MOA between LGU, DENR, schools inked

Ten schools within Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) are pilot areas for the National Ecosavers Program (NEP) in the region, it was known in a forum last week.

Among those chosen are Rizal Elementary School and Rizal National High School in Baguio City; Tawang ES and La Trinidad National High School; Kabuyao ES and Tuba NHS; Sablan Central School; Alejo Pacalso Memorial National High School in Itogon; Baayan ES and Tublay School of Home Industries, (TSHI) main.

The schools receive P25,000 each as seed money for the project duration of ten months; which could be extended if seen as viable. The school may launch a waste material exchange or garbage diversion program with a recycler, with the return of investment (ROI) or proceeds back to the trust fund, Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Management Board (DENR-EMB-CAR) Regional Director Reynaldo Digamo said.

The project which started in 2013 is anchored on RA 9003, and partners with the local government concerned, DENR and school, represented by the school head, as primary implementor. Pupils and students segregate household waste and contribute the recyclables to their schools through a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Entered in individual NEP passbooks, these are weighed, compiled and exchanged for cash or school materials, Ricardo Dang-iw of the DENR-CAR office clarified.

Recyclers or junk shop owners enter into an agreement with school heads as to recyclables delivery or pick-up, and penalties would be charged for violations, such as non-appearance or back-tracking from the contract,Dang-iw also said. A work and financial plan should be prepared for the project.

The schools are monitored by the DENR and monthly awards are given for the highest volume of recyclables collected by the student, class, teacher, principal and school, it was known.

Updates, issues and enhancements of the program including best strategies, experiences and lessons learned would be documented and accepted for future plans and projects, DENR-CAR official Engr. Alex Luis confirmed.

The project may also be modified, amended and supplemented, with technical assistance provided by the DENR-EMB-CAR, Dwight Daodao of the same office, said.

A tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by RD Digamo, La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda, Tublay Mayor Armando Lauro, Sablan Mayor Arthur Baldo, Benguet Schools Division Superintendent Marie Carolyn Verano, school heads and barangay officials for individual school programs.

Assistant City Environment and Parks Management Officer Ruben Cervantes represented the city during the forum.

According to Digamo, the program aims to reduce solid waste in households, encourage students at young age to practice waste segregation, work hand in hand with the community for waste diversion, and strategize learnings for technical and capability assistance.

The program is complemented by earlier community-based solid waste management in the barangays -juliegfianza