the governor observed.

He also contemplates that key municipal and barangay officials be brought on a study tour to the United Nations-awarded sanitary landfill successfully operated in San Fernando, La Union. This way, they can help explain the advantages of the project and allay fears of the unknown spread by the project oppositors, he explained. -- www.theboholchronicle.com

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