THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-6) vowed to expedite the resolution of cases at the local level as more lawyers joined its legal team.
Fifteen environmental lawyers, some of whom were hired since 2017, are now distributed to different Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs) in Western Visayas.
DENR-6 regional director Jim O Sampulna said this is the first time in the region that all PENROs and CENROs have legal counsels.
“Secretary Roy Cimatu wants a speedy resolution of the problems on the grounds such as complaints and those undergoing investigation,” he said.
Sampulna said they continue to strictly monitor the compliance on environmental laws, particularly on Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management act of 2000) since many local government units in the region still operate open dumpsites.
“The law requires one sanitary landfill per municipality which costs around P100 million to P200 million,” he said.
The provincial government of Iloilo is proposing the establishment of clustered sanitary landfills to assist LGUs in complying with the law.
Private firm IPM-Construction and Development Corp. (IPM-CDC), which operates the Payatas landfill in Quezon City, proposed two sanitary landfills in Iloilo.
The proposal is still being considered by the provincial government.
Meanwhile, for 2018, Sampulna said Secretary Cimatu prioritizes their campaigns on land management, forest protection, national greening program, ecosystems research and development, climate change, geo-hazard assessment, and Clean Water Act, among others.