Concerned groups appealed to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday, May 19, to immediately impose stiff sanctions against local government units (LGUs) that fail to remove the campaign materials used in the May 9 national and local elections.
With the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announcing the start of the rainy season, environmental groups warned that the campaign material discards may cause heavy flooding.
As of May 16, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said in a GMA News report that 470 tons of May 9 election campaign materials were collected in the National Capital Region (NCR).
DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III earlier urged the public to report the LGUs that fail to pull down the campaign materials that are still posted in their localities days after the May 9 polls had passed.
He noted that the LGUs that fail to remove all campaign materials in their areas will be issued notices from the department.
Citing a Supreme Court order, Densing explained that they cannot remove campaign materials that are installed, attached or posted in private properties.
On May 11, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año stressed that winning and losing candidates in the May 9 elections and the local government units (LGUs) must remove the campaign materials properly within three days.
In an advisory to the local chief executives (LCEs), Año urged the proper disposal of election propaganda materials in line with environmental laws and local ordinances and regulations against illegal dumping, open burning, and littering.
“Clean-up of election litter is the first order of business after the polls. Aside from incumbent LGU officials, we urge all candidates, winners and non-winners alike, to take it upon themselves to lead in the removal of their campaign materials,” said Año.
He also prodded the use of barangay and LGU material recovery facilities (MRF) to collect and restore reusable materials as well as in coming up with innovative and safe strategies to recycle or upcycle reusable campaign waste materials.
“Impose the responsibility to the organizers of political activities, to ensure that waste generated by their activities, and their attendees will be properly managed and disposed of,” he said in the advisory to LCEs.
At the same time, Año appealed to the public to cooperate and help in the clean-up drive of the campaign material wastes in their respective LGUs and barangays.
“We have done our part in exercising our right to vote. Let’s continue to participate in governance through our simple ways of cleaning up our neighborhood from election litter,” Año pointed out.
The DILG chief noted that the “campaign propaganda made of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials, if improperly disposed of, may have detrimental effects on public health and the environment.’’
He said that “Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003, known as the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act”, says that pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code, the LGUs shall be primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of RA 9003 within their respective jurisdictions. Segregation and collection of solid waste shall be conducted at the barangay level specifically for biodegradable, compostable and reusable wastes: Provided that the collection of non-recyclable materials and special wastes shall be the responsibility of the municipality or city.”
In the 2019 midterm elections, Año said more than 168.84 tons of campaign materials were collected by the LGUs and clean-up groups. (Chito A. Chavez)