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City dads eye Senate probe on NBI's dumpsite arrests.

City councilors here are exerting all efforts to find acceptable explanations as well as concrete actions to the arrests made by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents from Manila at the Dumaguete dumpsite.

The city council passed a resolution during Wednesday's regular session condemning the incident but Councilor Joe Kenneth Arbas, a lawyer, is calling for a Senate inquiry considering that NBI-Manila is involved.

Arbas said if this dumpsite incident happened to a local government unit that has power, the NBI can always do this to anybody who does not have any power at all.

He urged the city's legal team to study possible criminal and administrative charges against the NBI-Manila agents who arrested 10 persons at the open dumpsite in Barangay Candauay for alleged environmental law violations last Oct. 3.

The incident sparked controversy as the city government was caught flat-footed. Even the NBI here said it was not privy to the operations by their Manila counterparts.

In that incident, NBI-Manila's Environmental Management Division agents nabbed 10 city government workers, including garbage truck drivers and collectors, for illegally dumping wastes at the now outlawed open-pit dumpsite.

Though later released through the intervention of Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo, they are now facing charges in court.

Councilor Michael Bandal said members of city council feel they should be impleaded in the complaints filed against the lowly employees of the city.

On the other hand, Councilor Karissa Faye Tolentino-Maxino Maxino said a resolution of condemnation is merely an opinion and expression of the sentiment of the city council with no legal effect.

She said it would be best to call for an investigation for the possible filing of administrative and criminal sanctions, adding the NBI agents could just be doing their job but in excess of their authority.

Maxino said the city is not happy with the actions of the NBI operatives, describing the operation as highly irregular and even a violation of the human rights and constitutional rights of the employees.

The city council said there is a safe closure and rehabilitation plan, which had been previously approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 7 (Central Visayas).

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Alan Gel Cordova said even if the President comes and orders the closure of the dumpsite, it cannot be done instantly as there are processes to be followed.

Council members stressed uncollected garbage becomes a bigger problem due to a possible spread of diseases especially with the onset of the rainy season.

Cordova said construction of a materials recovery facility (MRF) is ongoing in Candau-ay.

He said the MRF has pending applications for an environmental compliance certificate for the establishment of a sanitary landfill so in the meantime, the local government continues to operate a 'controlled' dumpsite

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Publication:Philippines News Agency
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Oct 10, 2019
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