D.O.S., Maguindanao — The Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officers (MENRO) from Maguindanao municipalities were convened by MENRE Environment Management Services (EMS) on 6 September 2021 to discuss and provide guidance in the compliance of Local Government Units in the province with Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The EMS, led by Director Jalani M. Pamlian, highlighted the semi-annual submission of their respective Self-Compliance Monitoring and Auditing Report (SCMAR), which will be used by the Ministry as a reference in the provision of assistance needed by the respective LGUs. The SCMAR will also be a basis of the Ministry in measuring the completion of the LGUs’ targets specified in their 10-year Solid Waste Management Plans.

Moreover, in response to the necessity of appropriate handling of COVID-19-related wastes, Chief Environmental Management Specialist Engr. Amier Ashan Aplal discussed the standard operating procedures for their disinfection, storage, and disposal. This is also in support of the National Solid Waste Management Commission Resolution No. 1364 s. 2020 stating the adoption of interim guidelines on the management of COVID-19-related health care wastes, and DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2020-147 providing LGUs a comprehensive information on their duties on the handling of such wastes.

On the same day, beach owners along Illana Bay, Brgy. Cusiong, D.O.S., Maguindanao participated in the orientation of Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act and the Presidential Decree 1586 or the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System.The cleanliness of the Bangsamoro water bodies was also raised as a concern, and EMS’ Adopt-an-Estero Program aims to help address this issue. The Adopt-an-Estero is a collaborative undertaking between and among donor-partner, local government units and government agencies, which targets to clean a water body and sustain its cleanliness.

Senior Environmental Management Specialist Engr. Rhaez Mustapha shared to the beach owners the salient features of the Clean Water Act, while Chief Aplal gave an orientation on the application process for acquiring wastewater discharge permits.

Furthermore, Chief EMS Nasser Awal discussed the fundamentals of PD 1586 as invited business owners are needed to secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate for their operations and for every proposed project.

It was underscored during the EMS’ technical meeting with MENROs and beach owners, together with Community ENRE Officer Noroden Abdullah, that habitual monitoring is essential as part of the restrictions on the use of natural waters. Through the Recreational Waters Monitoring Program, the Ministry aims to regulate and monitor fecal coliform and pH levels in recreational waters and publish these data for the reference and information of the Bangsamoro constituents.