The Cebu City government has apparently seen the futility of spending hundreds of millions of pesos a year for the collection and disposal of the city’s garbage that it had finally confirmed plans to build its own landfill.
The problem lies in implementing it, and if the Osmeña administration’s critics are to be believed, there is something irregular about how the mayor’s lieutenants are going about it.
Councilor Joel Garganera, who had questioned the decision to abandon the city’s arrangement with a Consolacion town landfill operator, is now questioning how one contractor, ARN Builders, managed to skip past local environment agencies and apply for clearance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Manila.
He has some valid points that former councilor and now City Hall environmental consultant Nida Cabrera has to answer for transparency on plans to build a new landfill at the hinterland Barangay Binaliw.
These include, among others, ARN Builders’ previous violation for quarrying operations in Barangay Binaliw and the rejection of the regional Environmental Management Bureau (EMB-7) of the contractor’s application for landfill construction for failure to comply with requirements and the violations seen during an inspection of the proposed site.
If there were violations seen by the local ancillary environment agencies, how could ARN Builders expect the DENR central office not to abide with the findings of their local offices? Unless, something irregular is happening.
Let’s not even delve into Garganera’s accusation that Cabrera is allegedly lawyering for ARN Builders since he was also accused by the administration of favoring the Consolacion landfill facility on the case of the tipping fees that the city still owes to its operator.
But the fact is that the city government has at least considered the possibility of setting up a landfill in one of the city’s hinterland barangays. Now if only they do it right and without any irregularities at all — which the opposition doubts will come to pass.
Though it has yet to be confirmed officially if ARN Builders will be chosen as the contractor for the city’s landfill project, there are strong indications that it is working towards that, and their record bears watching if city residents do care about doing their landfill right.
The first Inayawan landfill wasn’t even considered a landfill but a dumpsite since it failed to comply with the requirements set by the DENR which ordered its closure way back in 2005.
We hope the city government does follow through with building its own landfill, and it should not resort to shortcuts or do anything irregular that will compromise its capacity to house the city’s mounting garbage and not pollute the surrounding environment.
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