DENR poised to recommend lifting Writ of Kalikasan over Baguio’s decommissioned dumpsite

11 March 2021 – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) is poised to recommend to the Supreme Court the lifting of the Writ of Kalikasan issued in 2012 over the decommissioned Irisan dumpsite.

This was announced by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong following a site inspection Wednesday, March 10 with the DENR-CAR Regional Director Ma. Victoria Abrera and city department heads.

The mayor said Director Abrera committed that her agency will recommend to the Supreme Court to lift the Writ of Kalikasan issued in 2012 mandating the closure of the over five-hectare dumpsite.

The high court issued the Writ of Kalikasan following the avalanche of tons of garbage from the decommissioned dumpsite at the height of Typhoon Mina in 2011. Heavy rains caused tons of garbage to cascade down Asin Road and up to Tadiangan, Tuba leaving six people dead.

While the city government stopped using the area as dumpsite earlier in 2008, the mountain of garbage remained until Typhoon Mina battled the city in 2011 causing a trash slide.

The city government exerted efforts in cleaning the trash slide as well as hauling out of stocked piled mix waste in compliance with the order of the court for a Safe Closure and Rehabilitation Plan as required under Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Mayor Magalong said as a long-term solution, the city government envisioned turning the decommissioned dumpsite into an ecological park.

He immediately inspected the decommissioned dumpsite in July 2019 upon taking his seat as local chief executive. He promised that in his term as mayor, the stench smell of the area will be addressed and the dumpsite turned into an eco-park.

The City Engineering Office prepared the technical and engineering development plan for the ecological park with the construction of path walks and bamboo huts, while the City Environment and Parks Management Office helped in the regreening works initially planting vetiver grasses for slope stabilization.

Ongoing improvement include a parking space for future visitors since the city government plans to open the area to the public once rehabilitation efforts have been completed.

Presently, thriving greenery on terraces can be seen with recyclables utilized as planting materials along available areas.

The project to transform the former Irisan dumpsite to a park costs more than P17M with 175 calendar days to complete.

While the city government continue to use a portion of the area for the operation of its Environmental Recycling System (ERS) machines – turning biodegradable waste into compost fertilizer – the stench of garbage has been eradicated overtime.

Records from the General Services Office (GSO) states that the ERS is processing a maximum of 50 tons of biodegradable waste daily –half of these are generated from vegetable waste at the public market.

Mayor Magalong also noted that the usual recyclables in neighboring houses’ rooftop have been cleaned following his directive for them to clear their stacks of recyclable wastes. – Jessa Samidan