Vol. XX No. 48

February 07, 2001

Virac, Catanduanes


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Headline News



Virac SB rejects bid to host Manila's garbage

The Sangguniang Bayan last week unanimously rejected a proposal from a Virac landowner asking the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to consider his 17-hectare lot as a dumpsite for Manila's tons of uncollected garbage.

The municipal council led by Vice Mayor and presiding officer Hector A. Sorrera adopted the recommendation of the Committee on Environmental Protection that the request of Palta Big landowner Geronimo Z. Gurrobat for the SB to allow MMDA to visit the proposed landfill or dumpsite be denied. "Even other local governments in the country are rejecting the idea that their areas be made Manila's dumpsite, so why should we allow such a crazy proposal?," Sorrera told the Tribune last Friday.

The now controversial proposal came out after the municipal council received a letter from Gurrobat last Jan. 19, 2001 asking permission from the august body "to let the Metro Manila Development Authority visit the proposed landfill or dumpsite which I offered to them... whether said site is feasible or not as a dumpsite per pertinent laws or rules and regulations."

It appeared that Gurrobat had sent a handwritten letter to the MMDA through the "Office of the Mayor, Makati City" dated Jan. 17, proposing that a 17-hectare lot he owns "serve as a landfield (sic) or dumpsite to resolve the garbage problem we are facing at present."

He said that the land is "totally empty/vacant with no residents/houses around and assuring that it will not affect the city itself not even the surroundings."

"Since this land remained idle for almost 6 years," Gurrobat told MMDA, "I've decided to offer this personal/private property to be used (sic) as the reason stated above."

He attached a sketch of the exact location of his proposed dumpsite and a Tax Declaration, assigning one Emily Gurrobat, with Manila phone number 932-19-76, as his contact person. According to the sketch, the proposed dumpsite incorporates three creeks and lowland areas surrounded by four hills.

The report prepared by the Committee on Environmental Protection chaired by Kag. Roy V. Laynes stated that while it has no jurisdiction over the matter of a visit by the MMDA to the proposed landfill owned by a private person as it needs no permission from the Sanggunian, it took into account Gurrobat's proposal to the MMDA in rejecting the request, considering its adverse effects on the local environment and the health of the constituents.

Committee members Paul A. Sumalde and Arsenio T. Romero joined Laynes in the committee's unanimous rejection of the request. The other two members - councilors Rosie P. Olarte and Marcelino M. Sorra - were absent during the Jan. 30 committee hearing.

In an interview with the Tribune, Kag. Laynes remarked that the MMDA would be foolhardy to favorably consider Gurrobat's proposal, considering Virac's distance from Metro Manila and the small area of the proposed dumpsite, since Manila's trash would require more than 50 hectares alone.

He also said that the method of transporting the garbage by barge would face enormous difficulties as the fickle weather here and the notoriously rough and treacherous seas in San Bernardino Strait between Samar and the Bicol peninsula could result in the barges sinking to the bottom of the sea and its toxic load scattering to poison man and marine life.

Copyright 2000 The Catanduanes Tribune