THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued a cease-and-desist (CDO) order against the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) over its alleged failure to meet wastewater standards.
The development was confirmed by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in a text message to SunStar Cebu Saturday night, Nov. 23, 2019.
“Yes, a CDO was issued by EMB (Environmental Management Bureau) on the wastewater discharge of the CPDRC. We have immediately instituted measures to address the situation,” she said.
In a phone interview, Warden Reynaldo Valmoria said he received the CDO from EMB 7 on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 20.
Two days later on Friday, Nov. 22, Valmoria met with Garcia and officials of the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO), Provincial General Services Office and Provincial Legal Office to discuss the matter.
“I immediately made an endorsement to the legal office because it’s a legal matter. During our meeting with the governor, we agreed to conduct a dislodgment of our septage chamber on Monday (Nov. 25),” Valmoria said in a mix of English and Cebuano.
“In so far as the Province is concerned, action has been taken right after we received the order,” he added.
SunStar Cebu tried to ask for a copy of the CDO from Valmoria, but it was not available as of press time.
Valmoria, though, clarified that the CDO was for the facility’s reported failure to meet wastewater standards.
“There is no leaking in our drainage facility. It’s just that the test results showed that we had failed to comply with certain points, technical concerns,” he said in Cebuano.
Nearby residents of Barangays Kalunasan and Guadalupe in Cebu City have been complaining about the bad smell from the facility since 2011.
In December 2016, the DENR 7 started collecting water samples from the Langub Shrine Creek in Barangay Guadalupe to determine if human waste was being dumped there.
The samples collected were submitted for tests to determine the presence of organisms and bio-chemical oxygen.
But while residents had claimed that the smell came from the Cebu City Jail and CPDRC, EMB officials at that time did not dismiss the fact that some houses in the area were situated near the creek.
On July 17, 2019, the Kalunasan barangay council passed a resolution asking the Provincial Government and the Cebu City Government to take immediate action against the foul odor from the two detention facilities.
A day after, on July 18, Governor Garcia directed the PEO to evaluate for infrastructural lapses at the CPDRC and to take necessary actions to address these. / RTF