Cebu City Council approves funds for garbage collection

By: Morexette Erram December 23,2016 - 10:54 PM

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña (right) appeared before the city council yesterday and discussed his proposals to address the solid waste management problems. The council, by simple majority vote authorized him to use unspent funds to find a solution to the problem.  (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña (right) appeared before the city council yesterday and discussed his proposals to address the solid waste management problems. The council, by simple majority vote authorized him to use unspent funds to find a solution to the problem. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

The Cebu City council has authorized Mayor Tomas Osmeña to use the P9.2 million unspent funds of the previous administration to pay a private hauler or service provider to collect the city’s garbage and dump it in an authorized, final dumping site for garbage generated in the last weeks of December this year and in the first two weeks of January, 2017.

With a simple majority vote of eight of 15 councilors, the council acceded to Osmeña’s request to pass a resolution granting him the power to spend the city’s unspent funds last year, as an emergency measure to resolve, albeit temporarily the city’s garbage collection and disposal problem.

The mayor wants to hire a “feasible and legal” service provider to haul and collect the city’s garbage estimated at 500 tons per day.

The mayor attended the council’s special session yesterday.

Transfer stations

The money will also be spent to fund the operation of two garbage-transfer stations chosen by the city.

“(Initially), we proposed to the city council to authorize the mayor to sign the agreement, subject to an emergency procurement system, with a service provider that will provide the transfer station of the garbage and who will dump it into an authorized dumpsite. Unfortunately, no provider is able to provide the transfer station – which is very difficult,” said Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, the mayor’s executive assistant.

Since the potential private haulers were not able to identify transfer stations that they can use, he said it will have to be the Cebu City government that would provide these transfer stations.

Initially, they had planned on using the South Road Properties (SRP) lot beside the Pedro Calungsod Chapel and the Inayawan landfill but because of the Cease and Desist Order issued by the Court of Appeals, the city will have to look for another transfer station.

Fernandez, who attended the special session of the city council, reassured the body that they are looking for other options, that are technically and financially viable.

“We are constrained by law not only to take a closer look at that but also take a look into other options, and choose the best through using emergency processes,” Fernandez added.

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB – 7) said that transfer stations must secure the necessary permits to protect the environment.

“Of course, we will have to act and obtain them as soon as possible,” said Fernandez.

Temporary dumpsite

Osmeña also presented his proposals to the EMB during a closed-door meeting.

He later announced the city’s plan to petition the CA to allow them to reuse the Inayawan landfill as a temporarily dumpsite until they can find a “more concrete solution” to the solid waste management problem of the city.

“What I wanted was that we’ll bid out for the whole year and let another transfer station (operate), and a service provider, to bid out the trucking so that we don’t have to worry about it for about a year and maybe bid it out again,” the mayor said.
Osmeña also said that he had no choice but to continue dumping garbage in the city-owned lot at the South Road Properties (SRP).

He said officials of EMB -7 “ placed him in a situation where he has to dump the garbage without a landfill” and do it illegally by using the Inayawan landfill.

“I’m not going to break the law. I’d rather break the EMB rules and face the consequences than face graft and corruption,” the mayor said, reiterating his stand during the Council’s special session.

No Recommendations

The EMB declined to comment on the proposals presented by Osmeña during their technical meeting.

EMB – 7 regional director William Cuñado told reporters that his office has not given any recommendations on how the city can solve its garbage problem.

“We only act as a body providing technical assistance and support to the local government unit (LGU) on environmental aspects. In case the LGU violates any existing environmental laws, we will file a request for the National Solid Waste Commission (NSWC) to file administrative or criminal charges against them,” Cuñado said.

The NSWC is the sole bureau tasked to file complaints for environmental violations committed by LGUs before the Ombudsman.

Cuñado said they already sent their request to the NSWC, on the same day the CA issued the CDO last October.

“NSWC will determine and identify what appropriate actions, fines and penalties they (city government) have to deal with,” the EMB – 7 regional director added.

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TAGS: Cebu City, councilor, EMB, EMB-7, Environmental Management Bureau, legal, mayor, Osmeña, special session, Tomas Osmeña

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