Benny Antiporda

Antiporda misrepresents closure of dumpsites

August 5, 2023 People's Tonight 348 views

ONSITE inspectors from the Commission on Audit (CoA) have found out that former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management Benny Antiporda allegedly misrepresented the situation on the closure of dumpsites when he announced in May 2021 that all open dumpsites in the country have ceased operations.

“In CY 2021, DENR announced the successful closing of all dumpsites nationwide. However, our validation from March to April 2022 revealed that not all dumpsites were successfully closed,” the audit team revealed.

Antiporda, the former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) head who was put under six-month preventive suspension nine months ago by the Office of the Ombudsman without pay while under investigation.

This stemmed from complaints by the agency’s employees accusing him of grave misconduct, harassment, and oppression.

“After a careful evaluation of the records, this Office finds that among the respondents, Respondent Benny D. Antiporda’s guilt is strong and that the case against him involves Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and Oppression, which may warrant his removal from service,” the Ombudsman said.

Later, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. has appointed former Piddig, Ilocos Norte Mayor Eduardo Eddie Guillen as his replacement to NIA.

More than 70 percent of local government units (LGUs) have no access to landfills, CoA also said.

Only 478 or 29 percent of 1,634 local government units in the country have access to operational sanitary landfills according to 2021 data from the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau at the National Solid Waste Management Council (NSWMC).

The figures were cited in the May 2, 2023 Performance Audit Report of the CoA on the Solid Waste Management Program.

“As of CY 2021,the country has …245 total operational Sanitary Landfills (SLFs) only servicing 478 (29.25 percent) of 1,634 LGUs. Due to the limitation in disposal facilities, the operation of the illegal dumpsites could not be avoided in some LGUs,” government auditors said.

The alleged illegal open dumpsites were found to have been reopened in Camarines Sur, Davao del Sur, Cebu, and Davao de Oro.

Caught on a lie, NSWMC later admitted that there were occurrences of the reopening of dumpsites, especially when the LGU had nowhere to dump its waste.

Antiporda was the alternate chairman of the NCWMC as well as chairperson of the Manila Bay Anti-Pollution Task Force.

The LGUs concerned complained that when DENR ordered the closure of the dumpsites, it did not offer support in the construction of a sanitary landfill or to help pay the cost of hauling the garbage to a landfill operator.