Another Payatas dumpsite in the making

POLITICS are certainly not behind the looming tug of war between San Jose del Monte (Bulacan) Rep. Arthur Robes and Mayor Rey San Pedro who have been both credited for gearing the city towards progress and better quality of life for over 800, 000 residents and that’s according to the lawmaker who makes himself available unlike the latter who never responds from my calls aimed at clarifying things over a controversial landfill project that has become the bone of contention between the two close allies.

Robes in phone conversation regrets that he and San Pedro are heading on the warpath but it’s a thing that’s inevitable if he would only turn a deaf ear especially so when the interest of the people and the city is at stake. “I can assure the people of San Jose Del Monte that I’ll always be a constant partner of the city government but on one hand I’d be answerable to the constituents if I wouldn’t lift a finger on matters I believe flawed from the start like this landfill project.”

Having delivered a privilege speech in which he questions the way the city officials led by the mayor and members of the Sangguniang Panlunsod had allegedly connived to hastily approve a resolution endorsing and at the same time supporting the continued development and operation of the landfill in spite of strong objections from concerned sectors including the religious community as it’s built just 400 meters away from the water treatment plant of San Jose Del Monte Water District and the pipes of the La Mesa Dam Aqueducts.

The lawmaker has vowed to maximize his resources to get to the bottom of the landfill project, located at Manila Newtown Estate in Barangay Minuyan, that’s owned and operated by VG Puyat Group of Companies. Ironically, this firm owns a vast land in the city where San Pedro’s residence is built, Robes reveals.

The San Jose del Monte legislator wouldn’t want to imply that it’s connected or San Pedro is compelled to give in to the wishes of the landfill operator for obvious reason. “That’s why I had advised him long before to move out of the (Puyat) property so that his actions like this one wouldn’t be compromised apparently my effort is not good enough.”

He clarifies that he’s not against a sanitary landfill per se. In fact, Robes supports the original plan for such project designed to accommodate the city’s volume of garbage which only runs to around 50 tons daily. But he howls upon learning that the “connivance” between VG Puyat, city officials and other concerned entities like the Environment and Natural Resources office has allowed neighboring towns and Metro Manila to dump their wastes in the facility.

Since there’s clear support from San Pedro and council members, Robes says there’s no difficulty for the DENR regional office to issue two Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECC) on the landfill project in seven months which granted VG Puyat clearance to admit and process up to 200 metric tons of waste materials per day that’s in December 2008 and reclassified the same in July 2009 as a maximum-capacity Category 4 landfill designed to admit and process over 200 metric tons of waste materials per day in July 2009, meaning it’s just like the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City.

If not stopped, Robes warns that the facility would pollute the environment and eventually affect the health of the people especially those living near the site. “Once dumped, waste materials permeate down through sub-surface water, hence, may contaminate the source of drinking water by some residents who rely on deep wells. During water run-offs, these wastes are carried down through streams, rivers and other low lying areas that will endanger both aquatic and human lives.”

Robes is hell-bent to hold responsible those behind the railroading of the project including the elective city officials who he says should demonstrate extra concern for the local folks and not for the interest of a private firm which will virtually transform the facility into a milking cow with a blessing from them.


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