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Bontoc, Mountain Province – This capital town has recently received two major awards for its efforts and initiatives in solid waste management during the 3rd Cordillera Environmental Summit on June 27-29, 2018 in Baguio City.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) awarded the municipality   of Bontoc a Plaque of Recognition for the Municipality’s Best Practices and Exemplary Contribution in the Implementation of Environmental Laws in the Province and another plaque in recognition for having the Best Material Recovery Facility (MRF) operated by a Local Government Unit in the Province.

Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna, Undersecretary for Field Operations who delivered the message of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu lauded the awardees for their exemplary contribution in solid waste management.

He admitted that it is not an easy task to handle and put in order the problem on solid waste while adding that the agency cannot do it all alone. With this, he solicited the continuous support of all the stakeholders for the environment protection and enhancement for the future generations.

He highlighted that waste management should start at home, in the barangay, municipality up to the provincial level in which everyone has a role to play.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey, who personally received the awards, credited the recognitions received by the municipality to everyone who committed themselves and supported the solid waste management programs of the municipal government.

“The awards are a result of the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders-the LGU, the barangays, the schools, the business sector, and the community in general. But there is still a long way to go so we still need everyone’s commitment as regards waste management.”

Odsey relayed how the filing of Writ of Kalikasan against Bontoc in August 2012 for its open dumping of waste along the Chico River in Sitio Matoytoy-ok, Barangay Caluttit has challenged Bontoc and how the Court of Appeals ordered the closure and rehabilitation of the dumpsite. Mayor Odsey, together with the members of the Sangguniang Bayan, had just started their term of that year. They barely had two months to plan, prepare and rehabilitate the dumpsite and find means of waste disposal.

With the support of the community, the Bontoc LGU instituted programs towards the goals of closing the decades-old dumpsite and instilling a new sustainable paradigm on solid waste management. These include Oplan Pera Sa Basura Program being participated in by all elementary and high schools; formation of the Bontoc Green Police; establishment of Eco-parks; Senior Citizens Eco-brick and Eco-brick Making Project; No Plastic No Styrofoam Policy and Development of Residual Waste Processing Facility.

With the awards received by the municipality, Odsey again solicited the support and commitment of everyone with the municipality’s advocacies.

“I want to reiterate our battle cry which led us to what we have achieved. Our garbage is a community problem. It needs a community solution and we are all part of the solution. Thus, in our homes, let us continue practicing segregation at source; let us abide by the No to Plastic Bags, Cellophane and Styrofoam Policy; and let us dispose only our garbage at the waste collection areas/posts during the scheduled collection hours and days. These may be small and simple actions, but they contribute much in solving the garbage problem in our town,” the mayor emphasized. 

Odsey added that even with the meager and limited budget and resources of municipal government, it strived and worked out for the procurement and development of a Solid Waste Management (SWM) facility at Am-ancho, Bontoc Ili. It is also where the Temporary Residual Containment Area (TRCA), composting area and bottle/plastic shredding areas are located.

Environmental Management Specialist Roger F. Agcapen of the Bontoc –LGU shared that the municipal government has been doubling its efforts in the campaign and implementation of proper waste management programs since 2013.

Agcapen relayed that their office, in partnership and coordination with other concerned offices, Bontoc Green Police, Senior Citizens and other stakeholders are working together for the sustainability of these programs

Meanwhile, other awardees in Mountain Province that were given Certificates of Recognition for Most Improved Local Government Unit in the Province in the Implementation of Ecological Solid Waste Management Act through sustained efforts and commendable initiatives are the towns of Paracelis, Bauko and Sagada. 

It can be recalled that in 2016, Bontoc was also recognized by the DENR for its solid waste management initiatives.

Relative to solid waste management, the municipal government has extended its full support to the livelihood project of the Senior Citizen on eco-brick and eco-brick making which was recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2016. The Seniors during the DSWDs National Bangon Kabuhayan Awards held in Manila bagged 1st Place in Best in Livelihood Project for Special Sectors, Most Environmentally Friendly Project, Best Regional Microenterprise Project and People’s Choice Award which was voted by participants from all over the regions in the Philippines. The Bontoc LGU was also given the Best Regional Partner Award.

The awarding coincided with the celebration of June as Environment Month with the theme “Sustaining Cooperation and Partnerships.”// Alpine L. Killa, Bontoc –LGU

 

(L-R Photo) Environmental Management Specialist Roger F. Agcapen of the Bontoc –LGU, Mayor Franklin C. Odsey, Vice Mayor Eusebio S. Kabluyen and Provincial Environmental Management Officer Randy S. Langgawan of the Environment and Management Bureau –Provincial Field Office pose with a triumphant smile after Bontoc was recognized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for its exemplary contribution in environment protection and enhancement. // Photo by Alpine L. Killa