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Atienza orders investigation of new San Mateo landfill

Vol. XXII, No. 122 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

Thursday, January 22, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has directed an investigation on a new dump site in San Mateo, Rizal province amid complaints by residents and nongovernmental organizations that it is within a protected area.

"I am having it double-checked so that we are able to make a decision on the matter," Environment Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. said in an interview.

He said the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), which is under the DENR, has issued an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to a dump site project in another area different from the subject of the complaint.

"The EMB gave an ECC to the application for the area of Pintong Bukawe," Mr. Atienza said.

The dump site, however, is being constructed in Maly and Guinayang villages.

The complaint concerns the 19-hectare protected forest area which has been cleared by San Mateo Sanitary Landfill and Development Corp.

Marikina watershed

Residents and environmental groups EcoWaste Coalition, Greenpeace and Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment claimed the project site forms part of the Marikina watershed, a main supply of water for Metro Manila.

Mr. Atienza said he would cancel the project’s ECC should the probe results show irregularity in the process.

"I will also hold accountable the DENR employees who processed the application for ECC," he added.

Officials of San Mateo Sanitary Landfill and Development were unavailable for comment. — Louella D. Desiderio


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