The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has warned newly-elected officials that it will not tolerate negligence in proper waste management and other environmental policies.

Palawan environment and natural resources officer Eriberto Saños made the reminder following DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu’s earlier pronouncement that the local government units (LGUs) are primarily responsible for waste segregation and disposal based on Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.”

He said that DENR is willing to assist newly-elected officials in familiarizing solid waste management and other environmental laws to effectively manage their natural resources sustainably.

“Yan kasi mandate mismo nila (LGU), pero we can provide assistance sa kanila para mas maging maayos ang pamumuno nila. Dapat talaga maayos ang ating landfill lalo na sa mga munisipyo. Dapat organize pagdating sa basura. Mas maganda na alam natin kung paano ito. As elected officials, hindi dapat nila pababayaan ang mga mandato na ibinigay sa kanila,” he added.

Saños also said that it is not only the LGUs that should be responsible, but also its constituents.

Palaweños, in general, should also be accountable for segregating their waste disposals because proper management really “starts at home.”

“Of course, mandate ng LGUs ang solid waste management pero nagsisimula naman talaga ‘yan sa mga kabahayan. Kahit simpleng pag-segregate ay napakalaking tulong niyan,” he said.

Saños said that Palaweños can help their LGUs by having their own system of waste segregation at home, learning to recycle or take recyclables to their materials recovery facilities (MRFs), and others.

Aside from RA 9003, he said that the DENR is also counting on LGUs for the full implementation of RA 8749 or the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 and RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

Saños said that the DENR will not tolerate local officials who will be found violating the provisions of these laws which could make them face criminal and administrative charges.

Newly-elected officials who will fail to act or report any irregularities committed in their community will also be penalized.

“May mga sanctions ‘yan kapag hindi nila naipatupad ng maayos kaya dapat maipatupad nila ng tama,” he added.