Waste segregation anew

By Editorial February 28,2018

Unless there is a last minute announcement, it’s all systems go for the “no segregation, no collection” garbage disposal policy of Cebu City Hall today March 1, but based on last Monday’s disclosure by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), not everyone is on board the program.

CENRO chief Nida Cabrera said only barangays Sambag 1, Sambag 2 and Kalubihan submitted their garbage collection schedules to her office while the rest of the 80 barangays still haven’t, which doesn’t bode well for the program’s re-launching.

Inadequate personnel to orient the barangays is one of several factors behind this but more often than not, it all boils down to partisan politics. Except that in this case, the administration party Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) finds itself having to deal with resistance from barangays aligned with rival Barug Team Rama.

It wasn’t that long ago when barangays identified with BO-PK complained that their garbage wasn’t being collected by the former administration and now that the shoe is on the other foot, that same complaint is now being heard from the opposition.

It also wasn’t too long ago when City Hall ordered a recall of all barangay-issued vehicles for inventory purposes and opposition barangay officials decried that their garbage collection efforts suffered as a result.

When asked why only three barangays submitted their garbage collection schedule, Councilor Philip Zafra said CENRO should call a meeting, a general assembly of sorts to talk to barangay officials and map out a definite schedule for the collection of garbage.

Zafra, president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and a Barug Team Rama ally, said they don’t have a problem with the “no segregation, no collection” garbage disposal program but in the same breath, he complained about the presence of barangay environment officers (BEOs) in their areas.

The way he said it, these BEOs may assume a function similar to the mayor’s office in which the point persons have direct access to and the blessings of the mayor’s office to enforce programs of the administration as they deem fit.

Simply put, Zafra’s message and the message his allies want to send to the administration is to allow their barangay officials to implement the program their way and to provide them with functioning garbage trucks while they were at it.

Credit grabbing and politicking aside, it remains to be seen whether the barangay officials on either side of the political fence even remotely made efforts to educate and motivate their constituents into practicing waste segregation at the household level.

As frontliners in government service, it doesn’t take too much for barangay officials to mobilize and constantly remind their constituents about the absolute necessity to practice waste segregation in order to reduce the city’s mounting garbage volume.

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