The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the temporary closure of an open dumpsite in Baguio City, which is next on the government’s list of tourist destinations to undergo rehabilitation, after Boracay and Manila Bay.

The temporary closure order came after DENR officials led by Undersecretary for Solid Waste and LGU Concerns Benny D. Antiporda made a surprise inspection of Irisan dumpsite on June 26 and found out that its manner of operations was in violation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

“It was an open dumpsite before; it remains an open dumpsite up to now,” Antiporda said, referring to the Irisan dumpsite which in 2012 was already ordered closed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission pursuant to a writ of kalikasan issued by the Supreme Court.

Establishment and maintenance of an open dumpsite is strictly prohibited under RA 9003.

The Irisan dumpsite continued to process 30 tons of biodegradable waste out of the city’s 190 tons of average daily trash, despite a high court directive for the city government to turn the area into an eco-park and the DENR—through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)—to monitor the rehabilitation.

Antiporda and other DENR officials from the central office in Quezon City were in Baguio City to inspect problematic areas in the mountain metropolis in line with its impending rehabilitation.

Immediately after the surprise inspection, Antiporda ordered the EMB regional office in the Cordillera Administrative Region to issue a cease and desist order to the Baguio City government pending its explanation on its failure to comply with the writ of kalikasan and presentation of a sound rehabilitation plan.

Antiporda, however, clarified the closure of Irisan dumpsite would just be temporary “so as not to create chaos and a garbage crisis in the city.”

The country’s solid waste czar also suggested that the Baguio City government find other locations to dump their garbage, such as the garbage facilities in Dagupan City or Metro Clark.

Antiporda expressed confidence that the garbage problem in the nation’s summer capital can be resolved with the collaborative effort of the community, the local government units and the DENR.

He also assured the public that the DENR is always willing to provide technical assistance to the city government should it seek help on solving its garbage woes.

Aside from the Irisan dumpsite, Antiporda’s team also conducted an ocular inspection at the Dontogan Transfer Station and Bued River.

Antiporda was joined in Baguio City by Undersecretary for Field Operations and Supervising Undersecretary for the EMB Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna, Assistant Secretary for Field Operations-Northern Luzon Joselin Marcus E. Fragada, Forest Management Bureau Director NonitoM. Tamayo, and Administrative Service OIC-Director Rabindranath P. Quilala.###