Marikina City- From a materials recovery facility (MRF) in a barangay to an urban garden tended by high school students, delegates at the 16th Assembly Meet of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)-Working Group on Environmental Audit (WGEA) were shown around Marikina City’s environment showcases.

Around 100 audit officials from 45 countries took a closer look at how pigswill is converted to organic fertilizer at a MRF in Barangay Concepcion as part of the city’s zero waste management program; visited the city’s composting facility, plastic styro densifier and the engineering center which houses the central warehouse and steel fabrication; and toured Parang High School which was awarded as an environment-friendly school by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“Marikina is situated in valley and is a catch basin for other neighboring cities. The challenge is to cope with the demands of progress and the environment. We have focused on programs to conserve the environment not only in Marikina but also in other cities. One thing is for certain, we have to take care of our environment,” said Marikina City Administrator Melvin Cruz. Cruz welcomed the delegates in behalf of City Mayor Del de Guzman.

Gloria Buenaventura, head of the City Environmental Management Office, discussed the city’s environmental best practices. Known as a model city in terms of cleanliness, Marikina passed several ordinances to conserve the environment including prohibition on the improper disposal of garbage, "Anti-Littering Code of Marikina" which imposes Php500 fine on violators, and requiring all residential and commercial establishments to clean their surroundings and segregation at source of all garbage into wet or biodegradable and dry or non-biodegradable, among others.

Lunch was at Kapitan Moy, one of the oldest buildings in Marikina City, during which delegates enjoyed performances by the Marikina Dance Guild, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina Dance Troupe, Sta. Elena Dance Troupe and the Marikina Government Chorale. The delegates also toured the shoe museum and visited the Riverbanks Center for Marikina products.

The 16th Assembly Meeting of the INTOSAI-WGEA is hosted by the Philippine Commission on Audit (COA) from September 29 to October 2, 2014. The meet formally opens on Tuesday, September 30, with COA Commissioner Heidi L. Mendoza, Senator Loren B. Legarda, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. Paje and Dr. Ali Masykur Musa of the Audit Board of Indonesia as keynote speakers. Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla will discuss environment issues on energy in one of the plenary sessions.

Delegates at the 16th Assembly Meet of the INTOSAI WGEA inspect a vegetable garden using hydrophonics tended by students of Parang High School in an environment excursion in Marikina City on September 29, 2014.