Romblon group calls on Sandiganbayan to act on congressman’s graft case before Oct.

THE Romblon Alliance Against Corruption and Dynasty (RAACD), led by journalist Nick B. Ferrer, urged the Sandiganbayan on Monday to speed up the trial against Representative Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona for graft charges filed in 2004. Mr. Ferrer, in a statement from the RAACD, said the delay of the trial could possibly “work to the advantage of the accused, particularly Madrona who is likely to seek reelection in next year’s congressional race.” Romblon province is a lone district and has only one congressional representative. RAACD member Arlyn F. Servañez said the people of Romblon are awaiting the decision of the anti-graft court to know “if Madrona is qualified to seek any government position if he is found guilty.” The filing of candidacy for the 2022 polls is set Oct. 1-8 this year. Lyndon M. Molino, a former vice mayor of Romblon town, filed the graft charges against Mr. Madrona, then Romblon governor, and two agriculturists, Oscar P. Galos and Geishler F. Fadri, for the purchase of P4.8 million worth of liquid organic fertilizer “through direct contracting and without the required public bidding.” The last hearing of the case was in 2019, and the succeeding hearings were supposedly on Mar. to May 2020 but were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Madrona and the two other respondents filed a petition before the Sandiganbayan in Apr. 2019 against Mr. Molino for indirect contempt “in view of his social media posts pertaining to the disposition of the Sixth Division of this Court” in the graft case. The anti-graft court dismissed the contempt case in Jan. this year saying it “does not find a clear and present danger” in the Facebook posts “that would bring about disrepute or even scorn to the proceedings of the Sixth Division of the Court” in the case of Mr. Madrona and his co-accused. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago

Bangsamoro land dispute committee ready to address Marawi claims

THE Bangsamoro region’s Land Dispute Resolution Committee (LDRC), an arbitration body for settling conflicting claims, is ready to address issues in Marawi, which have been among the factors holding back the rehabilitation program for the city’s war-torn areas. The LDRC approved last week its implementing guidelines and resolutions as well as its financial work plan, according to a statement from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The committee, chaired by BARMM Human Settlements and Development Minister Hamid Aminoddin D. Barra, is intended to cater to land-related conflicts through negotiation to avoid the longer and more tedious court system. “Mas mapapabilis ang rehabilitation ng Marawi (This will further speed up the rehabilitation of Marawi),” said Task Force Bangon Marawi Deputy Manager Antonio B. Sugarol. The creation of the LDRC was ordered by Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario, who chairs the Marawi task force.

Baguio returns to Metro Clark firm for waste disposal after Urdaneta landfill closure

THE FORMER Irisan dumpsite in Baguio is currently being transformed into an eco-park.

BAGUIO City is again tapping Metro Clark Waste Management Corp.’s (MCWM) sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac for its waste disposal after the Urdaneta facility was ordered closed by the Environment department. In a statement Sunday, the local government said the city council has given Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong authority to enter into an agreement with MCWM, preferably on a monthly contract so that the city can readily transfer should it find a facility that is nearer and with cheaper tipping fees. “Due to the closure of the Urdaneta Waste Management facility, the city government of Baguio must immediately look for a new repository or disposal facility for its residual wastes to avoid piling up which may lead to serious health and environmental concerns,” reads the council resolution. Baguio used to bring its residual waste to the Capas landfill before transferring to the nearer and cheaper Urdaneta landfill. “The savings realized by the city when it was using the Urdaneta facility as compared to that in Capas, Tarlac was very significant,” City General Services Office head Eugene D. Buyucan said. The Urdaneta landfill was ordered shut by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) earlier this month for violations of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and the Philippine Clean Water Act. Baguio’s own landfill in Irisan was ordered closed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission in 2012 based on a writ of kalikasan, a legal measures on people’s right to a healthy environment, issued by the Supreme Court. However, it continued to operate until 2019 when the DENR issued a cease and desist order. The Irisan dumpsite is now in the final stages of conversion into an eco-park. Mr. Buyucan said Baguio, a popular mountain city tourist destination, was producing an average 180 tons of garbage per day before the coronavirus pandemic, which went down to 150 tons daily last year.