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Cebu City garbage problem looms

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita April 23,2015 - 09:54 AM

Cebu City garbage trucks filled with waste wait for their turn to dump their garbage at the Consolacion private landfill. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

Cebu City garbage trucks filled with waste wait for their turn to dump their garbage at the Consolacion private landfill. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

How does Cebu City plan to dispose of its garbage if it can’t pay  tipping fees to transport trash?

Only P51 million of the requested P122 million budget for tipping fees at a private landfill in Consolacion was approved. The amount will run out by end of this month.

“This may also have a negative impact on our local economy as uncollected and littered garbage will ward off foreign and local tourists and will also discourage the business community… Garbage collection and disposal are very serious matters, in fact, non-collection or mismanagement of garbage amounts to a disaster, to a certain extent,” Councilor Hanz Abella said in a privilege speech yesterday.

Department of Public Services (DPS) head Rolando Ardosa requested Mayor Michael Rama for additional funds to cover tipping fees for the next three to four months.

Abella proposed to tap an P50 million from an unspent budget of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) for 2011, 2012 and 2014.

The City Council yesterday voted 7-6 rejecting the move to use calamity funds for garbage collection.

The problem will be discussed against in an executive session  on April 28 with the DPS, City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas,  Budget Officer Marietta Gumia, Inayawan barangay officials and Gubat sa Basura program head former councilor Edu Rama.

Those who voted against the resolution were Councilors Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Nestor Archival Sr., Lea Japson, Roberto Cabarrubias and James Anthony Cuenco, while Councilors Phillip Zafra, Gerardo Carillo, Richard Osmena, Noel Wenceslao, Hanz Abella and Dave Tumulak voted for the proposal.

Councilor Mary Ann Delos  Santos was out of the session hall during the voting although she was present during deliberations. Councilors Nida Cabrera, Margot Osmeña and Alvin Dizon did not attend the session.

Gabuya said he wants a review first by the committees on budget, environment and public services.

“Why did they request just now? Dali-dalion pa ta. This is not supposed to be a calamity so why are we using the calamity funds for this?” Gabuya said.

Queries on how the approved budget was used and how much was needed prompted the Council to ly call for  Ardosa. He instead sent  a representative, Engr. Rogelio Legaspi.

He said the P51 million budget for DPS this year was used for  tipping fees from January to April (P46 million) and  salaries of job order personnel for the entire year (P5 million).

Of the P46 million, P15 million was used to pay  a private garbage hauler because the small, old and sometimes malfunctioning garbage trucks of the barangays were not reliable.

Barangay garbage trucks were forced to  go directly  to the Consolacion landfill after  the Jan. 15   closure of the Inayawan landfill, which served as the city’s transfer station.

The city generates  300 tons of garbage daily and pays P700 per ton to the private landfill operator.  The city also  pays P1,500 per ton  to the private hauler, which includes a  P700 fee. This means the private hauler gets P800 per ton.

“There are more than 30 barangays who benefit from their private hauler, mostly in the south. They just dump their garbage in the transfer station and the private hauler will be the one to bring it to Consolacion,” said Legaspi.

He said  private haulers have been operating since February 19. Each of their 10-wheeler trucks can carry up to 10 tons while the typcial  barangay truck, even the new compactor trucks donated by Yokohama, Japanm can only carry up to two tons.

In its March 11 letter to Rama, DPS asked that  P137.8 million for the tipping fees from May to December this year be included in the next supplemental budget.

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TAGS: Cebu City, garbage, landfill, solid waste management

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