The municipal dumpsite of Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur is a sad story of abuse and indifference by the elected leaders of the town and barangay. It was a case of a bad deal.
In July 2001 after elected on his first term as mayor of Sto. Domingo, Floro Tadena requested the punong barangay of probably the smallest-voting barangay but which election results showed highest percentage of support to Tadena - Sto. Tomas a favor: a temporary dumpsite for the mounting market garbage. The punong barangay out of genuine goodwill offered a land portion he possessed.
But probably due to kapalmuks (traditional politicos are generally afflicted with it), Floro kept dumping until November 2004 when the people no longer could stand the threat to their groundwater and health. 100% of the households use natural groundwater for their use and drinks. Then of course, there is the health hazard brought naturally by garbage - air, land and water pollution / contamination.
RA 9003 provision (that is the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 law) under Chapter 4 section 45 that: "(5) Incentives to Host LGUs - who host waste management facilities shall be entitled to incentives", the abusive mayor only shrugged his shoulders despite the annual savings they posted. In addition, the people at barangay Sto. Tomas have their own backyard pits to throw their wastes so that they hardly used the dumpsite for their own. Today, several metro poblacion barangays benefit from it aside from the public market and various LGU facilities. On the other end, Sto. Tomas never benefited a single centavo nor any thing at all for the risks and hazards they had to endure.
In November 2004, the people of Barangay Sto. Tomas submitted their Petition for the Closure of the dumpsite for the various reasons stated above. In mid-2005, Floro went to the Barangay for a dialogue promising to abide by the prescribed RA 9003 operation of dumpsites.
He failed to act on his verbal promises leading to the death of a six-year old who freely strayed at the hazardous dumpsite together with his friends to fetch a ball floating on top of the 25-30 feet deep garbage pit (above photo). When sent a reminder about the petition, Floro acted as if nothing happened. In Friday, December 15, 2011, the petitioners through their spokesperson filed a case against Floro Tadena and the current Municipal Solid Waste Management Chairman (it cannot be avoided although the latter, Floro's own brother, maybe innocent at most) at the Ombudsman which was subscribed by lawyer Alex Ramos. The petitioners hope that their case will be judiciously considered.
In the Philippines where democracy is for the people with money, by the people with money, and of the people with money, this is of course wishful thinking, but we can wait for the mean time.