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Council urged to reconsider stance

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita April 24,2015 - 10:59 AM

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama wants the City Council to reconsider its position to prohibit the use of unspent calamity funds as payment of a tipping fee for a private landfill in Consolacion town.

“I think they’ll have another meeting and there will always be funds. Let it be discussed again. If nothing will happen, then we will cross the bridge, on what ought to be done. I’m of the view it’s not the end of the world,” he told reporters yesterday.

Rama refused to elaborate on his plans if the council stands pat on their decision not to allow the executive department to use the unspent calamity funds from 2011, 2012 and 2014.

During their regular session last Wednesday, the council didn’t approve a proposed resolution of Councilor Hanz Abella to charge P50 million to the unspent funds for the tipping fees for the next three to four months.

READ: Cebu City garbage problem looms

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya called for a review of the resolution as he questioned why the calamity funds are being used for another purpose.

The  Department of Public Services’ (DPS) P51-million budget intended for the tipping fees from January to June will last only until the end of this month.

Part of the reason was the DPS’s hiring of a private hauler to help the city, especially the south barangays, convey its garbage to the private landfill in Consolacion.

The private hauler has been transporting the city’s garbage to the Consolacion landfill since February 19.

READ: ‘Basurero’ charging P6K to collect city garbage

Rama ordered the permanent closure of the Inayawan landfill last January.

The city government pays the private hauler P1,500 for each ton of garbage they dump or P800 more than if the city transported the garbage using its own trucks.

The council questioned the DPS for bypassing the council’s approval on the   hiring  of a  private hauler and the absence of a contract whereof .

“The budget was there already. The most important thing is there’s a problem and it has to be addressed,” Rama said.

After the closure of the Inayawan landfill, barangays have been scampering to collect and dump garbage due to the long trip to Consolacion town. Their trucks can only carry up to two tons of trash.

“I don’t have to tell them now what I will do. But I’m giving the council a chance to address the problem. If they want to be involved, then let them get involved. Let them all have that concern. Unless they would want to receive the garbage at their own residence. Or they want to reopen the landfill so the whole Cebu City will suffer from the obnoxious odor,” Rama said.

The council scheduled an executive session this coming Monday to discuss the issue together with the DPS, City Treasurer’s Office and City Budget Office.

In its March 11 letter request to Mayor Rama, DPS appealed for an additional P137.8 million to cover the tipping fees from May to December this year to be included in the next supplemental budget of the city. From that amount, P36.4 million goes to the  DPS dumping 200 tons of trash daily at P700 per ton for 260 days.

The remaining P101.4 million goes to  the private hauler for dumping 260 tons of trash at P1,500 per ton also for 260 days.

Since the city’s executive department has  not prepared a supplemental budget, they instead hoped to charge it to the unspent calamity fund of the previous years.

Councilor Dave Tumulak, Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) chief, said it was okay to use the balance of the city’s calamity funds in the previous years.

“(With the disapproval of the budget charging), I’m worried about the garbage problem of the city. It will affect health, tourism and economy. The opening of classes is coming as well as the rainy season, this will have a big effect. The people now know who to blame,” Tumulak said.

Rama said the executive department can prepare a supplemental budget to cover the costs of dumping the garbage at the Consolacion landfill.


Families living near Inayawan landfill at risk of a garbage landslide


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TAGS: Cebu City, DPS, Inayawan landfill, solid waste management

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