PHOTO CAPTION: The carelessly disposed of rapid antigen test kits last week have been traced back to the La Paz branch of Medicus Diagnostic Center./iNEWS (Photo courtesy of Bombo Radyo Iloilo)
ILOILO CITY–Police investigators from the Jaro PNP Station have finally established the source of the used antigen rapid test kits contained in garbage bags that were thrown along E. Lopez St. in Brgy. San Vicente, Jaro, recently.
According to P/Capt. Eduardo Siacon, chief of the Jaro police, the couple seen in the closed-circuit television (CCTV) video throwing the garbage bags containing the used antigen test kits pointed them to the Medicus Diagnostic Center (MDC) in La Paz as the source of the test kits.
They said they believed they could have them weighed and exchanged for cash.
When policemen went to the said diagnostic center to check, they were able to see more of the used test kits in a booth outside the said establishment.
It was learned the Jaro PNP would discuss with Iloilo City COVID-19 spokesperson Jeck Conlu what possible sanctions would be imposed against MDC for this breach in environmental laws.
Meanwhile, several members of the local media tried to get a reaction from Medicus management but it was still closed at that time.
Section 31 of the Iloilo City Environmental Code of 2003 prohibits the “indiscriminate disposal of infectious wastes from hospitals, medical, and dental laboratories xxx…” while Section 34(a) of the same Code labels as Prohibited Acts the “littering, throwing, dumping of waste matters in public places such as parks, plazas, roads, sidewalks… or causing or permitting the same…”
Those found liable for violation of Section 34(a) of the same Code shall, upon conviction, “be punished with a fine of not less than three hundred pesos (P300.00) but not more than one thousand pesos (P1,000.00) or render community service for not less than one day to not more than fifteen days, or both.”
MEDICUS LA PAZ SUMMONED
Meanwhile, Iloilo City mayor Jerry Treñas confirmed that he has already summoned the officials of MDC La Paz to his office for the dumping of the antigen test kits.
According to General Services Office (GSO) assistant department head Engr. Neil Ravena, business establishments need to observe and abide by the city’s regulations on the proper disposal of infectious or hazardous wastes. All hospital and medical laboratories have trained pollution control officers that collect such wastes.
He added that this kind of wastes need to be placed inside a yellow plastic bag, separated from ordinary trash, and brought to a treatment facility so as not to pose any harm to people.
Ravena also said that those responsible for dumping the said used antigen test kits without observing proper waste disposal could be also held liable for violating Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. (N. Glenn Aragon/iNEWS)