House moves to regulate use of treatment technology for trash

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading House Bill 6893, seeking to regulate the use of treatment technology for municipal and hazardous wastes to pave the way for the necessary and modern solution to the perennial garbage problem that has been a major headache of the government.

The approved Regulation of Waste Treatment Technology Act proposal was sponsored by Rep. Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija), chairperson of the committee on ecology..

The bill provides that thermal and other treatment technologies for the disposal of municipal and hazardous wastes, or for the processing of any material for fuel, whether for commercial use or not, shall be designed and operated to meet the standards established in the proposed Act and its implementing rules and regulations.

These technologies shall be fitted with equipment that will continuously monitor, record and make publicly available the reported data on their emissions or air pollutant concentrations. Units that recover energy shall be prioritized.

Entities utilizing units shall incorporate in their facilities or operations proper materials recovery program.

The bill mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to implement and enforce the Act. It shall promote the use of modern, environmentally-sound and safe technologies for the handling, treatment, thermal or non-thermal destruction, utilization, and disposal of residual wastes.

Meanwhile, the local government units (LGUs) shall be mandated to promote, encourage and implement in their respective jurisdiction a comprehensive solid waste management plan that includes waste segregation, recycling and composting.

The establishment of treatment facilities shall be established by LGUs within a region, province, or strategically clustered LGUs in consonance with their respective 10-year solid waste management plans made consistent with the national solid waste management framework pursuant to Republic Act No. 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The solid waste management plans of LGUs shall be subject to the approval of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).

The owner, and/or operator of a waste treatment facility shall be responsible for compliance with the standards promulgated for it establishment and operation.

There shall be fiscal tax incentives granted to registered enterprises which would invest in waste treatment facilities. These include income tax holiday; tax and duty exemption on imported capital equipment and vehicles within the first 10 years of operation; and tax and duty exemption of donations, legacies and gifts.

They can also avail of non-fiscal incentives provided for under the Omnibus Investments Code; financial assistance program provided by government financial institutions such as Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and others; allocate five percent of their loan portfolio to waste treatment projects; extension of grants to LGUs; and incentives to host LGUs.

Lastly, the bill provides for fines and penalties for violators of the Act or the standards, or rules and regulations promulgated for treatment facilities under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1586; RA 6969, otherwise known as the Toxic Substances and Hazardous, and Nuclear Waste Control Act 1990; RA 9003; and RA 9275, otherwise known as the Clean Water Act of 2004.

For waste-to-energy facilities, the penal schemes established under the Philippine Grid Code and Philippine Distribution Code, pursuant to RA 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, shall likewise apply for this purpose.

The NSWMC shall submit an annual report to the President of the Philippines and to Congress on the status of the disposal management and the use of treatment facilities in the country not later than March 30 of every year following the approval of the Act.

Authors of the bill include Speaker Pantaloon Alvarez, Reps. Carlito Marquez, Estrellita Suansing, Carlos Cojuangco, Manuel Luis Lopez, Gabriel Bordado, Jr., Mohammed Khalid Dimaporo, Anthony Bravo and Jose Enrique Garcia III, among others.

Source: House of Representatives

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