Issue of January 14, 2018

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Court orders closure of waste transfer site
by Ofelia C. Empian

The M.A. Camilo Freight Services might be facing contempt if it will not follow an earlier court order to totally close and rehabilitate its staging area at Sitio Lamtang, Barangay Puguis in La Trinidad, Benguet.

In the recent order dated Jan. 9, Benguet Regional Trial Court Branch 10 Acting Presiding Judge Emmanuel Rasing has directed M.A. Camilo to comment within 10 days on the inspection report made by the Environment Management Bureau showing their non-compliance on an earlier court order issued on Dec. 14, 2017.

The trucking service was also asked to “explain why no citation for contempt of court should be taken” against them.

“The order dated Dec.14, 2017 is clear when it said that by Jan. 1, 2018, the site will no longer be used as a transfer station,” the court order read.

To recall, the court has ordered M.A. Camilo to start the rehabilitation of the staging area and to immediately cease its operation on Dec. 22, which was eventually extended until Dec. 31, 2017 to accommodate the expected heavy volume of wastes during the holiday season. The order stated there would be no more extension for the site to be used as a transfer station.

“And before the court sets its eyes on respondent City of Baguio, as the contractor of the services of M.A. Camilo Freight Services, the City Legal Office is directed to ensure that not a single residual waste coming from the City of Baguio is entered upon the subject’s transfer station,” the court ordered.

Based on the DENR inspection report conducted on Jan. 3, from which the court order was based upon, it was observed that the transfer station is still receiving wastes from Baguio.

“The court meant what it said and will not hesitate to put into full force its contempt powers in case of stubborn defiance with its order,” the court stated.

The confirmatory hearing is set on Jan. 25 to hear the compliance of M.A. Camilo to the order.

As of the moment, M.A. Camilo is still the contracted hauler for city wastes.

Meanwhile, residents of Lamtang who earlier filed the environmental case against M.A. Camilo and the local government units of Baguio and La Trinidad are now asking the La Trinidad LGU to help end the issue.

“We hope that they will finally stop the hauling of wastes but they are still continuing to do so when rehabilitation is what is needed in the area,” said Nestor Lucas, one of the petitioners and resident in the area. 

C/Insp. Macli-ing, La Trinidad Municipal Police chief, said he has deployed two personnel at the staging area to see to it that the hauler will no longer bring in new wastes but to only haul out the remaining wastes in the area supposedly to an engineered sanitary landfill in the lowland.

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