Probe waste disposal at Bacoor Public Market
In a move hailed by the EcoWaste Coalition as a step in the right direction, the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has begun investigating Bacoor Public Market’s compliance with the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws, pursuant to the writ of mandamus, issued by the Supreme Court in 2008, against various government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and local government units hogging the coastline of Manila Bay like Bacoor City.
During an ocular inspection last Aug. 16, it was discovered that Bacoor Public Market is being operated not by the city government but by HDR Management Inc., a private company that claims to be its legitimate operator since December 2009. It was also revealed during the inspection that this private operator does not have the environmental permits and clearances required by law and that untreated waste water is illegally being discharged from the public market into Zapote River which empties itself into Manila Bay.
If found guilty of these offenses, HDR Management Inc. may be compelled to pay a fine of at least P50,000 per day beginning December 2009 until the day such violations are corrected.
Additional fines may also be imposed against the private company due to its unwarranted refusal to allow the EMB to take water samples from various locations within Bacoor Public Market. The refusal of the private operator to cooperate in the collection of water samples raised a few eyebrows at the EMB, more so since the legal counsel of HDR Management Inc. had earlier made a written commitment to correct the various environmental law violations done by the private company.
If found guilty, HDR Management Inc. will be the first private operator of a public market that will be fined after the 2008 landmark decision of the Supreme Court in Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs Concerned Manila Bay Residents.
—KIELWIN REYES, [email protected]
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