Cebu City’s garbage disposal woes are good as solved, at least for this month.
Jomara Konstruckt Corp., the same private hauler hired by the city government last month, is expected to continue transporting the city’s garbage to the private landfill in Consolacion town, operated by the Asian Energy Systems Corp. (AESC), starting today.
This after the Cebu City Council, in a special session yesterday, approved the executive department’s request to allow the mayor to sign the purchase order (PO) with Jomara.
“With this approval, this will take care of the city’s garbage from January 1 to 31. Then we will bid out as much as the remaining budget will allow for the rest of the year,” said Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, the mayor’s executive assistant, during the council’s session yesterday.
Based on the PO, which was submitted by the executive department to the council, they will use up P25.575 million for this month alone.
The city will still pay Jomara P1,375 per ton of garbage, even if Jomara is now required to provide for its own transfer station, unlike in last December when the city operated the transfer station at the South Road Properties (SRP).
For this fee, the P25.575-million budget will be good for 18,600 tons of garbage to be hauled by Jomara. Cebu City produces an average of 500 tons of garbage a day.
Aside from the garbage building up at a private transfer station in Barangay Inayawan, where the city and its barangays have been dumping since the start of the year, Jomara is also expected to continue removing the remaining garbage at the previous “temporary transfer station” in SRP.
According to Fernandez, Jomara was able to haul a total of 5,523 tons of garbage from its earlier contract with the city, which ended on Dec. 31, 2016. But there are still around 1,000 to 2,000 tons of garbage left in SRP that Jomara needs to haul as well.
Fernandez said Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña signed the PO immediately after he was granted the authority to do so by the City Council. A Myra Lapitan signed the PO on behalf of Jomara.
Fernandez told the council that after this second emergency procurement, the executive department plans to do a competitive public bidding for the budget of the garbage disposal for the rest of the year.
The P25.575-million budget for the second emergency contract was taken from the P121-million budget of the Department of Public Services (DPS) for its garbage collection and disposal program under this year’s approved annual budget.
But since the remaining budget will not be enough to cover the city’s garbage expenses for the rest of this year, Fernandez told the council that they will soon be submitting a supplemental budget (SB) to augment the DPS funds.
“Yes (it will be the same method of hiring a private hauler). I think it is working well. The service provider will take care of the transfer station and haul the garbage and dump it to a landfill. We hope we can have a supplemental budget. We want to do it for the whole year so that there will only be one bidding and we just pay regularly,” he said.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña welcomed the council’s authorization but stressed he would no longer want any other emergency procurement after this one.
“The important thing is that there is a process. We are following the process. There are no shortcuts. To me, this emergency purchase is already a shortcut. I am not going to do it again. So they have to bid out the balance,” he told reporters.
But Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said that the city’s current setup is actually more expensive compared to the time of former mayor Michael Rama when the city government directly dealt with AESC.
He pointed out that in the previous administration, not all of the city’s barangays had to pay P1,500 per ton in hauling and tipping fees since some of the barangays directly dumped their collected garbage at the Consolacion landfill and paid only P700 per ton as tipping fee.
“If suma total, that particular method, wouldn’t that come out cheaper? There’s tonnage that’s worth P700 per ton and there’s also P1,500 per ton. Compared now wherein everybody, every day, we pay the service provider P1,375 per ton. Mas barato gyud sa (It was really cheaper during the) previous administration,” he said.
He pointed out that DPS assistant head John Paul Gelasque even confirmed yesterday that the city, during the Rama administration, spent only approximately P15 million to P16 million a month on garbage disposal.
“This time, you’re asking P26 million. That’s almost double from before. This setup is more expensive. I am pointing this out because this is something I cannot fathom at this point in time,” Garcia said.
However, Councilor Margarita Osmeña explained that while it may look cheaper, there are other costs that need to be considered in the previous administration’s setup.
For one, she said the city then took care of the maintenance of its garbage trucks. Fuel was also paid for by the city government. In addition, there were 20 brand-new dump trucks purchased by the city two years ago that are now unserviceable.
Gelasque also explained that aside from these costs, the main consideration why the city and the barangays would choose to dump at a nearer transfer station than directly to Consolacion is safety.
“Considering that the roads going to Polog (Consolacion) are rough roads, there were a lot of recorded accidents like trucks nga nalimbuwad (that have tipped over). Most of the issues last year were not on what’s cheaper, but more on the safety of the people from the barangays and the DPS,” he said.
In the current setup, with Jomara as the service provider, the city does not have to worry about heavy equipment, Gelasque added.
Gelasque said Jomara has already contracted a transfer station and has four backhoes, as well as 30 to 40 dump trucks that will haul the garbage to Consolacion.
Mayor Osmeña, in separate interview, also said the city can save money by hiring private haulers.
“That is why I want to lease because when you lease the equipment, you don’t have to buy the spare parts. We don’t have the capacity to haul it to any landfill outside Cebu City. Considering that those new trucks of Rama have been breaking down left and right,” the mayor said.
‘Weigh it properly’
Other councilors also raised concern on monitoring the actual number of tons that is brought by Jomara to Consolacion vis-a-vis what was weighed in by the city at the transfer station in Inayawan.
Gelasque explained that at present, the garbage loads of the DPS and barangay garbage trucks are being weighed first at the Inayawan landfill before these are dumped at the transfer station.
The next weighing will be made already at the Consolacion landfill wherein the dump trucks of Jomara that transport the garbage will be given a “waste manifest” by the landfill operator in order to know how much garbage was actually brought there.
But Councilor Jose Daluz III said that weighing of the garbage in Inayawan would be useless unless it would be counterchecked with the amount of garbage actually brought to Consolacion.
He suggested that the DPS should always station its personnel in Consolacion to double-check the records of garbage being dumped there especially since the billing for Jomara will be based on what is recorded in Consolacion.
Fernandez said they would take the suggestion into consideration as they were now continuously trying to improve their system and processes.
Gelasque also assured they have started sending monitoring personnel to the Consolacion landfill.
Mayor Osmeña, on the other hand, also agreed it is important to check the amount of garbage weighed at the Consolacion landfill.