ROSARIO, Cavite, Philippines — Local officials and residents here on Thursday blamed the past local administration for its failure to close down a dumpsite which, they said, worsened the flooding in their coastal communities.
Vice Mayor Jose Rozel Hernandez said initial inspection of the area showed that the 10-year-old dumpsite, located just a few meters away from the shoreline in the village of Muzon 2, has been blocking the exit of floodwater to the Manila Bay.
Hernandez said because Rosario is the catch basin of the water coming from the upland areas of Cavite, flooding has been their concern for years.
“Naturally, water coming from the higher grounds in Cavite goes down to our town and into the sea. But because of the dumpsite, the floodwater is not drained, thus causing massive floods,” he explained.
“Even then, I’ve been telling (former) mayor (Renato) Abutan that we should close down the dumpsite as it was violating the Solid Waste Management Act. Unfortunately, he was not serious at resolving the problem,” Hernandez added.
To temporarily lessen the level of floodwater, the local engineering office has cleared the heap of garbage clogging the exit of water to the sea.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried but failed to contact Abutan, who did not run for public office in the last elections after finishing his third term as mayor.
Hernandez likewise accused Abutan of entering into a “questionable” agreement with the owner of the dumpsite.
In the said agreement, the municipal government of Rosario was “required” to pay a total of P304, 000 for the town’s monthly use of the dumpsite.
Hernandez said Abutan signed the agreement without the consent of the municipal council which should have drafted a resolution allowing the former mayor to represent the municipal government.
Hernandez said the former mayor also “anomalously” awarded a P6 million contract for the construction of a drainage system near the garbage facility to a certain Engineer Nestor Magno, who happens to be the owner of the said dumpsite.
He said the project, which could have eased the flooding in the area, has remained incomplete.
Resident Martha Enverga, whose house stands adjacent the garbage facility, said they have been asking the local government to act sternly on the illegal operation of the dumpsite for years now.
She said aside from aggravating their problems with flooding, the mound of garbage has adversely affected the health of residents in their village.
Since Tuesday, Enverga and her family have been staying at the covered court of the Rosario Elementary School where they sought refuge when heavy rains inundated their community.
“The problem with our officials is that they continue to pass the blame on each other instead of working together to close the dumpsite once for all,” she lamented.
Hernandez said Mayor Nonong Ricafrente has instructed the municipal council to immediately address the troubles caused by the dumpsite.
He said they intend to talk with Magno and order him to stop the dumping of wastes in his facility.
Hernandez, however, admitted that the continuous rains in the past few days have “forced” some residents to unload their garbage at the local dumpsite.
“Right now, we have been coordinating with the municipality of Naic which has a garbage facility to accommodate wastes from Rosario,” he said.