AFTER seeing uncollected garbage in three barangays known as bailiwicks of the rival Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK), Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said his administration will take over garbage collection in these areas.
“I don’t know what’s happening there. I do not want that they (barangays) will be pinpointing to us. It’s much better if we will take over starting today,” Rama said in yesterday’s press conference.
He said he saw the uncollected garbage in barangays Guadalupe, Labangon and Tejero when he passed by them during last Sunday’s visit to Barangay Pamutan.
When asked why he didn’t talk to the barangay officials, Rama said, “I don’t have to.”
Barangay Tejero chairman Jessielou Cadungog, Tejero barangay councilman Garry Lao, Labangon barangay chairman Victor Buendia and Guadalupe barangay chairman Michael Gacasan accused the mayor of politicking.
Rama then ordered City Administrator Lucelle Mercado, Department of Public Services (DPS) head Dionisio Gualiza and Solid Waste Management Board (SWMB) chief Jade Ponce to coordinate in collecting garbage in these areas.
Cadungog said the barangay had not been remiss in collecting garbage especially in the interior sitios.
He said the barangay has three small garbage trucks and they plan to add another one after receiving P8 million in aid from City Hall.
“There’s uncollected garbage but that’s part of the work of DPS. Our work is the inner sitios of the barangay. The problem is in the side of the highway which should be collected by DPS,” he said.
Lao, a BO-PK council candidate, said they’ve been asking City Hall to increase the allocation of fuel for their trucks since last year since they have to dump garbage in a private landfill in Consolacion town after the Inayawan landfill closed last year.
“Dr. Mercado knows that I even requested her office to increase the monthly fuel allocation from 270 liters to 400 liters a month,” Lao said.
Buendia said there are seven garbage trucks collecting garbage in Labangon every day.
“I advise the mayor to help the other barangays allied with him. They have bigger problems. Don’t disturb mine for his political hidden agenda. I might have him suspended again. He still has a six-month suspension waiting to be served,” he said.
Buendia referred to the P20,000 calamity assistance case involving Rama and several councilors that remain pending in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Buendia filed an administrative case against Rama for ordering the demolition of a center island project that resulted in the mayor being suspended for two months by the Office of the President.
Rama’s suspension ended early this month. For his part, Guadalupe barangay chairman Michael Gacasan lamented the lack of support from the mayor.
He said their trucks would conk out due to the distance of delivering the garbage to Consolacion. Gacasan said the city should have its own landfill area.
“Collection of biodegradable waste is the city’s obligation. But have you seen a truck from the city that helped Guadalupe? Have you seen the barangay being given garbage trucks like the other barangays?” he said.
Rama said the DPS should be collecting the garbage from the three barangays on a daily basis.
He said the city government acquired nine new 10-wheeler dump trucks which can be used to for garbage collection.
“I’m not doing it to bring them in. I’m winning in all of these areas. But the most important thing is I cannot agree that our garbage issue will be seen and we have the capacity to collect garbage especially now. So I’m taking over Guadalupe, Tejero and Labangon,” Rama said.
He wants the officials to monitor the implementation for one week and then they’ll decide how they will continue with the setup.
Ponce said the mayor’s takeover of garbage collection in these areas is backed by Section 10 of Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act which states that garbage segregation and collection is the primary responsibility of the barangays.
“The continued neglect and failure of the barangays to comply with their duty of collecting garbage through their sheer incompetence justifies the city’s takeover of basic garbage collection in order to save the health and well-being of the barangays’ constituents,” Ponce said.