ALBURQUERQUE, BOHOL- More than 500 residents of Alburquerque trooped to the street to demand their new town mayor to immediately stop the construction of the multi-million pesos provincial sanitary landfill being funded by the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).
The protesters, led by the local group Hugpong Alburanon Nagpakabana (HUGALNA), voice their opposition to Mayor Jun Ugdoracion's plan to host the Metro Bohol Cluster Sanitary Landfill, a reversal of what the politician promised during the election campaign period.
“The people of Alburquerque voted for him last May election because he promised that he will reject the project. We now demand that he keep his promise and protect the people against pollution and environmental degradation,” said Florita Dumagan of HUGALNA.
The proposed Metro Bohol Cluster Sanitary Landfill will cater to municipal wastes from the towns of Alburquerque, Baclayon, Balilihan, Corella, Cortes, Dauis, Lila, Loboc, Maribojoc, Panglao and Sikatuna. The phase one of the project already cost more than P196 million.
Alburquerque is one of the smallest and poorest towns in Bohol with a population of almost 15,000. The provincial sanitary landfill will be built in Barangay Dangay, the aquifer area of the town where most of the people's water comes from.
The project initiated political debate between candidates during last May’s local election and led to the loss of the son of former Mayor and landfill proponent Efren Tungol to Ugdoracion. But a month after taking his seat, Ugdoracion renegotiated the landfill construction with PTA.
Currently, agricultural lands are being bulldozed and leveled to give way for the project.
The protesters, most of whom are residents of the host barangay, marched more than three kilometers and proceeded to the Church of Santa Monica for a special mass before they trooped to the town hall. The non-violent demonstration lasted for more than one hour and was witnessed by different non-government organizations and local media.
“We are really disappointed because the local government repeatedly opens the discussion for the proposed landfill. We do not need a landfill and we can already manage through waste reduction, recycling and composting,” said Dumagan.
Meanwhile, the EcoWaste Coalition, a public network of different groups that pushes for zero waste, supports the call of the people of Albur in opposing the multi-million pesos waste disposal facility.
“It is ridiculous that our financially deficient government which cannot even afford to give basic services to the people will spend the people’s money to finance dirty and failed technologies such as sanitary landfills,” said Romy Hidalgo of the Task Force Dumps/Landfill of the EcoWaste Coalition.
According to the Coalition, sanitary landfills are glorified dumpsites and release huge amounts of methane and other greenhouses gases that significantly contribute to the warming of the earth or climate change. Toxic leachate also accumulate in sanitary landfills and will eventually leak and contaminate ground and surface water.
“Do not waste the money of the people. Strengthen first the decentralized ecological solid waste management and rechannel all the funds and focus from landfill construction to empowering the barangays to implement ecological solid waste management,” said Hidalgo.
For more details, please call Florita Dumagan at 0918-5308098 or the EcoWaste Coalition at (02) 929 0376, 0920-9062348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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