PUBLIC OFFICIALS TOLD TO IMPLEMENT ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
ILOILO CITY — The Office of the Ombudsman has warned local government officials that they can be charged if they fail to carry out environmental laws.
Pio Gargantes, regional director of the Office of the Ombudsman 6, said the Environmental Ombudsman is directed to investigate and assess local government units (LGUs) which fail to implement the law, particularly the Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2001.
The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has an office that closely works with the Environmental Ombudsman, he said in an interview Wednesday.
“The EMB will evaluate the issue, call the officials in order for them to rectify and if they will not comply, it is the EMB who will act as complainant,” he added.
The Ombudsman will then conduct preliminary and/or administrative investigation to the concerned public official.
The liabilities that will be faced by the public official will depend on the extremity of the violations committed, Gargantes said.
He said public officials should know that environmental protection is one of their responsibilities.
“We call to public officials, especially elective, that once they file their certificate of candidacies to run for a position, they should bear in mind that the environment is included there. From the barangay level up to the top officials, they are supposed to know that,” he said.
The Office of the Ombudsman will take part in the Visayan Sea Expedition this April 4 to 9 at Isla Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo and Bantayan Island, Cebu.
The expedition aims to urge the public to stop illegal fishing activities in the Visayan Sea