The dung war heightens in Benguet
By LYN V. RAMO
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – While local government officials here and their counterparts in the provincial board are churning up ordinances on the transport, sale and storage of chicken dung, business persons engaged in the trade turned to legal remedies.
The stinking, but beneficial, stuff transported from lowland poultry farms, is the subject of discussions not only in legislative and judiciary arena, but in jeepney stops and barber shops as well.
On June 16 the Regional Trial Court Branch 63 here issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the sale and storage of chicken manure in Barangay Shilan here until said court further issues orders. Judge Benigno M. Galacgac signed the TRO.
Among those ordered to cease and desist from selling and storing the alternative fertilizer are La Trinidad Mayor Artemio Galwan and Shilan Barangay Captain Georgina Delmas.
Others named in the TRO are Moises Galawa, Benito Hipolito, Beatriz Digman, Jocelyn Digman, Edwin Essaley and Mrs. Miguel Bogsit. Their assigns, heirs all persons acting for and in their behalf, and all persons acquiring rights from them were also directed to stop selling and storing chicken dung.
The TRO stemmed from a petition earlier filed by the Shilan Out-of-school Youth and Extension Association represented by Belter Pulac, Edmundo A. Lubos, Francisco Pi-ay, Billy Pulac and Benito V. Juan.
On Wednesday, the court received two sets of manifestations, one saying that the youth organization represented by Belter Pulac did not authorize him to sign as a petitioner in the said civil case for injunction, the other stating that Francisco Pi-ay, another petitioner, did not understand the document he signed and was retracting.
Taking off from an earlier court decision, the petitioners allege that chicken dung is a public nuisance and therefore should be banned.
The RTC Branch 10 here ruled in Civil Case No. 91-CV-0644 that the sale of chicken dung in Sitio Dengsi, Tawang, is a “nuisance, unsanitary, and affects the health of the community.” The Court of Appeals confirmed the decision of the lower court, thus, since January 2008, the sale of the manure stopped, upon Galwan’s orders.
Recently, however, the town council allowed the sale and storage through Municipal Ordinance No. 7-2008, specifying that the sale must be governed by certain terms and conditions which must first be complied with.
The town council prescribed a 200-meter distance from public roads, residential areas and schools.
In its sessions on June 15 and 22, the provincial board tackled the issue as to whether it would affirm the town ordinance, but later decided against it citing the council with exceeding its authority because of the court ruling that the chicken dung is a public nuisance. The board also exercised its power to promote general welfare of its people. The board Monday approved on second reading the resolution rendering the La Trinidad ordinance invalid.
As this developed, Galwan said the board proposal declaring the local ordinance invalid may not hold water, invoking a provision of the Local Government Code.
Many other groups are asserting the right to sell chicken manure for fertilizer. When La Trinidad stopped selling chicken dung, Tublay took on the trade.
Residents and travelers alike, however, frown at the stench and the swarm of flies that accompany the chicken manure wherever it goes.# nordis.net