Appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last October 2, 2012, Romy Hidalgo will serve as NGO Representative to the Commission until August 1, 2014.
The NSWMC, chaired by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, oversees the implementation of solid waste management plants and prescribes policies to achieve the objectives of Republic Act 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
Hidalgo comes with a rich community and civic experience given his background as a Rotarian, a Caritas social development advocate, an anti-landfill litigant and as a leader of the EcoWaste Coalition.
“I thank President Aquino, Secretary Paje and the NGO community for their trust and support. I plan to consult widely for a more effective representation of the public interest in our efforts to win the nation’s fight against wastefulness and pollution. I would like to see more emphasis on how organic discards should be managed to meet progressive waste diversion targets. Organics comprise at least 50% of the solid waste and more creative energies and solutions should be focused on managing these,” Hidalgo said.
“With Mr. Hidalgo’s appointment, the EcoWaste Coalition will continue to ensure that the Commission fulfills its mandated function of advocating for real ecological waste solutions. Mr. Hidalgo will champion our vision and those of the communities aspiring to be part of the solution to our waste problems,” said Von Hernandez, President of the EcoWaste Coalition.
Former NGO representatives to the Commission (Eileen Sison, Dr. Metodio Palaypay and Sonia Mendoza) offered Hidalgo their best wishes and even provided some good advice.
“Up to now, the Office of the President has allocated no budget for the NSWMC, restricting what the Commission can do to the resources provided by the Environment Department. We need to advocate for adequate funding to enable the Commission to perform its critical functions,” said Eileen Sison from the Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives.
“Also, the Commission has hardly met except for the technical working group meetings and a lot of new implementing rules and regulations are waiting to be approved, including stricter guidelines on the siting of landfills,” she pointed out.
Dr. Metodio Palaypay from Zero Waste Philippines congratulated Hidalgo and informed him about the possibility and responsibility of presiding over the meetings of the Commission when the Environment Secretary is not available.
“We wish you all the luck and we assure you of the support of the Mother Earth Foundation (MEF). I know yours will be a voice in the wilderness most of the time at the NSWMC, but I know you will be steadfast in your commitment to Zero Waste as we have seen in your work,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairperson of MEF. As per R.A. 9003, the NSWMC, among a long list of functions, approves, reviews and monitors local solid waste management plans in accordance with its rules and regulations.
The Commission is also tasked to “propose and adopt regulations requiring the source separation and post separation collection, segregated collection, processing, marketing and sale of organic and designated recyclable material generated in each local government unit.”