The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) celebrated the 21st anniversary of the passage of Republic Act No. 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 in a blended ceremony held on Wednesday, 2 February 2022, at the Amphitheater of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Diliman, Quezon City.

The celebration was led by the Solid Waste Management Division (SWMD) of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and attended by top officials of the environment department.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu joined the activity online. His undersecretaries Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna (Field Operations and Environment) and Benny D. Antiporda (Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns), meanwhile, attended the event in person. They were joined by EMB Central Office Assistant Director, Engr. Vizminda A. Osorio; SCIS Director Hiro V. Masuda; Task Force Tayo Ang Kalikasan Executive Director, Maria Matilda A. Gaddi; and some of the members of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC).

R.A. 9003 was passed by the Philippine Congress on December 20, 2000, and was signed into law by the President on January 26, 2001. The law mandates the adoption of a systematic, comprehensive, and ecological solid waste management program in the country.

In his keynote address, Sec. Cimatu highlighted the accomplishments of the department in solid waste management in the country. He also assured the public that solid waste management remains a top priority of DENR. “Amidst the ongoing pandemic, we will be vigorously overseeing the solid waste management compliance of LGUs, leveraging our people and technology”, the secretary said.

Just the same, he requested the help of the public in building and sustaining stronger partnerships on solid waste management to achieve the vision of a waste-free Philippines. “We need not just government efforts but a whole of society approach to sustain our momentum. All stakeholders must participate actively in reducing the volume of waste generation to have a circular economy we are pushing for”, Sec. Cimatu emphasized.

The environment chief also announced the creation of DENR Metropolitan Environmental Offices (MEO) in Metro Manila. The MEOs – which replace the Field Offices of DENR National Capital Region – will be under the direct supervision of Usec. Cuna, assisted by four Assistant Secretaries and Directors. “The MEOs will be there in your respective areas in Metro Manila to serve as the centerpiece of environmental assistance to the public because of our mission in the DENR, which is to mobilize our citizenry in protecting, conserving, and managing the environment and natural resources for the present and future generations”, Sec. Cimatu said.