Marine vessels and illegal settlers should be blamed for the problem of waste in Davao’s waterbodies, a legislator said yesterday.
“Cruise ships and inter-island vessels are very fond of throwing waste in the oceans,” Councilor Diosdado Mahipus said.According to the councilor, a legislation was previously passed prohibiting the disposal of garbage in aquatic areas in the city, particularly in Davao Gulf.
“This (situation) even urged me to pass a legislative measure through a resolution a long time ago, to encourage the coast guard and other law enforcement agencies to safeguard our water bodies from becoming a dumpsite,” he said.
Mahipus narrated that cruise ships and inter-island vessels usually avoid the tipping fee in the city which is P3,500 per truckload of waste, “so they throw waste in the oceans instead.”
The councilor noted that despite the local laws protecting the city’s water resources, some law enforcement agencies have been negligent.
“We have enough laws and to pass another law is a redundancy. This is already on the law enforcement side. With the modern facilities of the coast guard like a drone, they will be able to monitor and file a case against violators,” he said.
Mahipus also called for a stricter implementation on the laws on throwing garbage in the Davao gulf.
“Unfortunately, going after offenders does not last long and they just go back to being lenient. But we should be vigilant in making sure that nobody violates it,” Mahipus added.
Another major contributing factor in the ocean wastes, according to Mahipus, are the informal settlers.
“For instance, in Matina Aplaya, those who live in the coastal areas do not care where they throw their garbage. They would just put their garbage sacks in the shore and when high tide comes, these are carried with it,” he said.
Mahipus even noted that he agrees with relocating the settlers away from the coasts. “That should be the case because they do not have the right to live in those areas,” he said.
The councilor also noted that the barangay government unit should coordinate in relocating them.
“They should not just allow their constituents to put up houses anywhere because we have socialized housing program so why allow informal settlers to build stilt houses?” Mahipus said.