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Environmental activists and lawyers harassed near controversial landfill in Aloguinsan Cebu

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A group of lawyers and environmental activists from different cause-oriented groups in Cebu came to visit Aloguinsan which is situated roughly around 60 kilometers from Cebu City were harassed by some men near the controversial landfill though this was not specified . A video has been shared under the account of Kimberly Monterde showing the encounter.

Perhaps, this was the exact same landfill that was used by the Cebu City government and other municipalities or cities in the South to dump their waste which previously have been warned by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 to stop its operation in 2018 for its non-compliance to environmental regulatory requirements, ¬†However, according to the residents as detailed in Kimberly Monterde’s post that up until now the landfill continues to accept 30 to 50 trucks a day.

Many of the local residents complained about the awful stench emanating from the landfill also diseases were rampant amongst the local populace with some were even diagnosed with TB and Dengue Fever, which most probably be due to the unsanitary environment near the landfill. This could have jolted one of its residents Sonny Cirunay to submit a petition in the Court of Appeals to issue a temporary environmental protection order as a way to stop the landfill operations.

According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, health is seriously at risk from those who live within five kilometers of a landfill site. Especially, if that particular landfill has no proper waste-water facilities like the one in Aloguinsan Cebu.

Kimberly narrated in his post how the group convened outside the empty/ unused MRF facility of Aloguinsan which is opposite the entrance of the said landfill around 10-15 meters away from its gate. However, the owner of the said landfill refuses to let them in and also local residents approached them about the vile stench coming from the landfill and how many of them have been struck with deadly diseases like TB and Dengue Fever due to the seemingly unsanitary conditions inside the landfill.

After taking note of their complaints. The group then moved out and convoyed away from the said area. However, just after a minute or two a tinted van with no plate number deliberately blocked their way to stop them from leaving and a man alighted from the vehicle to approach them. The guy proceeded to ask if they entered the said landfill or not which they then told him that they haven’t and that had to leave now because they have children with them. The man went back to to the van and then moved his vehicle so they could pass.

The harassment has not stopped there, since after some time when the group were already happily frolicking the waves and enjoying their lunch. They saw one uniformed and two plain-clothes policemen asking the owner of the beach resort who they are, how many they were, who made the reservation, etc. One of the two drivers who drove their vehicle also reported that the police asked for his license and took a picture of it. Fortunately for the group, a local resident escorted them out to the next city to ensure their safety.

Please watch the video below

Today, we went on a trip to Aloguinsan – a 4th class municipality on the south of Cebu and about 60km away from Cebu City. Aloguinsan is known for beautiful azure beaches, farm resorts, the Boho River, Hermit's Cove and more. We arrived at our destination after three hours of travel. Our destination was the Landfill that is being used by Cebu City and other municipalities or cities in the South. Residents say that on some days, 40-50 trucks of garbage are deposited on this particular landfill. Our group composed of lawyers from different organizations, convened outside the empty/ unused MRF facility of Aloguinsan which is opposite the entrance of the Landfill. We were about 10-15 meters away from open gate of the Landfill where we heard the plight of the residents – how the landfill generates an awful smell that the residents had to endure, and that dengue and TB cases have been rising which may be attributed to the landfill which remains unchecked as they (the owners) refuse to let anyone go inside. How letters and pleas to DENR have fallen on deaf ears. After this short session, we piled into the vans and convoyed towards the beach where we were going to eat lunch. We were driving for a minute or two when the vehicle in front of us stopped bec it was blocked by an SUV. The driver of the SUV got out and interrogated the people in the first vehicle. Two people on motorbike then arrived from the direction of the landfill and after getting instructions from the person/s inside the SUV, one of them then came towards us in the second van and asked if we went inside the landfill. We said we did not and I told him to check their CCTV and to let us go bec we have children with us. He reported back to the SUV and after a few minutes, the black SUV moved forward to go past us. This was the time we saw that it was heavily tinted and it bears no plate number. We continued to the beach and ate lunch. When we were on our way to the vans, we saw one uniformed and two plainclothes policemen asking the owner of the beach resort who we are, how many were we, who made the reservation, etc. One of the two drivers also reported that the police asked for his license and took a picture of it. A resident escorted us out to the next city to ensure our safety. Thanks for a warm welcome, Aloguinsan. #DefendtheDefenders #Aloguinsan #Repost

Posted by Kimberly Monterde on Saturday, November 9, 2019

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