Quezon City — Investigators from the Environmental Ombudsman Program are conducting an in-depth fact-finding investigation into illegal dumpsites maintained in the Mindanao region. Several local officials from the cities of Kidapawan, Koronadal, Valencia , Cagayan De Oro, and the towns of General Luna (Surigao Del Norte), Marihatag (Surigao Del Sur) and Loreto (Agusan Del Sur) were directed to attend a series of clarificatory hearings conducted from 25 to 28 October 2016 in Davao City.
The fact-finding investigation is being conducted as part of a national campaign to ensure compliance with Republic Act No. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000). As of September 2016, the Ombudsman Environmental team successfully caused the closure of 29 open dumpsites nationwide.
Upon receipt of the complaint filed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission on 10 February 2016, the Environmental Ombudsman gave local officials a non-extendible period of 30 days within which to submit their explanation and a Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan (SCRP) which must include a proposal to immediately close the open dumpsite. The Environmental Ombudsman also ordered the local officials to detail the specific tasks, activities and legislative action to be completed within six months of SCRP implementation.
The Environmental Ombudsman Team will monitor post-closure activities of the LGUs concerned and ensure that the provisions of Republic Act No. 9003 and other environmental laws are fully implemented.
Under its mandate, the Environmental Ombudsman Team headed by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera shall investigate complaints filed against any environmental protection official and employee, and recommend the imposition of appropriate penalties and/or the filing of criminal indictments