Baguio, Itogon officials at odds over trash site

>> Sunday, July 29, 2018

Villagers fear displacement  

ITOGON, Benguet – Baguio and officials of this town are at loggerheads over a proposed engineered sanitary landfill for Baguio that will be set up in a former open pit mining site here.
Villagers of Antamok fear displacement and Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan is opposed to the project, even as mining giant Benguet Corp. has agreed to give Baguio City free use of its 24.1-hectare property.
He said “people will be displaced because the proposed area is thickly populated.”
The area used to be an open pit mining site that villagers built their homes around when BC stopped its open pit mining operations in the early 1990s.
Palangdan said the people of Itogon and its town council are against the project.
Itogon officials led by Palangdan are set to meet with Baguio City officials led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and BC on the recent development.
Baguio City eyes the ESL as its permanent solution to the disposal of around 200 tons of garbage that it produces daily.
The Baguio government is bent on finding a permanent solution to the city’s garbage problem to prevent a garbage crisis that will affect the image of the city as one of the prime tourist destinations in the country.
Domogan clarified allegations the local government continues to use the already closed Irisan open dumpsite for its garbage disposal activities.
He said two Environmental Recycling System (ERS) machines that process the generated biodegradable waste into compost were instead installed in the area.
The compost is distributed to interested residents who want to use it for backyard vegetable and flower gardens.
Domogan said there had been no actual dumping of garbage in the Irisan dumpsite which had been the subject of a Permanent Environment Protection Order that is periodically monitored by the concerned government agencies.
Recently, concerned residents of Tuba residing below the closed Irisan dumpsite, complained of the alleged continuous dumping of garbage.
Domogan said biodegradable waste brought to the former open dumpsite is immediately processed by ERS machines installed in the area while the remaining portions of the former open dumpsite is undergoing regreening through the efforts of the concerned offices of the local government in coordination with the Cordillera office of the Environmental Management Bureau.
Aside from locating suitable sites in the city, he said the local government has started looking for available sites outside the city for establishment of its integrated solid waste disposal facility.
Currently, the local government is now finalizing the terms and conditions of its proposed 25-year deed of usufruct with Benguet Corp. for use of the 29.22-hectare portion of its Antamok pen pit site for the establishment of the city’s integrated solid waste disposal facility for free that will put an end to immediate stoppage of the hauling of the city’s residual waste to a sanitary landfill in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.
But with opposition from Itogon officials and residents, that remains to be seen.


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