MANILA, Philippines – Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto suspended two high-ranking officials of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) after several establishments were found operating despite violations of environmental laws.
“This comes after I led the spot inspections of several establishments that are dumping waste water into our drainages. We have discovered a suspicious trend in our CENRO,” Sotto said on his official Facebook page on Wednesday, October 16.
Last week, before his State of the City Address marking his first 100 days in office on October 8, Sotto inspected and ordered the closure of the commissary of restaurant chain Razon’s of Guagua. The facility had no sewage treatment plant, and was releasing waste water and hogs’ blood straight into the drainage and even onto the street.
Sotto then said there were other establishments in the city with similar violations, prompting him to warn the CENRO and hunt down the inspectors or officials who gave permits allowing those establishments to continue operating.
“Multiple inspectors have reported that they are routinely told to look the other way after they find environmental violations,” Sotto said on Wednesday as he announced the suspension – without pay – of the two CENRO officials.
Sotto earlier said he would find out why environmental inspectors let violations slide, whether they feared reprisals from the violators or received bribes, before making any accusations.
But if any city official or inspector is found guilty of corruption, Sotto vowed to go after them and put them in jail.
“If we want to clean our rivers, we need to be able to enforce environmental laws without fear or favor, without bribes and protectors,” Sotto said on Wednesday. – Rappler.com