Senate passes bill to help landfill issues


The Senate has earmarked 100 percent of the environmental beautification tax to the Solid Waste Management Program as a means to help renovation plans at the Marpi landfill.

Senate Bill 20-6, SD1 was among the legislation that the Senate acted on during their session at the Senate chamber on Wednesday on Capital Hill.

Senate Bill 20-6, SD1, introduced by Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan), is now headed to the House.

SB 20-6, SD1 passed a day after the Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee decided to earmark the entire pot from the environmental beautification tax for the Marpi renovation.

The original language of the bill stated that only 50 percent would be earmarked but the committee, chaired by Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian), recommended amending SB 20-6, SD1 to allocate 100 percent of the fund to the Solid Waste Management Program during a committee meeting on Tuesday.

Hofschneider said earmarking the entire revenue would address the current situation of not only the Marpi landfill but also the nes on Tinian and Rota. “Each municipality or senatorial district has distinct…landfill facilities that needs to be addressed.”

“There is substantial amount of funding available, as far as being available for usage that is something that we are trying to clarify and review. [There is] supposed to be $2.7 million from the excise tax for the solid waste revolving fund.”

He added that the Senate has tasked the Legislative Bureau’s fiscal analyst to get the true figures and where the money is going. “The intent of 20-6 is to make sure that whatever is derived from the funding scheme [beautification tax] should go to solid waste management.”

“We believe that it will be able to sustain and if not generate enough financial funding [for] that,” said Hofschneider.
Current situation

The Marpi landfill has three cells, with Cell 1 being the largest. That cell is almost at capacity due to the debris from Typhoon Soudelor and some from the ongoing development projects on the island.

The contractors of the landfill had estimated that Cell 1 has a capacity that would last up to five years but with the amount of trash that’s being collected it would only last for five more months.

“Cell 2 is prepared and ready to open; however, a Bureau of Environment and Coastal Quality order requires Cell 3 to be prepared before Cell 2 can be opened to the public,” said Palacios in the bill.

“The [Department of Public Works] recently reported that it will cost $4 million to prepare Cell 3 for public use and $13 million is required to cap the cell once it is filled up. The Marpi landfill appears to be in a state of emergency and requires at least $17 million to close Cell 1 and open Cell 2 to the public.”

This is where the solid waste revolving fund comes in.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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