Mining firm Benguet Corp. has agreed to expand by five hectares the property it donated to the government to develop Baguio’s engineered sanitary landfill (ESL).
With this addition, the area covered by the planned ESL has been expanded to almost 30 hectares.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said Friday the expanded area now included the spot identified by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as the site feasible for the city’s integrated solid waste facility.
“We are happy that Benguet Corp. agreed to include the 5.1 hectares to the 24.1 hectares that was agreed upon,” Domogan said.
The city government and Benguet Corp. earlier signed a Usufructuary Agreement that allows the free use of a 24.1-hectare area of the company’s titled property in Antamok, Itogon, Benguet for Baguio’s ESL. The area is part of what used to be the company’s open pit mine in the locality.
However, upon inspection by the MGB and the EMB, it was found that no part of the original area is suitable under the guidelines set by the National Solid Waste Commission for an ESL. The site is reportedly near a waterway, which is strictly prohibited.
“The area they identified where we can establish the ESL is outside of the area in the usufructuary agreement. We had to talk with the heads of Benguet Corp. and they assured that they will be glad to give the additional area,” said Domogan.
He explained that they were in the process of revising the agreement to include the additional land.
The city hopes to start the development on the site with the construction of an access road to allow trucks to bring in equipment.
The establishment of an ESL, he said, would put an end to Baguio’s decades-old problem on garbage.
It was explained that for more than 10 years, the city has been hauling its garbage to a private ESL facility in Capas, Tarlac. More than P2 billion has been spent on this arrangement, but it is expected to be addressed once the new ESL is established. (PNA)