City eyes short-term solutions for foul discharges from Kalunasan jails

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz August 07,2019 - 05:35 PM

Vice Mayor Michael Rama (2nd from right), chair of the Cebu City Council’s environment committee, discusses the stench problem at the Cebu City Jail and the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) with Supt. Renante Rubio (right) and retired Chief Insp. Reynaldo Valmoria (left). | Irene R. Sino Cruz

CEBU CITY—Vice Mayor Michael Rama wants to come up with immediate solutions to address complaints over foul odor allegedly caused by discharges from the two jail facilities in Barangay Kalunasan.

Rama, who chairs the Cebu City Council committee on environment, issued this statement during an executive session held on Wednesday morning to discuss the letter-complaint which he received from lawyer Eugene Orbita, who represented the complainants. Sisters Francis Alinsob and Anthony Caingcoy, Langub Shrine curator and co-curator, also signed the letter.

Speaking during the executive session, Orbita noted that the foul smell  has become unbearable since 2015 and has caused a decline in the number of devotees going to the Langub Shrine.

Kalunasan Barangay Captain Nunilon Monares recalled that the foul odor started in 2005 but worsened in 2015 or about four years ago.

Supt. Renante Rubio, the Cebu City Jail warden, and retired Chief Insp. Reynaldo Valmoria of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) each presented the steps that they already took to address the issue.

“There’s a need for mitigating measures to address this matter immediately. This is a real problem,” Rama said during the executive session.

After a lengthy discussion on the complaint, Rama stressed the need for immediate action to stop the discharge of untreated wastewater into a nearby creek.

He then asked the different sectors concerned to attend a separate meeting which he called after Wednesday’s executive session to discuss the complaints raised by residents in Sitios Langub and Lareja.

The stench coming from the two jail facilities have been causing inconvenience to residents of sitios Langub and Lareja in Cebu City. /CDND File Photo

During the meeting, Supt. Rubio requested an increased siphoning of wastes at the facility to five times weekly. The city’s Department of Public Services currently collects the sludge from the two jail facilities between two to three times per week.

Rubio also sought the daily collection of garbage from the city jail and other facilities there such as the female dormitory, Operation Second Chance and the city jail’s annex building that is presently occupied by Naga City detainees.

For his part, the CPDRC warden said it would be up to the provincial government to solve the stench problem since there is already a pending project proposal for the quarterly desludging of their sewage. According to Valmoria, the provincial capitol has to spend around P8 million for each desludging.

Rubio said that the city jail was designed to house only 1,800 inmates. However, as of August 6, they already have a total of 5,795 inmates.

On the other hand, CPDRC’s capacity is only 1,500 but it still has over 2,700 inmates. Valmoria recalled that when he took over the facility in May this year, there were nearly 4, 000 inmates. The number reduced because he refused to accept additional inmates while others whose cases have been decided were sent to BJMP facilities in Leyte.

While short-term measures could alleviate the problem, Rama said long-term solutions should be pursued to prevent recurrence of the problem./dcb

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