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Making RA 9003 Work: Putting Real Issues, Real Solutions in a Real World

A Joint Policy Position Paper of the League of Cities of the Philippines and League of
Municipalities of the Philippines
(draft copy)

Prepared by:

Elmer Mercado
LGU Policy Advisor
January 2006

With technical assistance provided by the Philippine-Canadian Local Government

Support Programme Phase 2 (LGSP II)

A. Overview

The passage of the Republic Act 9003 (RA 9003) or the Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act of 2000 (ESWM) was a landmark environmental legislation in the
Philippines as well as for the newly installed government of President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo who signed the law in 2000 within a few month of her ascension into office. The
Act was a product of long-standing advocacies by many sectors, including local
government units and their constituencies, on the impending problem brought about by
unsystematic management of the country’s solid waste.

However like many good laws passed by the Philippine Congress, RA 9003 has
been plagued and criticized by several sectors as an ‘unrealistic’ and ‘unimplementable’
because of certain provisions of the law. Among these provisions include the ‘time-
bound’ deadlines in the implementation of specific solid waste management activities and
systems such as establishment and conversions of disposal facilities that are deemed
‘unrealistic’ by local implementers particularly LGUs.

Several expert studies have pinpointed the inconsistencies and impracticality of

the existing provisions of the law and its applicability to local conditions particularly with
LGUs. As the mandated frontline implementing agency of RA 9003, LGUs are tasked
with the heaviest burden of operating and sustaining an effective SWM system within the
limited financial, economic, institutional and technical capacities of many LGUs. The
World Bank study on Local Approaches to Environmental Compliance noted that the
“principal obstacles” to environmental compliance and enforcement of environmental
laws in developing countries revolve around constraints that are “political, economic and
institutional.”1 These observations are clearly pictures the real conditions by which RA
9003 is working on in the Philippines.

The law has placed a great burden of responsibility and governance to LGUs on
achieving its goals of instituting an effective, sustainable and ecologically-sound solid
waste management system in the Philippines. This objective is a commonly-shared
vision by many local chief executives and their constituencies. However, such a vision
can only happen if it fits within the real conditions and parameters of the law’s intended
beneficiary communities and constituencies. These include understanding the
‘economic’, ‘institutional’ and ‘political’ conditions of LGUs who are tasked to
implement and sustain the system.

In this context, the first step in making RA 9003 work is to make it real first in the
real world of our LGUs and local communities. This policy paper is intended to present a
real appreciation of the real world of LGUs, primarily tasked by the law, to make an
ecologically-sound solid waste management system in the country real and working.

A. Bianchi, W. Cruz and M. Nakamura (eds). Local Approaches to Environmental Compliance: Japanese
Case Studies and Lessons for Developing Countries. World Bank Institute, Washington. 2005.

B. Real Issues and Real Problems of Philippine LGUs and RA 9003

1.0 Most Philippine LGUs are poor (4th-6th class) and are economically unable to
support an effective solid waste management system in the country.

One of the major arguments for the inability of LGUs to implement RA 9003 is
the financial and economic limitations of most of the country’s LGUs to fund and sustain
an effective solid waste management system as provided for by the law. RA 9003 has
vested and imposed upon LGUs the primary responsibility of implementing the law,
because of its primary role as frontline service agencies of government. However, it did
not vest it with the necessary financial and fiscal resources to be able to effectively
institute and sustain the SWM system embodied under the law. Likewise, the law did not
consider the economic and financial generating capacities of LGUs in the country.

There are a total of 1,693 LGUs in the country broken down as follows: 79
provinces, 116 cities and 1,498 municipalities2. There are also an estimated 41,975
barangays. At present, the LMP has a listed membership of 1, 498 municipalities as of
2003. This does not include the 11 new municipalities created under the ARMM RLA.3
Of these total, almost 2/3 of its members belong to lowest income classes of LGUs (4th-
6th class). ARMM has the largest number of municipalities that belong to the poorest
income class or 6th class municipalities. Data from the income and expenditure
statements generated from the Department of Finance’s Bureau of Local Government
Finance (BLGF) in 2003, listed the average income generated by these 4th-6th class
municipalities are between PhP 15 million -30.0 million, while 1st-3rd class municipalities
(outside of NCR, Regions III and IV)4 have an average income of PhP 50-100 million.
Most of the poor municipalities are scattered all over the country.

In the case of cities, there are a total of 102 cities (outside of the 14 cities in Metro
Manila) as of 2003. Of the total, more than half or 64 cities are classified as high-income
(see Table 2). Forty-six (46) of the 64 are 1st class cities. As per the 2003 Report of the
Audited Financial Statement Report of Cities by the Commission on Audit (COA), the
average income generated by these cities range between PhP 300 million – PhP 600
million. However, in the case of highly-urbanised cities located in the National Capital
Region and several others outside of Metro Manila 5, income generated by these HUCs
exceeded more than PhP 1.0 billion.

The number of municipalities may vary according to source. The number of municipalities in this report
was taken from the LMP’s 2003 membership list. Other sources list the number of municipalities to around
Sec. 19, Art. VI of RA 9054 or the new Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
gives the ARMM Regional Assembly the authority to ‘create, divide, merge, abolish or substantially alter
boundaries of provinces, cities, municipalities or barangays’ within the region.
Several municipalities in these regions have reported incomes of more than PhP 300 million, including
Sta. Rosa and Binan in Laguna. Both municipalities, however, have recently been converted into cities.
Outside of NCR, the cities classified as highly-urbanized are Davao, Cebu, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Gen
Santos, Bacolod, Iloilo, Lucena, and Zamboanga.

Table 1: Classification of Municipalities in the Philippines by Income and Physical
No. of LGUs by Total
Region No. of LGUs by Income Class (1st-6th Physical No. of
Class) Characteristics LGUs*

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Landlocked Coastal

CAR 3 4 2 26 38 3 76 0 76
R1 4 9 23 53 28 0 68 49 117
R2 7 10 13 36 20 4 62 28 90
R3 24 19 24 45 30 0 85 34 119
R4-a 34 13 13 41 29 1 47 84 131
R4-b 9 9 7 27 15 4 6 65 71
R5 6 10 16 47 28 0 30 77 107
R6 3 9 16 69 20 0 54 63 117
R7 1 11 14 46 47 1 31 89 120
R8 3 5 11 41 75 4 34 106 139
R9 1 7 15 31 13 0 34 33 67
R10 3 6 9 31 33 3 43 42 85
R11 9 9 14 9 2 0 22 21 43
R12 12 10 15 7 1 0 36 9 45
CARAGA 5 6 10 19 29 1 24 46 70
ARMM 3 3 8 24 24 32 56 42 98
NCR 3 1 2 3
Totals 130 140 210 552 432 53 708 790 1498
Source: Compiled from the 2003 LMP National Secretariat Database.

Table 2. Income Classification of Cities in the Philippines
Region No. of LGUs by Income Class (1st-5th Class) Total No. of
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
CAR 1 1
R1 1 2 2 3 8
R2 1 2 3
R3 3 2 3 1 3 12
R4 6 1 3 2 12
R5 2 1 4 7
R6 5 4 1 6 16
R7 3 3 3 3 12
R8 3 1 4
R9 2 2 1 5
R10 2 1 3 1 7
R11 1 1 2 1 5
R12 3 2 1 6
CARAGA 1 1 1 3
ARMM 1 1
NCR 14
Total 48 16 18 11 23 116
Source: Commission on Audit, 2004

Table 3. Top Twelve (12) Income Earners for Cities (outside of NCR)
Ranking/ Income Region Province Income Income Earned
City Class Class (in PhP)
Davao 1 XI Davao del Sur 1st 2.22B
Cebu 1 VII Cebu 1 1.82B
Zamboanga 1 IX Zamboanga del 1st 1.22B
Cagayan de Oro 1 X Misamis 1st 1.02B
Calamba 2 IV Laguna 1st 879.9M
Puerto Princesa 1 IV Palawan 1 838.77M
Batangas 1 IV Batangas 1st 835.73M
Antipolo 1 IV Rizal 1 792.36M
Iligan 1 XII Lanao del Norte 2 789.53M
Iloilo 1 VI Iloilo 1st 727.59M
Gen Santos 1 XII South Cotabato 2nd 690.85M
Baguio 1 CAR Benguet 2nd 686.71M
Source: Commission on Audit, 2004

Table 4. Income Classification of Provinces in the Philippines
Region No. of LGUs by Income Class (1st-4th Class) Total No. of
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
CAR 1 5 6
R1 4 4
R2 2 1 1 1 5
R3 5 1 1 7
R4 6 2 1 1 10
R5 2 3 1 6
R6 2 3 1 6
R7 3 1 4
R8 1 3 1 1 6
R9 2 3*
R10 2 1 1 4
R11 3 2 5
R12 1 3 4
CARAGA 1 3 4
ARMM 1 1 2 1 5
Total 35 24 14 6 79
Source: Commission on Audit, 2004

Table 3 further shows that of the top 12 income earners among the cities, five are
provincial capital cities and HUCs from Mindanao, four (4) from Southern Tagalog, and
one each for Benguet, Iloilo and Cebu. The average income for these top income earners
is PhP 800 – 900 million. On the other hand, 3rd – 5th class cities or 52 cities have
incomes lower than PhP 200 million with the lowest classes (5th) of cities barely earning
an average of a little more than PhP 100 million.

In the case of the provinces, out of the 79 provinces in the country, more than
almost half are classified as high-income provinces or 1st class provinces. Many of the
provinces have an average income of PhP 300 million – 700million while the top twelve
(12) provinces have an average range of around PhP 1.0 billion. Of the 10 highest
earning provinces, more than two-thirds are in Luzon with Southern Tagalog having five
(5) of the top earning provinces in the country.

Based on the income data of LGUs, almost two-thirds of all municipalities and
cities in the country are classified as poor LGUs with almost 80 percent dependent from
the internal revenue allotment (IRA) coming from the national government. A similar

number of provinces are also dependent on IRA releases for their incomes even those
classified as 1st class provinces. In fact, two studies made by Dr. Rosario Manasan on the
fiscal generating capacity of LGUs showed that only cities have extended their income
generating capacity beyond their IRA. Of the total IRA received by LGUs, especially
municipalities and provinces, almost 60-70 percent is earmarked for personnel services,
20% as economic development fund (EDF) with little left for maintenance and operating
expenses and/or capital outlay. With a very limited amount for development funds in the
LGUs, SWM activities will have to compete with other contending priorities of the
community and LGUs.

2.0 The cost of operating an effective SWM system is higher than the potential revenues
that can be generated from the system.

On the other hand, the cost of operating a disposal facility and implementing the
10-year SWM plan required by RA 9003 is fiscally impossible for many LGUs to sustain
given the current levels of its income generation including the potential revenues that is
supposed to be generated from garbage and tipping fees, fines and penalty collections,
and income generated from recycled and reused waste materials.

The results of a 2004 study6 by the Solid Waste Management Association of the
Philippines (SWAPP) from 41 LGUs in the NCR, Luzon and Visayas showed that across
all LGUs in the study suffered a fiscal gap (net loss)7 of PhP 945-1,102 per ton to manage
the total amount of waste generated by these LGUs. Divided according to type of LGUs
the net losses amounted to PhP 27.0 million for SWAPP-listed LGUs, 218.13 million for
big (urban) non-SWAPP listed LGUs and PhP 1.66 million for small (rural) non-SWAPP
listed LGUs.8 In its conclusion, the SWAPP study reported that it is costly to implement
a solid waste management programme (without a sanitary landfill) because the cost of
SWMP is higher than the actual revenue that LGUs can get from the activities.

Another SWAPP study involving 3 pilot LGUs (Bayawan, Tacurong and Bais
cities) that have opted to establish a sanitary land fill facility and implement a 10-year
SWM plan as provided for by RA 9003 arrived at a similar conclusion. 9 The SWAPP
study stated that “in general the SWM system in the country is heavily subsidized and

The SWAPP divided the LGUs into SWAPP-listed or assisted LGUs (15), Big/Urban Other (non-
SWAPP) LGUs (10) and Small/Rural Other (non-SWAPP) LGUs (16). The geographical distribution was
NCR (6), Luzon (25) and Visayas (10). The study was presented by Zenaida M. Sumalde during the 4th
SWAPP Conference in Zamboanga City in 2004.
The net loss or fiscal gap was computed based on fiscal gap = total cost – total revenue. Total cost
consisted of up-front cost (equipment, vehicles, facilities, ECC and IEC), operating cost (salaries, supplies,
field and power, maintenance) and back-end cost (closure and post-closure care and support services).
Total Revenue consisted of fee-based (garbage fee, tipping fees, permitting fees, fines and penalties) and
non-fee based revenues (sale of recyclables and compost).
Only four (4) out of the 41 LGUs studied showed a surplus in the implementation of their SWM. These
included 3 SWAPP-listed LGUs (Olongapo, Lipa and Batangas cities) and 1 small LGU (Calasiao,
Lisette C. Cardenas, “Developing a Sustainable Funding Mechanism for Solid Waste Management
Services: The Philippine Experience”, SWAPP, 2004.

financially unsustainable”. It argues that SWM budget is highly dependent on the 20%
EDF and has to compete with other development priorities and concerns of an LGU.

In fact a CIDA-funded expert assessment study estimated that the cost to achieve
the sanitary landfill design standards as provided for in Sections 40 and 41 of RA 9003
are estimated at PhP 119 million per hectare!10 This does not include design and land
acquisition costs. A recently concluded expert evaluation study conducted by JICA
further supports the expense needed to construct and operate a SLF in the country11. The
JICA expert study estimates that the operation of a sanitary land fill under the existing
provisions of the law will cost “more than a hundred million pesos” to construct and

The same conclusion was arrived at by a separate USAID-funded study under the
Philippine Environmental Governance or EcoGov Project on the sustainability of
operating sanitary landfills in the country. Based on this study, it stated that LGUs and
even the major agencies do not have enough experience, technical know-how, financial
capability and political will to sustain the operation of an engineered disposal facility
such as a sanitary landfill.12

Table 5 shows a comparative cost of the proposed and existing SLF facilities of 7
LGUs in the country. It clearly shows the extent of financial cost at the moment for local
LGUs to support the provisions for disposal facilities under RA 9003.

Whilst many LGUs are willing, albeit some are compelled, to fully implement the
law, the conditions of many Philippine LGUs show that they would not be able to
financially support much more sustain the an effective SWM programme in the context
of complying with the provisions of the RA 9003. Even the most progressive and most
economically capable LGUs, most 1st class LGUs (highly-urbanized cities or HUCs) ,
only a handful are deemed capable to complying with implementing a “suitable” solid
waste management system as envisioned in the law.

An in-depth case study of 32 LGUs conducted by the JICA in 2004 showed that
only four (4) out of the 32 LGUs were ranked as “A”.13 According to the study, cities
and municipalities belonging to this category are most likely “able to mobilize funding”
that will be needed for the implementation of a suitable solid waste management system.
The four LGUs deemed ‘suitable’ or ranked “A” was classified as 1st class LGUs.

Todd R. Pepper. Memorandum Report on Technical Appraisal of RA 9003. Essex-Windsor Solid Waste
Authority. Canada. 11 August 2003.
Noboyuki Yamamura “Institutional and Financial Performance Evaluation on Solid Waste Management
in the Philippines,” JICA Philippines. November 2005.
Reynar R. Rollan, “Inputs to Phased Compliance in Solid Waste Disposal, USAID EcoGov Project2,
Pasig City, August 2005.
“Basic Study on the Selection of High Priority Cities/Municipalities for the Establishment of a Suitable
SWM System”, JICA, Manila, November 2004.

Table 5: Estimated Cost of Existing and Proposed SLF Facilities in the Philippines

LGU Cost of Funding Land Waste Estimated Date of

Facility Source Area Volume Life-Span Operation
(PhP (has) Capacity
Subic 340 JBIC loan < 5 has n.d. 20-30 years 2006

Bais 18.8 GTZ loan >1.0ha 10,000 5-10 years 2004

San 100 LogoFind/ 10has 1,000 5-10 years 2006
Fernando, WB
La Union
Puerto 140 WB >5 has 1.6M 5-10 years 2005
Clark Field n.d. Private/ n.d n.d. 10 years 2004
(Capas) German
Bayawan 127 LGU n.d. n.d. 5-10 years 2006
Tacurong 32 LGU < 5 has n.d 5-10 years 2005

Sources: SWAPP, JICA and LCP Reports.

The provision of disposal facility is a major contentious issue that has been raised
by almost all the LGU Leagues in the country because of the ‘fixed’ compliance dates in
the law, particularly on disposal facility. Likewise, the non-recognition of the economics
of LGUs and non-consideration of the fiscal capacity and context of most Philippine
LGUs to support a sustainable SWM system is a reality that bites off the potency of the
law. The recent JICA institutional and financial performance evaluation study
concluded “in the circumstances of many development issues to be tackled by the
Philippine government, (a) too ambitious SWM regime requiring local governments for
significant resource investment would not be guaranteed for effective implementation.”14

3.0. Weak institutionalised technical and financial support structures/systems to local

implementing bodies (i.e. LGUs) of SWM system.

There is no argument that almost all LGUs in the Philippines have limited
technical skills, manpower and capacities to fully implement that vision of RA 9003.
Technical support and assistance to these LGUs from national government agencies is a
critical component of the whole system of achieving the vision of the law. However, this
remains to be seen, particularly in terms of the prioritization provided to the key national
implementing agencies of RA 9003, i.e. Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR).

Noboyuki Yamamura “Institutional and Financial Performance Evaluation on Solid Waste Management
in the Philippines,” JICA Philippines. November 2005.

Billions Fig . DENR Budget, 2000-2004
Constant 2000 Prices

1 2 3 4 5


Source: WB Dec 2005 Mission Report on National Programme Support to Sustainable Environmental and
Natural Resources Management.

Fig 2 Percentage of National Budget by Category


80.0% MOOE



2003 2004 2005

Source: WB Dec 2005 Mission Report on National Programme Support to Sustainable Environmental and
Natural Resources Management.

Despite the pronouncements of the national government over its commitment
towards environmental management and its protection, this commitment has not been
clearly translated into real institutional and fiscal/financial initiatives. In the latest JICA
performance evaluation study on the institutional and financial support of the national
government towards the implementation of RA 9003 concluded that LGUs were not able
to receive enough technical and institutional support from the national government as
stipulated by RA 9003 due to the government’s budgetary constraints.

Over the past several years expenditure budget allocated to DENR was merely
0.5% out of the total national budget. The downtrend in the DENR’s budget over the
last 5 years at constant 2000 prices is shown in Figures 1 and 2. For the 2006 proposed
national budget, the share of DENR remains at 0.5% (PhP 6.3 billion out of PhP 1.053
trillion) with the Department of Education, Public Works and National Defense cornering
almost 20% of the total budget. For an national agency that is mandated to manage and
sustain the country’s natural wealth and resources and where the entire population is
dependent on for their livelihood, economic activity, leisure and sustenance, the DENR’s
ranks eight from among all national agencies in budget priority.

With very limited budgetary support within the DENR, the allocation for SWM
activities is expectedly much lower. Table 6 shows the amount of allocated for SWM
activities (lumped into the EMB and NSWMC budgets) is barely 5-6% of the total DENR
budget over the last 3-years of implementation of RA 9003. Almost half of these
allocations are for personnel and administrative support especially for the EMB’s
regional offices with almost nothing for capital outlays.

Budget for the NSWMC, the nationally mandated inter-agency body to oversee
the implementation of the law is roughly 2.3 percent of the entire DENR budget. The
JICA study estimates that over the last three years of RA 9003’s implementation a mere
PhP 20 million per year was budgeted as national support to the implementation of RA
9003 at the local levels. Broken down further, the regional budgets for SWM activities
amount to only 2-3% of the entire EMB annual appropriations for FY 2006 or an average
of PhP 400,000 each region.

The highest regional allocation for SWM activities was Region V(Bicol) with a
little over PhP 1.0 million while the smallest one was Region IX (Western Mindanao)
with only PhP 200,000. Such dispersal of limited amounts for a very large undertaking
clearly shows the ineffectiveness of any effort to institutionalise a sustainable SWM
system in the country.

Table 6. DENR Expenditure Budget for FY 2003-2006
(Million Pesos)
Fiscal Year 2004 2005 2006 Proposed
DENR 4,482 4,557 6,300
EMB 278 (100) 287 (100) 316 (100)
Personnel 138 (49.6) 124 (43.3) 158 (50.0)
M&O 140 (50.4) 132 (46.2) 145 (45.9)
Capital Outlays - 30 (10.5) 13 (4.1)

(NSWMC/ Secretariat) (1) 6.3 (2.3) 4.0 (1.4) 7.8 (2.4)

(Regional Allocations) (2) 6.1 (2.2) 5.0 (1.7) 7.3 (2.3)
(1) Does not include Personnel of the Secretariat Office
(2) 40% of the SWM related M & O budget of EMB is allocated to the Regions.
Source: N. Yamamura “Institutional and Financial Performance Evaluation on SWM in the Philippines”,
JICA Philippines, November 2005.

Indeed, it is no surprise therefore that over the last 3 years of the law’s
implementation, many LGUs have relied more on technical assistance (such as capacity
building, technical studies, surveys, SWM planning and systems) and external funding
support from donor agencies and NGOs than with the DENR or any other national
government agency for that matter. The JICA study on institutional and financial
performance highlights this reality that the main source of support that LGUs are
receiving as primary implementers of SWM in the country come almost entirely from
multilateral and bilateral donor institutions and NGOs in “ almost every aspects of SWM
implementation”. As indicated in Table 5, most of the SLFs being proposed and
constructed in the country have to be funded either by donor loans or commercial-loans.

The 2004 Accomplishment Report of NSWMC secretariats states that it was only
able to conduct SWM trainings and waste segregation to 4 LGUs and 2,218 barangays or
a little over 5% of the country’s barangays. Likewise, the same NSWMC report that it
provided technical assistance on conversion of disposal facilities to 48 LGUs with no
clear distinction on the type of LGUs assisted, i.e. city or municipality.

The achievement of an effective SWM system in the country is not the sole
responsibility of LGUs but is a common responsibility of the national government, local
government and the community. Local government units is only one of the three legs by
which a sustainable SWM system will work in the Philippines, national government
agencies, specially the DENR, DTI and DILG, among other must play their role. Such
role is a responsibility of the national government to fulfill alongside with LGUs and
local communities. The law requires the NSWMC and other national agencies to provide
technical assistance to LGUs “to the maximum extent feasible”.

Unfortunately, unlike other technical provisions on the establishment of disposal

facilities and local SWM systems, the law did not impose a specific amount nor ‘fixed’
timeframe for the provision of technical assistance and support to be provided to LGUs.

At the moment, it is clear that such support and commitment is not forthcoming with the
existing national priorities of the national government to achieve the goals of the law.

4.0 Other ‘infirmities’ and ‘realities’ faced by LGUs in implementing RA 9003

a. SWM has to compete with other local development priorities

It is a reality that many of our country’s LGUs are poor and with very poor
economies and constituencies. As such the demands and needs of LGUs and their
constituencies centers on providing basic delivery of services and stimulate economic
activities to sustain their existence. The reality of LGUs and pressures to provide basic
infrastructures such as farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, schools and health
centers and services among others, makes prioritizing for SWM activities are very
difficult decision-making process not only among LGUs but also among their

This is further heightened by the reality that development activities can only be
funded from the 20% economic development fund (EDF) of an LGU’s IRA makes it
much more difficult to divert scarce funds away from basic social services and
infrastructure needs. An internal survey conducted by the League of Cities of the
Philippines from 43 member-city respondents showed that majority of the LGU budgets
allocated for SWM implementation was averaging almost 3% of their total budget whilst
several others had significant allocations amounting to more than 10% of their budget.

b. Economies of scale and efficiency factors in implementing an effective SWM


A major element in establishing an effective SWM system as shown in many

countries is the need for ‘economies of scale’ and land base in order to achieve a viable
and sustainable SWM system. In many countries such as the United States, Canada and
Japan, solid waste management systems are often operated and managed at a regional
level in order to establish a viable and working SWM system. Whilst, local community
SWM activities such as segregation and recycling are done at the household levels, the
economic viability of operating the system needs a certain amount of ‘critical mass’ to
become feasible and sustainable.

Existing provisions (Sec 12, 16 and 41) of the law such as individual requirement
for each LGU (i.e. city and municipality) to develop and approve individual solid waste
management plans will have difficulty to sustain operations of their SWM system if not
enough waste is generated to support the system. A technical study by the USAID’s
EcoGovernance project estimated the amount of waste generated by the country’s 1, 696
LGUs (cities and municipalities) showed that a total of 984 LGUs generate less than or
equal to 10 tons per day.15 On the other hand, a mere 33 LGUs, mostly HUCs and large
cities, generated more than 100 tons per day (Pls see Table 7 and Figure 3).

The EcoGov study based their computation on the total amount of per capita generated of 0.3 kg/day for
rural areas, 0.5kg/day for urban areas and 0.7 kg/day for the National Capital Region.

Range No.
1000 1 to 10 984
11 to 20 397
21 to 30 75
31 to 40 34
41 to 50 36
400 51 to 60 18
61 to 70 9
200 71 to 80 9
81 to 90 5
0 91 to 100 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
100 to 200 21
Series1 984 397 75 34 36 18 9 9 5 3 21 12 > 200 12
Total 1603
Figure 3: Distribution of LGUs by Volume of Waste Generated Table 7.
Source: Reynar R. Rollan, “Inputs to Phased Compliance in Solid Waste Disposal, USAID EcoGov
Project2, Pasig City, August 2005.

Given such limited volume of waste generated by more than 2/3 of all LGUs, very
little ‘economies of scale’ will be achieved by individual LGUs and capable to sustain a
working and efficient SWM system in their communities. The EcoGov paper is
proposing a ‘phased compliance’ policy using 3 technical categories for the establishment
of sanitary landfills based on total waste generated by LGUs as an alternative modality to
fulfill the provisions of Secs. 37, 39 – 41 on disposal facilities.16

The same problem of ‘lack of economies of scale’ exists with the provision for
‘establishment of materials recovery facilities’ or MRFs in every barangay in the country
(Sec. 17c and 32 of RA 9003). The CIDA-funded study stated that the collection and
transfer of waste, establishment of MRFs (within land owned or leased by the barangay),
provision of containers and receptacles and segregation by types of waste at the barangay
level of government was “counter to the economy of scale and efficiency factors”
required for a comprehensive and integrated city, municipal or regional solid waste
management system. It estimates that the provision requiring barangays to issue 2
containers/receptacles for different waste categories (compostables and recyclables) for
each household would cost around PhP 1,500/household or an average of PhP 300,000
per barangay17 or PhP 12.6 billion for all 42,000 barangays in the Philippines.

Please see Annex 1 for brief description of ‘phased compliance’ proposal for sanitary landfills.
The average number of households per barangay based on official NSO standards is 200 households.

The study argues that it would be physically impossible to manage, let alone
establish 42,000 different waste management systems and integrate them within the
required timeframes and requisites imposed by the law. In the same manner, the
provision each barangays to establish MRFs in lands’ owned or leased by the LGU will
not only be very expensive but physically limiting given the different geographical
characteristics, waste generated and population size of local barangays.

c. High-end and state-of-the-art SWM system in a low-end, low-tech local


As in most developing countries, it will take some time before the LGUs can
move forward to the engineered and state-of-the art solid waste management system as
envisioned in RA 9003. The USAID study presented that considering the history and
current state of the country’s waste disposal management system that it falls within the
“lower levels” of the evolutionary improvement in solid waste management.

Figure 4: Evolutionary Improvement in Solid Waste Management18

Improvements in Landfill
siting, design &
construction Engineered Higher
landfill environmental


Open Solid Waste Disposal

dumping in the Philippines

Philip Rushbrook and Michael Pugh. Solid Waste Landfills in Middle and Lower Income Countries,
A Technical Guide to Planning, Design and Operations, World Bank, Washington, DC.1999

d. Conflicting and incomplete implementing guidelines.

Finally, RA 9003 was revolutionary because of its strong and firm vision to
achieve an ecologically sound solid waste management system in the Philippines in the
soonest possible time. The law’s provisions are both elaborate and specific in terms of
the technical and ‘time-bound’ provisions it demands for LGUs to establish an
ecologically sound SWM system in the country. However, several major technical
provisions needs to be further immediately clarified and elaborated by the NSWMC to be
effectively implemented at the local levels. These provisions though remain incomplete
and vague.

Among the technical provisions that are critical to fully implement the laws are:

i. Sec 16. SWM Planning and Programming for Alternative SWM strategies to
comply with Sec. 37 (Closure of Controlled Dumps)

This section provides for the development of alternative SWM strategies

and a timetable or schedule of compliance to Sec. 37 (disposal facilities) that
should be incorporated into a LGUs 10-year SWM plan . The submission and
approval of the 10-year SWM Plan must be done by the NSWMC as provided in
Sec. 16. However, the Act remains silent on what kinds of alternative measures
are allowed or recommended. The only alternative provided under the Act and
IRR for compliance with Sec. 37 is sanitary landfill! This alternative clearly is no
alternative as clearly presented in this paper and by other technical/expert studies
conducted by different donor-funded projects and agencies.

ii. Sec. 37- 39 Prohibition of Open Dumps and Closure of Controlled Dumps

This section is the most contentious issue for LGUs not only because of its
lack of alternatives or single alternative proposed for compliance, namely
construction of sanitary landfills (SLFs)19 but moreso because of the deadline
imposed for LGUs to shift to SLF by February 2006, a mere five years after the
passage of the Act. As many studies have proven the deadlines imposed for the
shifts in existing SWM systems in a developing country like the Philippines is
‘overly ambitious’ and ‘impractical’ to the current conditions of LGUs.

iii. Financing for SWM

There are three (3) provisions for financing SWM and financing assistance
to LGUs to support the establishment, operation and maintenance of their SWM

The Act does not explicitly states that the alternatives for conversion of controlled dumps by February
2006 are SLFs. But provisions under Article 6 (SWM Facilities allowed in the Act) and the IRR have
placed very specific and clearly defined technical requirements for SLFs (Sec. 40-41) as the only
alternative disposal facility that would comply with the provision of Sec. 37 (Closure of open dumps and
conversion of controlled dumps).

system and facilities. These financing mechanisms are LGU grants (Sec. 45),
SWM Fund (Sec. 46) and collection of fees (Sec. 47). The first two schemes are
impractical and limited because they have to be annually budgeted through the
General Appropriations Act (GAA). The continuing fiscal deficit and
diminishing budget allocations for DENR clearly shows that such fund
mechanisms will not be a reality for LGUs in the near future. This does not
consider the fact that specific provisions and guidelines for accessing these funds
have not been prepared.

In the end, only the provision for fee collections and imposition of fines
and penalties by LGUs is the ONLY provision under the Act that can augment the
LGU’s financial requirements to augment their IRA allocations and support their
local SWM systems. At the moment, the determination by LGUs of garbage
disposal fees is vague and erratic. Many LGUs as shown by previous studies are
subsidizing garbage collection fees by as much as 60-70% of actual collection
costs. This is because garbage fees are imposed as one-time payment rather than
by volume or per kilo/sack. At the same time, most garbage collection system
covers only a fraction of the whole population, particularly households in urban or
centrally-located barangays.

Finally, a good part of the reason for such low garbage and tipping fees
imposed by LGUs are political. A willingness-to-pay survey conducted by the
JICA institutional and financial performance evaluation study showed that local
people views garbage disposal as a ‘responsibility’ of the LGUs. The situation is
aggravated by the absence of clear standards and guidelines for the imposition of
garbage fees approved by the NSWMC. The provisions of the Act or IRR do not
provide a clear description on the appropriate process of arriving for these fees.20

C. Overview of LGU Compliance of RA 9003 (What and How LGUs are Complying
with the Law)

Despite the clearly unreal provisions of the Act and limited available resources,
LGUs are duty-bound to comply with the provisions of the law, particularly the
requirements pertaining to institutional, planning, policy and SWM systems (i.e. waste
diversion, establishment of MRFs and disposal facilities). Compliance data were
generated by the various Leagues and information databases from existing donor projects
working with LGUs. The LCP and LMP have conducted its own survey among their
members on their compliance with the provisions of RA 9003. Likewise, a local
governance performance monitoring system (LGPMS)21 is being implemented by the
Noboyuki Yamamura. “Institutional and Financial Performance Evaluation on Solid Waste Management
in the Philippines,” JICA Philippines, Manila. November 2005.
The LGPMS is a web-based performance monitoring and indicator system that covers four major service
delivery areas of LGUs (i.e. economic/investment services, social services, environmental, and
administrative/institutional services). It replaces the local performance monitoring system earlier
introduced by the DILG in 2000. The LGPMS is now being nationally being implemented through the
DILG’s Bureau of Local Government Services. (

Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) with assistance from the
Philippine-Canada Local Government Support Programme (LGSP) that monitors
specific performance indicators on environmental services (particularly on solid waste)
provided by LGUs. Similarly, specific studies have also been made by the Solid Waste
Management Association of the Philippines (SWAPP) on the status of LGU compliance
through a sample study of 41 LGUs.

1.0 Establishment of solid waste management boards (Sec. 12)

Data from the DILG’s LGPMS system showed that as of 2004 there was
overwhelming compliance of LGUs in the establishment of their local SWM boards that
are compliant with the provisions of RA 9003.22 Nearly all LGUs or more than ninety-
three (93%) percent out of the more 252 LGUs have established their own
SWM boards. More than half to two-thirds of these selected LGUs likewise has
complied with most of the other requisites for an effective SWM Board such as the

• adopted measures to promote and ensure viability and effective

implementation of its SWM Programme (67.5%);
• monitoring the implementation of its SWM Plan in cooperation with NGOs
and private sector (60%);
• adopted specific revenue generating measures to promote the viability of
SWM plan (55.5%);
• convened regular meetings of the SWM Board (57%);
• developed specific mechanics and guidelines for the implementation of their
SWM plans (55.5%); and,
• recommended measures and safeguards against pollution and preservation of
the natural resources (63.5%).

The same overwhelming compliance rate was reported by the LCP’s internal
compliance survey conducted in February 2005 among its member-cities23. All of the 43
city-respondents reported to have established their own SWM Boards as provided for
under the Act.

2.0 Preparation and implementation of 10-year local solid waste management plans
(Sec. 16)

Based on the LGPMS data, nearly 63% of respondent LGUs have prepared their
10-year SWM plans in accordance with the provisions of RA 9003. Similarly, except for
waste processing procedures, almost all of the SWM plans contained effective provisions
under the law related to the establishment of an effective SWM system in the locality.

The information is based on 2004 LGPMS data entered by selected city/municipal LGUs from Regions
6,9,10,11 and 12 totaling 260 LGUs as of end of October 2004. Updated profiles of the data can be
viewed from the LGPMS website at /lgpms.
The LCP internal compliance survey was conducted in February 2005 with assistance from the CIDA-
LGSP where the author served as LGU technical policy advisor.

These include RA 9003 technical provisions on waste characterization (57%) , collection
system and transfer system (65%), source reduction (53%), waste recycling (50%),
composting (61%), and final disposal site/facility (65%). The LGPMS indicators noted
based on its performance benchmark that between 35-57% of the selected LGUs SWM
plans were deficient in a number of aspects, particularly in waste processing where more
than half of the LGUs were deficient.24

The LCP members’ survey also showed almost total compliance by the
respondent cities in the preparation of their SWM plans. Almost eighty (80%) percent
have prepared their 10-year SWM plan. However, only around 40% or 17 LGUs have
submitted their plans for approval by the NSWMC. On the other hand, more than half or
58% of the LGUs are already implementing their SWM plans. This shows that despite
the lack of approval by the NSWMC of their SWM plans, many LGUs have been
implementing their programmes to address the problems of solid waste in their
communities. Whilst this might be viewed as an inappropriate action on the part of the
LGUs, field conditions in LGU constituencies demand that they address the immediate
issues of solid waste rather than wait for the tedious approval and prolonged delay in the
NSWMC’s approval process.25

One of the key problems in the approval of SWM plans by the NSWMC is the
lack of technical staff that would evaluate the approved SWM plans. Whilst a NSWMC
guideline have been issued to DENR regional offices of the Environmental Management
Bureau to process the evaluation of local SWM plans these have been hampered by the
lack of dedicated SWM personnel in the regional EMB offices.

3.0 Establishing mandatory solid waste diversion (Sec. 20)

This provision is one of the mandatory provisions of the Act that is time-bound. It
provides for mandatory diversion of at least 25% of solid waste from waste disposal
facilities within 5 years of the approval of the Act (2001). The date for achieving the
diversion goal as dictated by the Act is January 25, 2006.

Several studies used in this study showed a high range of diversion ( 10 % - 30%)
being achieved by LGUs involved in these studies. In some cases, the studies reported
almost a hundred percent achievement in the diversion goal of 25%. LGPMS data
showed that of the 205 LGU respondents on solid waste diversion and reduction goal of

It should be noted that the minimum requirements provided by RA 9003 for LGU compliance on an
acceptable SWM Plan uses a slightly different parameter with the LGPMS performance benchmark for
effectiveness. As provided in RA 9003, LGU SWM plans are to be submitted and approved by the
NSWMC. No indicator in the LGPMS data would validate if the SWM Plans monitored have been
received and approved by the NSWMC.
At the time of the preparation of this paper, no report has been obtained on the number of SWM plans
approved by the NSWMC.

25% was reached by ALL the LGUs. In fact, little more than one-third of the LGUs were
able to reduce/divert their waste by more than thirty-one (31%) percent in 2004.26

LCP data, on the other hand, showed that almost half (19 cities) of their 43 LGU
respondents have achieved the diversion goal of 25% whilst those that have not yet
achieved the diversion goal were averaging between 10 – 20% diversion rate. The LCP
survey also took note of the various activities initiated by the LGUs to implement their
diversion goals. In the survey almost all of the city-respondents initiating several key
SWM activities to achieve their diversion goals, namely massive public education
campaign (98%), distribution/implementation of segregation system for recyclables and
compostables (81%), technical and logistical support to barangays/NGOs (67%), and
other programmes (54%).

A SWAPP study of 41 LGUs (composed of SWAPP-member LGUs and non-

SWAPP LGUs) showed that almost the entire SWaPP member LGUs (15 LGUs)
achieved 36% diversion rate. Similarly, small non-SWAPP member LGUs (16 LGUs)
that are mostly rural have a 29% diversion rate while big non-SWAPP LGUs (10 LGUs)
only had a diversion rate of 5%.

Meanwhile, the USAID’s EcoGov Project reported that the estimated waste
diversion rates of its assisted LGUs totaling six (6) LGUs was eleven (11%) per cent. It
predicted, though, that these LGUs would be able to comply with the diversion rate by
the end of January 2006.

It should be noted that in all these studies the waste diversion rates showed a great
chance of being achieved. This is primarily due to the nature of the waste generated in
many of the LGUs in the country. As earlier presented in this paper, a lot of Philippine
LGUs were mostly poor and agriculturally-based communities whose major source of
living and economy is tied to agricultural production. This means that most of the waste
generated by many of these LGUs, as proven by the various studies, are largely
biodegradable and therefore could easily be diverted or composted. On the average the
estimated volume of biodegradable wastes generated by many communities was between

4.0 Establishment of solid waste disposal facilities (Sec. 40-41)

Latest data (July 2005) from the NSWMC as shown in Table 8 presents the over-
all status of disposal facilities in the country distributed by regions. As of July 2005, as
many as 777 open dump sites are still operating nationwide despite the closure and its
conversion into controlled dump facilities provision under Sec. 37 of the Act by January
25, 2004. Likewise, there was a noted increase in the number of controlled dump
facilities by 106 sites compared to last year or a total of 321 operating controlled landfills

LGPMS computed the percentage of solid waste reduction from the volume of garbage composted (Vc)
+ volume of garbage recycled (Vr) ÷ total volume of garbage collected (Vt). The LGPMS performance
benchmark indicator deemed acceptable was between 21%-31% waste reduction/diversion.

In the case of sanitary landfills (SLFs), no significant increase has been seen from
the number of operating SLFs from 2-3 sites 27 while the number of proposed sites has
decreased from 220 at the end of last year to 161 proposals at the end of July 2005.

The LMP survey provides a more concrete scenario of the efforts by LGUs to
comply with the establishment of alternative disposal facilities (i.e. sanitary landfills).
From the 43 city LGU-respondents, around 16 are in the process of establishing their own
SLFs. Of this number only 5 are in the construction phase and only two are near
operational (Digos SLF and Puerto Princesa SLF). The rest of the other proposed SLFs
are all in the feasibility and fund sourcing stages. This obviously reflects the earlier
argued financial and technical limitations of many LGUs to establish and operate SLFs
according to the provisions of the Act. It is likewise obvious that with this situation,
many LGUs in the country will not be able to comply with the deadline for alternative
disposal facilities for controlled dumping facilities, i.e. conversion to SLFs, by the
January 25, 2006 deadline imposed under RA 9003.

The same condition shows the status of establishment of MRFs in all barangays
as provided under Sec. 32. The total number of operating MRFs at the end of 2004
numbers is only 842 sites serving 1,140 barangays. This is only a mere 2.7% of the total
number of 41,975 barangays that are required by RA 9003 to establish an MRF. It is
worthy to note that a good number of MRFs established are located in the more
economically-developed and highly-populated areas of NCR, Region III, IV, V, VI and

D. Policy Proposals and Recommendations

1.0 Use of volume of waste generated or ‘material balance’ principle in the

operationalisation of an effective SWM system particularly on disposal facilities at
the local levels

The key implementation issue confronted by LGUs in the whole SWM system is
the disposal system and facility provision of the Act. Based on the realities faced by
many LGUs in the establishment of an effective SWM system in the country a key
factors that should determine the operationalisation of the provisions of the Act should be
the based amount of waste or volume generated for disposal by each LGU.

It has been estimated that only a small fraction of LGUs in the country generates
more than 100 tons of garbage per day compared to more than a 1,000 LGUs that
generate less than 10- 15 tons per day. Such low volume of waste generated is further
composed of almost 60-70% biodegradable and recyclable wastes. This means that a
good portion of the solid waste generated by almost two-thirds of our LGUs can be
diverted, recycled or reuse.

The Puerto Princesa SLF has just started operation in November 2005.

The fact that many of LGUs survey by different studies cited in this paper showed
that most LGUs would be able to divert their waste away from disposal facility.
Likewise, out of the 30% non-biodegradable waste generated only a small portion of
these residual wastes and other types of waste will be destined to be disposed in a
disposal facility.

Table 8. LGUs’ SWM Status under Regional Economies

Economy SWM Facilities (2)

Region GRDP Growth Open Controlled LFs MRFs
Per Capita 2004 Dumps Operating Proposed Operating Served
% No. No. No. No. Barangays
NCR 241 7.6 1 4 223 126
CAR 139 4.1 12 3 2 53 19
R1 56 5.7 63 26 11 106 99
R2 59 10.7 56 10 4 35 94
R3 80 2.1 86 4 26 32 192
RIV-A 97 3.3 92 85 2 61 75
RIV-B 98 4.6 34 15 20 20 127
R5 48 6.3 59 12 31 37 88
R6 97 7.9 54 5 7 52 54
R7 96 7.2 130 43 16 48 48
R8 50 6.9 7 11 13 8 17
R9 72 4.9 25 4 12 26 27
R10 96 6.0 54 31 41 45
R11 95 6.9 29 23 31 62 53
R12 82 6.4 24 16 1 9 26
R13 43 5.8 51 29 35 29 50
ARMM 23 5.4 1
Total 100 6.1 777 321 211 842 1,140
(1) GRDP (Gross Regional Domestic Product) 2004, National Average (P13,590) = 100, NSCB
(2) Open Dumps & Controlled Landfills are as of end July 2005, MRFs (Materials Recovery Facilities) are as of
December 2004. NSWMC

Because of this situation, the operation of a controlled dump facility or a sanitary

disposal facility (a hybrid-CDF with key features of an engineered land fill) within an
integrated SWM system (particularly waste diversion, recycling, composting and waste
segregation systems in place) in an LGU will be sufficient to contain and manage the
LGUs with less than 10 -25 tons per day of waste. Such a proposal would largely benefit
the poor and low-income classes of LGUs, i.e. 4th-6th class municipalities and 4th-5th class
cities, totaling more than 1,000 LGUs.

The JICA institutional and financial performance evaluation study cited LGUs or
communities in “less active economic regions” the problem of garbage disposal “will not

pose a serious problem yet to the local society for the foreseeable future” so long as the
people all handle their garbage properly.


a. Upgrading technical criteria of controlled dump facility for LGUs with less than 20
tons per day waste generated for disposal (final disposal to a facility) and an integrated
SWM system (i.e. 25% diversion of waste, in-place recycling, reuse and composting
system, MRFs and waste segregation facilities);

a hybrid sanitary disposal facility that supports the key features of an engineered landfill,
i.e. drainage facilities, leachate treatment systems, and cell-disposal facilities, but without
the expensive features of lining materials, e.g. clay or synthetic liners28 subject to sound
hydrogeoloical studies and/or ground holding and carrying capacity of proposed and
existing LGU sanitary disposal facilities.

b. Complimentary to proposed phased compliance for SLF as proposed by submitted in

the proposed Department Administrative Order on Phase-Compliance (See Annex 1).

c. Formulation of the ‘small facility exemption provision’ (Rule XIV, Sec. 1z of IRR for
RA 9003) in the alternative disposal facility provision provided under the Act using the
waste volume and waste diversion formula as basis for exemptions. A detailed proposal
has been presented in October 2003 by a study made by the USAID’s EcoGov Project.29

2.0 Phased implementation of RA 9003 according to socio-economic levels of

development or growth status

The degree of solid waste generated by a population or community is highly tied

to the level of economic growth and status of the population and community. This means
that the more affluent a community or household the more solid waste is generated. This
has been proven in initial JICA study on Metro Manila Solid Waste in 1998. It showed
that while Metro Manila generated almost 10,000 tons of waste per day, the per capita
waste generated by household showed that households from class A-B generated more
waste per household than the lower-income classes. The more recent JICA institutional
and financial performance study on SWM in the Philippines similarly supported the same

Based on the studies analysis, that maximisation of the laws implementation will be
achieved when ‘economies of scale’ or mechanisms for market forces are involve. These
This is similar to the Category 1 proposal in the Draft Department Administrative Order for Phase-
Compliance being discussed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) with
simpler technical design requirements (i.e. non-compulsory use of clay liner or synthetic liners) subject to
sound hydrogeological studies and/or ground holding and carrying capacities for proposed and existing
LGU sites.
Francis M. Sabugal. “Integrated Solid Waste Management Relevant to the Requirements of RA 9003:
Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2002”, EcoGovernance Project, Quezon City. November 2003.

include among others: a) an effective garbage segregation at the source; b) appropriate
MRF sites are operative; and, c) recycled materials are produced in economically
sufficient volume to meet market requirements. The JICA study concludes that such
situation will only be viable in large cities only and not in small cities.


a. Stage implementation of provisions of RA 9003 based on economic growth status and

market potential. For example:

Stage 1 ( Full implementation of RA 9003 provisions) - all HUCs and 1st class-3rd
class cities and 1st class municipalities with population totaling more than 100,000
households. Period of implementation: 5-years grace period to comply after January
25, 2006 deadline. No assistance or limited assistance from NSWMC. Phased-
compliance will be applied

Stage 2 (Progressive implementation) – all other classes of LGUs with progressive

implementation of RA 9003 provisions as indicated in their 10-year SWM plan.
Period of implementation ( within 10 years or full implementation of 1st 10-year
SWM plan). Limited and contracted assistance from NSWMC. Phase compliance will
be applied.

Stage 3 (Partial/Assisted Implementation) – all 4th-6th classes of LGUs with

prioritised assistance to be provided by the national government. Full assistance from
NSWMC and other agencies. Period of implementation (10 years and beyond). For
the meantime they will be covered by the guidelines affecting volume based
compliance for disposal facilities

3.0 Other recommendations

a. Simplified process of accreditation of technical service providers and EIA approvals

for disposal facility;
b. Formulation of the ‘exemption provision’ under the alternative disposal facility
provision of the law;
c. Revised policy for financial and funding and market development for solid waste


The following proposal for phased compliance takes into consideration the basic
features which need to be satisfied by a disposal facility.

1. Planned capacity with phased cell development

2. Site preparation and containment engineering

3. Compaction of waste to minimum specified target densities

4. Specified operational procedures to protect amenities including vector control

5. Fence, gate and other site infrastructure with surfaced primary access road

6. Full record of waste volumes, types and source

7. Special provisions and procedures for dealing with special waste

8. Fully trained staff and experienced site management

9. Provision for aftercare following site restoration and closure

10. No waste picking

The site should attain full or partial hydrogeological isolation using a combination
of the natural features of the site, liner and appropriate drainage system.

In addition to this, the amount of waste diversion for Level 1 and Level 2 SLF
should initially be at 25%of the waste generated at the time of the application for NTP or
IEE. By the time the facility is constructed and operated, the percentage of diversion
would be 35% and to progressively increase by 10% for each succeeding year of
operation until full diversion is attained and sustained.

Level 1 - Level 1 shall be applied to LGUs generating wastes equal or less than 30 MT a
day. It shall also apply to a cluster of LGUs whose collective waste generation is less
than or equal to 30 tons per day.

Level 2 - Level 2 shall be applied to LGUs generating waste equal to 30 but less than 70
MT a day. It shall also apply to a cluster of LGUs whose collective waste generation is
equal to 30 but less than 70 MT a day.

Level 3 – Level 3 shall be applied to LGUs generating waste equal to 70 or greater than
70 MT a day. It shall also apply to a landfill operated by a cluster of LGUs collectively
generate waste at 70 tons or greater per day.

Facilities Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Soil Cover X X X
Embankment X X X
Drainage Facility X X X
Gas Venting X X X
Leachate Collection X X X

Leachate Treatment Pond system biological/
Leachate Re-
Clay liner
Clay liner and/or
synthetic liner
Permit Modified NTP IEE IEE

Based on hydrogeological
Site Design Based on IEE



Series of 2005

Subject: Providing for the Guidelines on the Categorized Final Disposal


Section 1. Background

During the initial 5 years of the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act (RA 9003), there were indications of an accelerated take-off on
compliance, as national, local and private sector’s efforts on solid waste increased
particularly on waste recycling, reduction and re-use. The disposal aspect
however lagged mainly due to the combined effect of the prevailing institutional,
technical, financial, environmental and socio-political issues which have not been
sufficiently addressed to this date. The same issues which led to the country’s
setbacks in operating the Carmona, San Mateo and Cebu sanitary landfills of the
1990’s clearly stress this point.

With less than 2 months left before the deadline on the closure of controlled
dumps, only a few LGUs have made their own significant strides towards the
development and operation of their respective engineered disposal facilities.
These are Bais, Negros Oriental, Capas, Tarlac, Puerto Princesa, Palawan and
Rodriguez, Rizal. The Bais SLF in Negros Oriental is a small facility built with
assistance from the German government. The CDC SLF was built and is currently
being operated by a German company. The recently opened Puerto Princesa SLF
was constructed through an ADB loan. The Rodriguez disposal site30 serves as the
main waste repository for most of the Metro Manila LGUs. Likewise, German
government assistance has facilitated the on-going construction of the small SLF
in Dalaguete, Cebu.

The rest of the more than 1600 LGUs continue to dispose of their waste on open
dumps or on a small number of controlled dumps. Considering their financial,
technical and institutional capabilities, it is now considered unlikely these LGUs
or cluster of LGUs will be able to develop their respective sanitary landfills or
disposal facilities as defined under RA 9003. These LGUs will, in all probability,
continue using open dumps with some attempting to convert them to a controlled

Given the above premise and to effectively address the LGUs MSW disposal
problem within their limited capability, the most practical approach is to
progressively move in phases from the basic waste containment to the more

An ECC was recently issued allowing the adjacent 14 hectare lot to be developed as a sanitary landfill

sophisticated method of disposal. It is in this light that the guidelines for
categorized final disposal facilities are being issued by the National Solid Waste
Management Commission to support the local government units’ planning and
implementation strategies on ecological solid waste management.

Section 2. Legal Basis

2.1 The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is mandated under

Section 3, (e) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9003 to “
provide technical and other capability building assistance and support to LGUs in
the development and implementation of local solid waste management plans and

2.2 The National Solid Waste Management Commission, pursuant to Section 1, (t),
sub item 2 of the IRRs shall undertake the “study and review of criteria and
guidelines for siting, design, operation and maintenance of solid waste
management facility.

2.3 The proposed guidelines for the categorization of disposal facilities are essentially
consistent with the objectives of Sections 37, 40, 41 and 42 of the Act which
respectively refers to the Closure of Open Dumps, Criteria for Siting,
Establishment and the Operation of Sanitary Landfills, by providing the basic
environmental and engineering safeguards.

2.4 Rule XIV of the IRRs also provides additional and detailed criteria for siting,
establishment, and operation. Significantly, the proposed guidelines are
rationalized based on the use of potential solid waste generation for setting the
entry level of LGUs into the various categories of disposal facilities.

Section 3. Technical Basis

3.1 Parameters used in establishing waste disposal categories

The potential daily waste that can be generated by the 1,610 LGUs in 2006 was
estimated using projected NSO population data and applying the following per
capita generation rates31: 0.3 kg/day for rural areas, 0.5 kg/day for urban areas,
0.7 kg/day for the National Capital Region32 and 0.4 kg/day for capitals. Four (4)
potential LGU groupings are evident in Table 1. These are the < 15 tons per day
(tpd), the 16 to 75 tpd, the 76 to 200 tpd and the > 200 tpd. A comparison with the
income class classification shows that the LGUs with less than 75 tpd fall under
the low income bracket33. The LGUs with disposable waste range exceeding 75

Must be adjusted per LGU if per capita waste generation data is available
The Philippines Environment Monitor 2001, World Bank
33 th th th
This refers to the 4 , 5 and 6 class municipalities

tpd generally include major cities34 and some urbanized municipalities. On a
regional basis, most of the LGUs falling within the 76 to 200 tpd range belong to
either NCR or Region 4. The rest correspond to the cities and urbanized
municipalities in Regions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 and Caraga. The LGUs
exceeding 200 tpd consist of Metro Manila cities (NCR) and those in Regions 4,
6, 7, 9, 10 and 11.

Table 1
LGU Waste Generation Features based on Projected 2006 Population
No. of % Total Waste
Waste Gen Range (tpd) %of LGU Waste Gen
LGUs Gen
1 up to 15 1163 72.24% 8,948 26.62%
16 up to 75 386 23.98% 10,548 31.38%

76 up to 200 40 2.48% 4,442 13.21%

> 200 21 1.30% 9,675 28.78%
1610 100.00% 33,613 100.00%

In an ideal situation, recyclables, compostables and hazardous wastes will not be allowed
to be dumped in waste disposal facilities. Therefore, the criteria for disposal facilities
need not be as stringent compared to a situation where mixed wastes are sent to the SLF.
Even recognizing that the ideal is unlikely to be achieved, it is still possible to set a range
of situations where different criteria for disposal facilities can apply. We propose below
4 categories of disposal facilities, specifying realistic categories and reasonable
conditions for meeting the legal requirements.

In summary, it is submitted that an LGU or a cluster of LGUs may establish a disposal

facility other than a fully developed sanitary landfill subject to the following

1. The open dump or controlled dump of the LGU must be closed (subject to the
guidelines being developed by the NSWMC);
2. The waste disposal facility of the LGU must have none of the characteristics of an
open or controlled dump;
3. The environmental protection measures, safeguards and standards for the
establishment and operation of the waste disposal facility must be more than that
prescribed by the Act for controlled dumps.

34 rd nd st
This refers to the 3 , 2 , 1 class municipalities and cities

IV. Categories of Disposal Facilities

Four (4) categories of waste disposal facilities are proposed which consider potential
waste generation of LGUs reckoned from the projected 2006 population. Each LGU or
cluster of LGUs may develop and operate their respective facilities and progressively
move from a lower to a higher level facility as the amount of disposable waste increases
over time. The disposal categories to be adopted by the LGUs of cluster of LGUs may be
lowered with more extensive diversion via recycling and composting.

Given the current financial and technical capacities of LGU, the categorized disposal
facilities will enable LGUs to satisfy in a more practical and sustainable basis the
requirements of RA 9003 with respect to waste disposal. All disposal categories have
been developed and designed to meet the environmental standards.

Category 1

Category 1 disposal facility shall be applied to LGUs generating waste less than or equal
to 15 tpd. It shall also apply to a cluster of LGUs with a collective disposable waste of
less than or equal to 15 tpd.

Category 2

Category 2 disposal facility shall be applied to LGUs generating waste greater than 15
tpd but less than or equal to 75 tpd. It shall also apply to a cluster of LGUs with a
collective disposable waste greater than 15 tpd but less than or equal to 75 tpd.

Category 3

Category 3 disposal facility shall be applied to LGUs generating waste greater than 75
tpd but less than or equal to 200 tpd. It shall also apply to a cluster of LGUs with a
collective disposable waste greater than 75 tpd but less than or equal to 200 tpd.

Category 4

Category 4 disposal facility shall be applied to LGUs generating waste greater than 200
tpd. It shall also apply to a cluster of LGUs with a collective disposable waste greater
than 200 tpd.

V. Summary of Features of the Categorized Final Disposal Facilities

The summary of the basic features of the proposed levels of disposal facilities is
presented in Table 2.

Each category of disposal facility must satisfy the basic siting criteria of Section 40 of the
Act and meet the following requirements.

Table 2
Summary of Features of Proposed Categories of Disposal Facilities
Features Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4
≤ 15 tpd > 15 tpd, ≤ > 75 tpd, ≤ > 200 tpd
75 tpd 200 tpd
Daily and
Intermediate Soil √ √ √ √
√ √ √ √
Drainage Facility √ √ √ √
Gas Venting √ √ √ √
Leachate Collection √ √ √ √
Combination of
Leachate Treatment Pond System Pond system physical, biological
& chemical
At a later
Leachate Re- At a later stage of At a later stage
stage of Treatment
circulation operation of operation

Clay liner √35 √36

Clay liner and/or

√37 √38
synthetic liner

35 -5
Clay liner be at least 60 cm thick and has a permeability of 10 cm/sec
36 -6
Clay liner must be at least 75 cm thick and has a permeability of 10 cm/sec
37 -7
Clay liner at least 75 cm thick clay liner with a permeability of 10 cm/sec or better, if not available, an
equivalent replacement would be a composite liner consisting of at least 1.5mm thick HDPE membrane over
at least 60 cm thickness of compacted fine materials with permeability no more than 10 cm/sec.
Synthetic liner at least 1.5mm thick HDPE membrane over at least 60 cm thickness of
compacted clay materials with permeability no more than 10-7 cm/sec.

VI. Facility Operating Requirements

All waste disposal facilities, regardless of category, shall meet the following operating
requirements, except as otherwise provided:

• Planned capacity with phased cell development.

• Site preparation and containment engineering.
• Compaction of waste to minimum specified target densities.
• Specified operational procedures to protect amenities.
• Fence, gate and other site infrastructure with surfaced primary access road.
• Full record of waste volumes, types and source.
• Separate cells for MSW, THW or HCW. Handling and management of these
types of wastes should be in accordance with the provisions of the Joint
Administrative Order (DENR-DOH) #02 and RA 6969.
• Facility operation by a pool of fully-trained staff
• Provision for aftercare following site restoration and closure.
• Prohibition of waste pickers at the immediate disposal area.

Annex 3 List of Materials and References

Joint LMP-LCP Policy Issue Paper of Technical Working Group on Solid Waste
Management, LMP-LCP paper (unpublished), February 2005, Manila.

Commission on Audit 2003 Audited Financial Reports of Cities, Municipalities and


Department of Finance-Bureau of Local Government Finance, Status of Income and

Expenditure DataBases (2001-2004).

Adriana Bianchi, W. Cruz and M. Nakamura (eds). Local Approaches to Environmental

Compliance, World Bank Institute. Washington. 2005

Philip Rushbrook and Michael Pugh. Solid Waste Landfills in Middle-and Lower-Income
Countries: A Technical Guide to Planning, Design and Operation. World Bank
Technical Paper No. 426. World Bank, Washington. 1999.

“Developing and Implementation of a Sustainable Funding Mechanism for Solid Waste

Management Design Schematics for Material Recovery Facility: Bais City (Final
Report)”. Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines (SWAPP). Makati.

“Developing and Implementation of a Sustainable Funding Mechanism for Solid Waste

Management Design Schematics for Material Recovery Facility: Bayawan City (Final
Report)”. Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines (SWAPP). Makati.

“Developing and Implementation of a Sustainable Funding Mechanism for Solid Waste

Management Design Schematics for Material Recovery Facility: Tacurong City (Final
Report).” Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines (SWAPP). Makati.

Lisette C. Cardenas. “Developing a Sustainable Funding Mechanism for Solid Waste

Management Services: The Philippine Experience”, Solid Waste Management
Association of the Philippines (SWAPP). Makati. 2004

Noboyuki Yamamura. “Institutional and Financial Performance Evaluation on Solid

Waste Management in the Philippines”, JICA Philippines. November 2005.

Zenaida M. Sumalde. “Cost of Implementing Solid Waste Management Programs by

Local Government Units” (PowerPoint Presentation). SWAPP 2004 Conference.
Zamboanga City.

Todd R. Pepper. Memorandum Report on RA 9003 – Ecological Solid Waste
Management Act of 2000. Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority, Canada. 11 August

Reynar R. Rollan. “ Inputs to Phase Compliance in Solid Waste Disposal” (draft report).
Philippine EcoGovernance Project Phase 2. Pasig City. 2005.

Elmer S. Mercado. “Strengthening Local Governance with a Strengthened League:

LMP Organizational Review”(draft report). Philippine EcoGovernance Project, Quezon
City. July 2004.

LCP Issue Notes on Solid Waste Management Implementation. League of Cities of the
Philippines. 2005.

LGPMS Solid Waste Management Monitoring Report. LGPMS. 2005

“Basic Study on the Selection of High Priority Cities/Municipalities for the

Establishment of Suitable SWM System in the Philippines,” JICA Philippines, Manila,
November 2004.

Francis M. Sabugal. “Integrated Solid Waste Management Relevant to the Requirements

of RA 9003: Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2002”, EcoGovernance Project,
Quezon City. November 2003.

Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9003. Department of Environment and

Natural Resources. (pamphlet).