Message of UNDP Country Director, Mr. Toshihiro Tanaka

Apr 22, 2013

Launch of the Solid Waste Management Compliance Program, Office of the Ombudsman, Quezon City

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales;
Deputy Ombudsman Gerard Mosquera;
DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero;
DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo;
Zero Waste Philippines Sussana Guerero;
Officers and staff of the Office of the Ombudsman;
Partners, and friends from civil society, government and development agencies;
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen;

Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat!

Despite the passage of the Solid Waste Management Act in 2000, I understand that the Filipino society still faces a major problem in dealing with solid waste. In 2007, there were 677 open dumpsites, 343 controlled dumps, and 21 landfills in the country, with an additional 215 landfills proposed to be set up nationwide.

With the growing Philippine population as well as the high economic growth expected in the coming years, the amount of solid waste to be managed is increasing on an alarming rate. However, as of 2012, only 26% of local government units (LGUs) completed their waste management plans as required by law.

The lack of compliance and the increased untreated solid waste endanger the health and sanitary conditions of Filipino families, and cause the degradation of the quality of their living environment. Landfills and open dumps account for 34 percent of human-related methane emissions to the atmosphere that is one of the major causes of a global warming. It is, therefore, of critical importance that LGUs improves their compliance rating to the Solid Waste Management Law, so that Filipino citizens will not be denied their right to a safe, sustainable, and healthy environment to live.

Solid waste management is a common challenge for both developed and developing countries. It is not difficult to imagine, that the larger the economy becomes, the greater the quantity and complexity of the solid waste will be.

Three Rs, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, are particularly important principles of successful solid waste management. It is now common practice for many countries whereby all HHs need to separate the solid waste into various categories and place it at identified place on specific time and date of the week. It is important to remind each and every one of us, that citizens are all producers of solid waste. All of us–mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, children and elders–are responsible for managing our solid waste. Do not throw it anywhere, keep your community clean. Think 3Rs first even before you buy any product from the market.

Private sector participation is also the key to succeed. In Manila, I was educated by a shop keeper that they would buy back the empty beer bottles. It helped me a lot in reducing my solid waste and boosted my morale because I do not need to throw away those bottles and even receive a peso back.

Natural disasters created a lot of debris to clear. Tsunami in Japan created such enormous amount of debris or solid waste that has been distributed to various local government units all over the country for treatment.

UNDP has been working on debris clearing and now debris management of Typhoon Pablo affected areas. We have built temporary dumpsites and now working on reuse and recycling of the millions of coco lumbers, woods and other kinds of materials of destroyed infrastructure.

UNDP commends the Office of the Ombudsman, led by the Honorable Carpio-Morales and her Deputy Gerald Mosquera, in launching this timely initiative. I believe that this program has great potential to inspire, encourage, and promote cleaner and more effective environmental governance at the local level. By involving civil society in the process of monitoring and evaluation of local solid waste management, this project can help build the support, the commitment, and the confidence to enhance environmental governance throughout the archipelago.

UNDP will remain committed to protecting the environment and enhancing environmental accountability in the Philippines. We will continue to work with the Ombudsman, national government agencies (especially those present here), and civil society organizations to strengthen the Ombudsman’s capacity to institutionalize and operationalize environmental integrity and accountability.

May this program inspire greater environmental integrity and accountability across the archipelago, and may it improve the lives of Filipino citizens at the grassroots level. 

Maraming salamat po!



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