Tumulak sees no need placing Inayawan in state of calamity, barangay to help waste pickers
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak, the City Council’s committee chairperson for disaster risk reduction and management, does not see any reason to place Barangay Inayawan in a state of calamity or emergency.
Tumulak said on July 8, 2021, that the situation in the Inayawan Transfer Station is under control with the Environment and Management Bureau in Central Visayas (EMB-7) issuing a cease and desist order for the operator to comply with certain regulations.
The councilor said that there is no reason to use disaster funds in the barangay because the garbage problem is not new and the city is continuously fixing and improving the area around the transfer station.
If the problem was about health, Tumulak said the City Health has ongoing programs to maintain and improve the health of the nearby residents, whose major livelihood is connected with garbage as well.
“Murag dili kaayo haom kay unsa may purpose sa pagdeclare og state of calamity? Maybe health impact. Pero pwede na mamitigate kay naa man tay existing health programs sa City Health,” said Tumulak.
He appealed to Vice Mayor Michael Rama not to “abuse” the declaration of a state of calamity as this cannot be taken lightly especially that funds can be poured into area to fix what the supposed cause of the calamity or emergency is.
“Moingon na gani kag under a state of calamity, you can use funds. Prone to abuse man gyod na ang pagdeclare but it does not mean gi abusohan,” said Tumulak.
The councilor wants to know what measures can be done to solve the problem while maintaining a normal state in the barangay.
There is a precedent to declaring a state of emergency in a barangay due to environmental issues as the council did so in 2019 over the stench in Barangay Kalunasan, which emanated from the drainage of nearby jail facilities.
Tumulak does not see a similar urgency for Inayawan as he said the problem has long been there even before the EMB-7 ordered its closure.
“Possibly ang Cebu City will demand nga ifix na sa contractor ang transfer station,” said Tumulak.
Similarly, Inayawan Barangay Captain Kirk Bryan Repollo said the barangay itself cannot declare a state of calamity over the garbage problems even with health impact because the garbage problem is outside the bounds of a state of calamity declaration.
“I asked my Barangay Admin Vince Monterde to research for basis sa declaration, but what we found out kay dili pwede ang state of calamity as to garbage problems because garbage is a man-made calamity and not a natural calamity.”
“We don’t need to declare a state of calamity kay we have other sources of funds nga pwede natong makuhaan,” said Repollo in a text message.
While the councilor and the barangay chief thumbed down a state of calamity or emergency declaration, the residents in the area have been calling for help amid the closure of the transfer station.
Nanay Lucille, (not her real name), a waste picker for over 30 years previously in the Inayawan landfill and eventually in the transfer station, said that without the trash being delivered to the White Road, they have no source of livelihood.
“Asa man mi mangitag pagkaon aning panahona nga wa may basura. Ang basura raman among panginabuhian,” she told CDN Digital.
Her younger son who works as an employee of the transfer station is also facing at least two weeks without a job. He doesn’t know if the transfer station management will pay them during the suspension time.
Nanay Lucille’s son is one of the 300 employees of the private transfer station who are affected because of the closure. There are also over a hundred waste picker families affected in the area.
“Unta tabangan mi, dili lang mi kalimtan. Mura man mi nila gikalimtan diri,” she said.
Repollo said that the barangay has listed all waste pickers in the area by family to provide sustenance for them while the transfer station is closed.
Unfortunately, they cannot extend the same help to the affected workers as they must be taken cared of by the transfer station management.
“Being their employee is the concern of their employer, but if these employees kay identified as waste pickers sad ang ilang family, then we can extend to them whatever assistance we can give, depending sa result sa atong session,” he said.
Repollo said that the barangay will appreciate any help that the city will provide for the residents.
“Whatever actions from the City Government nga maka solve sa problema and makatabang sad sa affected residents, then we welcome it,” he said. /rcg
Rama mulls declaring state of emergency or calamity in Barangay Inayawan
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