Random Thoughts

What holds for Dagupan’s garbage?

By Leonardo Micua


THE closure of the Urdaneta Sanitary Landfill by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for various violations of environmental laws and specifically for converting itself into a mere open dumpsite, inevitably put not only booming Urdaneta City that owns the facility in a bad fix, but also all towns depending on it for the disposal of their wastes.

Without a doubt, a garbage crisis of unimaginable proportion is set to affect Urdaneta and all towns that used it over the years as final destination of their wastes. And since open dumpsites are a no-no these days under Republic Act 9003, these LGUs will now have to negotiate to bring their garbage to the larger sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac, a move that would of course entail more expenses on their part.

As negotiations are not completed with just the flick of the fingers, plus there can be no guarantee that they could sign an agreement with the owners of the Capas facility, the undisposed garbage will remain in the affected LGUs. This could pose a big threat to the health of their people and their environment.

Methinks, Dagupan City will have to suffer from this dilemma. Recall that the city was among the LGUs in Pangasinan that brought its wastes to this facility since its more than  50-year-old open dumpsite by the Lingayen Gulf was also a recipient of a similar cease and desist order from DENR just more than a year ago under the watch of Mayor Brian Lim.

Dagupan had no choice but to deliver the city’s its wastes to the Urdaneta landfill. Now that it’s closed, I wonder where Dagupan will bring its daily huge volume of wastes next since the CDO for its open dumpsite has not yet been lifted till this day.

Despite the pandemic, Dagupan continues to generate wastes, a little smaller now but definitely bigger than the volume produced by other LGUs in Pangasinan.

We are almost certain that DENR will soon focus its eyes on Dagupan City which continues to use its open dumpsite in defiance of the closure order issued to the facility in 2019. Today, we still see dump trucks filled with garbage to the rafters heading to Bonuan, which means the open dumpsite there remains open to this day.

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The closure of the Urdaneta landfill and the ordered closure of the Dagupan open dumpsite will soon result in the piling of garbage in every street corner. This will compel the urgent need for the establishment of a waste to energy facility.

Recall that the establishment of the W2E facility was successfully negotiated during the administration of then Mayor Belen Fernandez. But the project was put in the back burner when Brian Lim took over the reins of the city.

This is sad that before a good project could take off, politics always rear its usual ugly head. The W2E proposed by Sure Global with the backing of Procter and Gamble could have saved Dagupan from the embarrassment of having an over filled dumpsite by the beach. 

We maintain that if a city wants to entice more investors and tourists too, it must have a safe and convenient place for its trash. What can the city government show?

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We heard Director Nasrudin Talipasan clearly told the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that only the new e-jeepneys and buses put in operation under the transport modernization program of the DOTr, can charge higher but regulated maximum fare to their passengers.

The old jeepneys and buses that were given special permits to operate during the period of the pandemic, can only charge the usual fare based on the fare matrix that they are obliged to display inside their units.

The fare matrix, he said, must have the official stamp of his office and anyone found posting a fake fare matrix will result in the revocation of the special permit or franchise.

This comes as a big relief to passengers who’ve long been made to suffer unauthorized high fares by traditional jeepneys and buses.

Operators of jeepneys, however, can add more passengers beyond the mandated 50 percent passenger capacity as long as a plastic impermeable barrier separates passengers.

In the eyes of the SP, LTFRB as a regulatory agency is more people-oriented than the LTO which suffered its worst beating yet from some senators who probed the controversial Private Motor Vehicles Inspection System as a requirement for the renewal of vehicle registrations.

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