The Puerto Princesa City Environment and Natural Resources Office has proposed to declare 5,119 hectares of Barangay Bahile as Caiholo Ecosystem Management Zone (CEMZ) for future environmental undertakings of the city. These include establishment of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) and other waste management facilities to augment the current sanitary landfill that has already reached its capacity.
The proposed CEMZ in Bahile is about 50 kilometers from the city proper and commercial district ang is adjacent to the Military Reservation.
In his letter to the Sangguniang Panlungsod, Atty. Carlo Gomez said that the establishment of CEMZ was conceptualized as a response to the unending issues raised against the current sanitary landfill located at Barangay Sta. Lourdes.
He explained that Brgy. Sta. Lourdes is made up of residential houses, subdivisions, schools and ecotourism activities, and any expansion plan to the current landfill and its facilities will be faced with multiple issues.
The proposed CEMZ in Barangay Bahile on the other hand, is more than one kilometer away from the nearest residential area. This distance is considered sufficient to address any issues such brought about by any breach in the facility system and for application of appropriate remediation. The vegetation in the area is still intact that serves well to mitigate other environmental nuisances and pollution.
The City Government through its CSWMB has created a Composite Team to develop necessary programs, propose policies and to cause the implementation of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2020-147.
The circular enjoins all local government units (LGUs) to strictly implement proper waste segregation at the source of COVID-19 related wastes, disinfect through proper chemical disinfection during waste collection and transport, treat through available technologies, to properly manage COVID-19 wastes, in support to the arising need to contain and manage the spread of the disease in the country.
The absence of a facility for COVID-19 wastes, health care wastes have placed localities in perilous state, promote unsafe environment, allows adverse health impacts and infraction of existing laws and regulations. The immediate establishment of a facility specifically for health care and COVID-related wastes has become urgent and necessary.
The composite team is chaired by the City ENRO, Atty. Gomez. His members are Councilor Gadiano, Liga ng mga Barangay President Francisco Gabuco, City Health Officer, Dr. Ricardo Panganiban, City Planning and Development Coordinator, Engr. Jovenee C. Sagun, and City Engineer, Engr. Alberto P. Jimenez Jr. One of their functions is to develop a COVID-19 waste management plan which shall be incorporated to the City’s 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan.
The Composite Team of the City Solid Waste Management Board (CSWMB) conducted site inspection recently in the proposed CEMZ.
Joining the site inspection were Composite team members, including City Councilor Henry A. Gadiano, who is the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s chairman of the Committee on Waste Management, Disposal, Sewerage and Wastewater, Atty. Carlo B. Gomez, the City Environment and Natural Resources Officer, and representatives from the City Planning and Development Department, City Engineering Department, and Solid Waste Management Program.