Erring Local Government Units

February 09, 2019

EVERYTIME a low-lying area goes under murky floodwaters after a heavy downpour, people always attribute it to clogged esteros, rivers, drainage canals, rivers, creeks and other waterways.

That’s why the Filipino people cheered when the government issued show cause orders to many Local Government Units (LGUs) for failing to submit a 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP).

Of the 108 mayors issued the show cause orders, 78 are from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año signed the orders last Wednesday and the mayors are expected to receive the documents by early next week.

“We don’t want another case of Manila Bay. These LGUs have, unfortunately, been accustomed to leniency,” said Año, a former chief of the powerful Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other state agencies, has launched a massive clean-up of the historic and sun-kissed Manila Bay.

After years of neglect, the heavily-polluted Manila Bay is no longer fit for swimming, prompting government to fence off the area, a favorite destination of foreign and local tourists.

The erring mayors have to submit within 10 days from receipt of the orders a notarized explanation on why no administrative case be recommended against them for not submitting the SWMP.

The submission of SWMP is a requirement of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law, according to Secretary Año.

We share the view of Año that concrete actions should be undertaken to prevent environmental degradation similar to the situation in Manila Bay.

The erring mayors have no choice but to submit and implement their solid waste management plans if they are to avoid facing legal actions.