Baguio needs neighboring towns’ help to solve its garbage problem

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BAGUIO CITY — A Baguio City councilor is pleading with the city’s neighboring towns to let Baguio retain its temporary dumping site in Tuba, Benguet for about a year while the city works to have its own engineered sanitary landfill.

“We are asking for the cooperation of the municipalities. Their help would prove how strong our neighborhood ties are,” Baguio Councilor Elaine Sembrano told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview late Tuesday afternoon.

Sembrano was asked to comment on the stench of Baguio’s temporary waste transfer station in Barangay Poblacion in Tuba, Benguet.

The dumping site is within the stock farm owned by the Bureau of Animal Industry under the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Late last year, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol gave Baguio the go signal to use the area, measuring about 5,000 square meters, for about a year.

But residents around the area are disgusted by the dump, saying it poses health risks to them.

Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso, in a separate interview also on Tuesday, even expressed support for the townsfolk’s plan to ask the agriculture secretary to withdraw his approval to Baguio’s plea to use the stock farm as a temporary repository of the city’s garbage.

As head of Baguio City government’s committee on health and sanitation, Sembrano said she would make sure Baguio is complying with the sanitation conditions stipulated in the agreed use of DA’s stock farm.

As such, she said she would work for a regular monitoring of the facility to ensure the safety and health of the public, especially those living in Barangay Poblacion, where the questioned dump is located.

“Yung mga basura, nasa truck lang dapat. We are very serious about it, we are keeping our word na walang malalaglag sa lupa na basura kasi it will definitely affect their health (We are serious in saying that the garbage should be kept on the trucks and that nothing falls to the ground, as this would definitely affect the health),” Sembrano said.

According to her, the so-called BLISTT, comprised of Baguio and the towns of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay of Benguet province, are contiguous with each other, “sharing the same problems and issues”.

Sembrano said BLISTT should be working together in addressing concerns.

“We have nowhere to cling on to but our neighbors. Help us. In the future, we will not forget such kindness and will extend the same assistance to you. Who knows what partnership we can also enter into,” she said, addressing the Benguet towns. “Baguio is not just for Baguio. It is for everybody — tourists visit the city, students from BLISTT study in Baguio, and everybody comes to the city for relaxation and other needs.”

She said Baguio’s request was for the neighboring towns of Benguet to let the city use the dumping facility for only about a year while it puts up its own engineered sanitary landfill, “whichever will come firs (PNA)

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