Green Groups Wary of Atienza’s Landfill Probe; Fear of Moro-Moro Investigation

Fears of a Moro-moro investigation worry citizens and environmental groups opposing the San Mateo dumpsite regarding the directive of DENR Sec. Lito Atienza to probe on the controversial landfill project.

“Sec. Atienza should put action into his words. Many times he issued statements to investigate anomalous landfill projects but ends up exonerating its proponents and allowing the projects to resume,” remarks Clemente Bautista Jr., national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

Bautista was referring to the case of Rizal Provincial Sanitary Landfill located in Rodriguez. Last September 2008, contractor International Solid Waste Integrated Management Service Inc (SWIMS Inc.) was caught red-handed in video, dumping garbage leachate into adjacent river. Sec. Atienza ordered an inquiry but later the findings of the investigative team headed by the DENR absolved SWIMS and allowed the sanitary landfill to continue.

“We could not give our confidence to an investigation, which we believe is intended only to appease the contesting public, worse, has been used to shroud facts that shows clear violations, as the Montalban case exhibits, commented Bautista.

Another reason for the group’s apprehension involves the fact that the people behind Montalban dump were the same proponents of the San Mateo project. In particular, Abelardo Salazar associated with SWIMS is president of San Mateo Landfill and Development Corp.

“It seems that contractor Salazar is in close links with the provincial government, that after trashing the place in Montalban, he managed to get away with it, and even got himself a new deal with the San Mateo project”, comments Tony Balute of Coalition for Garbage-Free San Mateo.

Ka Tony also recommends that “a thorough investigation involving environmental and people’s organizations and not just the usual government-dominated team, should be composed, if Atienza is sincere about his orders of probe”.

He also urge that “the ECC be canceled, and the project be totally stopped”.(PinoyPress)

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