By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita September 04,2016 - 10:38 PM

WIFE CARES.  Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña wipes the face of husband, Mayor Tomas Osmeña, after he emerged from a meeting with stakeholders affected by the stench coming from the Inayawan dumpsite. At right is City Administrator Bimbo Fernandez (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

WIFE CARES. Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña wipes the face of husband, Mayor Tomas Osmeña, after he emerged from a meeting with stakeholders affected by the stench coming from the Inayawan dumpsite. At right is City Administrator Bimbo Fernandez (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Despite mounting complaints from the public against the dizzying stench of garbage along the South Road Properties (SRP) because of the operation of the city’s dumpsite in SRP’s neighboring Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña refused to budge on his stand.

If it were up to him, the city’s trash belong in that landfill and not anywhere else.
To stress his point, Osmeña told a gathering of around 50 SRP stakeholders at City Hall yesterday that he would rather dump the city’s garbage at the SRP than leave trash lying in the streets.

He would also much rather just throw the city’s trash in one of SRP’s vacant lots than send the city’s garbage to a private landfill in Consolacion town in northern Cebu, which charged the city P700 as tipping fee for every ton of garbage dumped there before.

“It’s grossly anomalous. We are paying P280,000 a day for the Consolacion landfill and that’s just the tipping fee. Aside from that, there’s no contract between the city and them. It is a grossly anomalous situation,” Osmeña said.

Aside from that, the city government and the city’s 80 barangays do not have enough vehicles to bring their collected garbage all the way to Consolacion every single day considering the distance and traffic, added Osmeña.

Last week, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) 7 issued a notice of violation against the City of Cebu for its failure to comply with 13 conditions set by DENR for the issuance of the landfill’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

The notice, addressed to Osmeña, came two weeks after EMB field personnel were sent to investigate the operations of the landfill following complaints from businessmen and residents of surrounding areas on the worsening foul odor coming from the facility.
If DENR forces the city to close its landfill, Osmeña said it would be better to just leave the garbage in the SRP.

“If I dump the garbage at SRP, I will just call it uncollected garbage. Because my alternative is to leave it in the streets of Cebu City. And I have to choose. So that’s the situation here,” the mayor told the gathering composed mostly of representatives from the different locators in SRP who sat quietly through the meeting.

A representative from SM Seaside City however voiced concerns that the stench coming from the landfill has already affected customers especially in the Skypark, an open area located on top of the SM mall.

City Hall department heads and representatives from national government agencies also listened intently as the mayor spoke.

Public welfare

“As a local government official, I will exercise the public welfare clause. I will do what I think is necessary under the circumstances,” Osmeña added referring to the general welfare clause of the Local Government Code of the Philippines which states that: “ Every local government unit (LGU)shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.”

Section 16 of the Code further states that “ within their respective territorial jurisdictions, LGUs shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.”

The city’s 15-hectare sanitary landfill in Inayawan was ordered closed in January 2015 by then mayor Michael Rama due to its overcapacity. But Osmeña ordered it reopened last June to stop City Hall from spending P20 million a month for dumping the city’s trash in Consolacion, some 13 km north of Cebu City.

Osmeña also blamed the City Council for not acting on his request for a P10 million budget to buy limestone or anapog, which will be used to cover the mountains of garbage in order to minimize the smell.

The mayor also promised to look into why dump trucks and bulldozers earlier purchased by the city are already unserviceable even when these were bought brand new.
With not enough heavy equipment and without cooperation from the city council in buying soil, Osmeña turned to the private sector for help.

“We are in discussion with some of the major contractors in Region 7 (Central Visayas) to allow them to dispose of their excess filling materials with us in exchange for use of their equipment. Filling material can take the place of anapog, and contractors usually have to pay to dump their filling materials, so this is a win-win for everybody,” Osmeña said in a Facebook post he later made.


Meanwhile, former Cebu City Councilor turned city environmental consultant Nida Cabrera reported during the meeting that the city already has answers to the 13 violations cited by EMB-7.

Among the commitments to EMB-7 made by Cabrera was for the city to apply for a discharge permit from the bureau within the week for its effluents.

She also said they will start to strictly comply with the appropriate personal protective equipment for workers in the facility and require all trucks to have adequate cover to prevent litter from being blown away.

On behalf of Cebu City, Cabrera along with other City Hall representatives also committed to the construction of a perimeter fence, within the first quarter of next year, to prevent the illegal entry of squatters in the facility.

To minimize if not eliminate the odor, Cabrera said the city will cover the garbage with soil and also spray odor-eliminating enzymes within the month.

The landfill, she said, will also limit the acceptance of biodegradable wastes by establishing a final treatment facility for biowastes before November; aside from banning hospitals and other establishments from disposing of their hazardous and toxic wastes at the dumpsite.

Cabrera also promised to submit to EMB the names of “informal waste pickers” allowed to scavenge in the facility within the week; while monitoring teams will be established to look into the facility’s operations.

The city, Cabrera said, will also make periodic reports on the facility’s biological and chemical parameters and take care of complaints arising from the public.

The city will be submitting an operational manual for the landfill to EMB-7.

To implement their plans, Cabrera will propose that a P50 million Environmental Guarantee Fund (EGF) be included in the city’s annual budget for next year to cover landfill maintenance expenses.

Osmeña assured the gathering that the city is already reviewing different plans in an effort to prolong the use of the landfill and minimize its problems.

These plans include building a high retaining wall, reaching five to six floors high, which will make the landfill last for 10 more years, he said.

There are also proposals to develop a waste to energy program in the facility, he said.

To update the stakeholders on the progress of the city’s efforts to solve problems at the landfill, another meeting will be held at City Hall two weeks from now.

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TAGS: Cebu City, Cebu City Mayor, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, DENR, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environmental Compliance Certificate, Environmental Management Bureau, landfill, mayor Tomas Osmeña, Osmeña, SRP, Tomas Osmeña

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