On September 25, 2023, the project “Implementation of PCB Management Programs for Electric Cooperatives and Safe E-Wastes Management” or PCB-WEEE, which is jointly implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), inaugurated the country’s third community-led e-waste facility in Barangay Bakakeng Central, Baguio City in partnership with the city government and PLDT’s Smart Communications Inc. The project partners signed a cooperation agreement to support the establishment and operations of the e-waste facility.
Barangay Bakakeng’s Punong Barangay Dan Daniel, City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and City Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda welcomed DENR officials to the newly upgraded Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).
Magalong said that the MRF was part of the world climate change action plan of Baguio City, which he said was bent on becoming a “smart city.”
In May 2023, Barangay Bakakeng issued a resolution supporting the use of their existing Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) as an e-waste facility. In August 2023, after appropriate clearances were issued by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the upgrading of the MRF was initiated. Appropriate pneumatic tools and equipment were installed and training was provided to workers of the barangay who would be operating the e-waste facility.
Undersecretary Jonas Leones, who chairs the PCB-WEEE Project Steering Committee and Undersecretary Analiza Teh, the GEF Operational Focal Point, led the DENR delegation.
Undersecretary Leones lauded Baguio City, UNIDO, the DENR CAR, and project partners, including the Integrated Recycling Industries, Inc., EcoWaste Coalition, and PLDT-SMART for the establishment of the household e-waste facility. He said that the DENR would continue to work to protect the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and from other harmful chemicals in fulfillment of its commitments to the Stockholm Convention on POPs.
Ms. Vergel De Dios, the Chief Sustainability Officer of PLDT & Smart Communications Inc., said that some of their Smart Branches in the country had been designated as key collection points of e-wastes.
“Over the years of implementation, we see the importance of the local government involvement. I am proud of the project because it has earned the accolades of the donor. The project has become a model for best practice of multistakeholder engagement and gender equality,” Dr. Carmela Centeno from UNIDO Headquarters, said.
Undersecretary Teh highlighted the importance of involvement of women in PCB-WEEE project as they are the ones who are mostly at risk. She recently attended a GEF Assembly in Vancouver, Canada in which she prided on the best practices of gender development of the project before an international audience.
The PCB-WEEE project established two other e-waste facilities in Metro Manila: one in Barangay Bagong Silang, Caloocan City and the other in Barangay Dampalit, Malabon City. Both facilities have collected 50,000 cathode ray tubes from households, or an equivalent of 500 kg of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Moreover, in partnership with the EMB regional offices, EcoWaste Coalition and Integrated Recycling Industries Philippines, Inc. (IRI), the project initiated several e-waste collection events, which resulted in the collection of at least 10 tons of e-wastes from households and 431 tons of recyclable materials. (UNIDO/ Myeka Trinidad)