Cebu city trash increasing but still no budget approval
The volume of garbage collected in Cebu City has almost doubled in past months, an official said.
Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera said she has “lost my title as queen of garbage” (rayna sa basura)” with the stubborn problem and that City Hall should focus on reducing the amount of garbage generated in homes, companies and communities.
Her privilege speech was delivered as the City Council, for the fourth time, shot down an attempt to resume deliberation of an unprecedented P2.8 billion Supplemental Budget 1 (SB1) this year, which includes P87 million for additional garbage tipping fees.
Cebu City hauled 67,000 tons of trash to the Consolacion landfill last year.
But from January to September this year, the volume already reached 122,000 tons, said Cabrera citing records of the Department of Public Services (DPS).
“What’s happening? There’s technology in place but it’s not being followed. Are we really implementing our waste reduction program or do we just want more garbage to dispose so that we’d have to pay more hauling fees?” asked Cabrera in Cebuano.
She lamented that mountain barangays are directly trucking their trash to Consolacion town instead of having biodegradable wastes and plastics processed in the Mansei Recycling Facility in Inayawan, Cebu City.
There’s no sign that garbage in the barangays is being reduced despite the presence of barangay environmental officers in all villages, she said.
The City Council set an executive session for Nov. 12 to discuss the problem further.
Meanwhile, the majority bloc denied another move to lift deferment of action on the proposed P2.8 billion SB1 despite an appeal by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella to move on.
Labella, in a privilege speech, said the court has not issued a temporary restraining order against the City’s use of the P8.3 billion down payment from the sale of lots in the South Road Properties (SRP).
He said the council should move on and approve, reject or slash the budget proposal as provided for under the Local Government Code.
“War makes us all weary. It saddens me to answer with the same pronouncement that ‘SB 1 has been deferred’ or ‘We will continue to be hopeful’ while I look into the eyes of those who earnestly yearned for its approval. I cannot stomach my guilty conscience as I look at the rotting garbage piled along the streets knowing I have done little to keep it from happening,” he said.
Labella said the council is the “butt of jokes and caricatures” over the budget impasse.
His motion was opposed by all nine councilors of Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan and supported by six Team Rama legislators.
Critics of the mayor don’t want to approve SB 1, whose bulk would be spent to wipe out the P2.4 billion loan balance for the SRP.
In another privilege speech, BO-PK Councilor De Los Santos asked what happened to a P50 million additional budget for garbage collection and disposal approved last May.
A P51 million outlay for garbage services in the annual budget was exhausted by April and the additional P50 million was to cover the rest of the year.
De Los Santos said majority bloc members were unfairly blamed for uncollected garbage because of the stalled SB 1.
“That is their script. It sounds like the perfect political drama for the executive,” she said, referring to Mayor Rama.
She said City Hall sough a P120 million budget for garbage services and the council approved P51 million. But since May’s approval of an additional P50 million budget, the amount already reaches a total of P101 million.
De Los Santos asked why the mayor’s office is asking for P87 million more which would make total spending P188 million for the entire year versus the original proposal of only P120 million.
A bidding in September already has a winning bidder who offered a P47 million bid for the waste transfer station in Inayawan for south district barangays who can’t make the long road trip to Consolacion’s sanitary landfil.
“Why do we have uncollected garbage all over the place? What happened to the winning bidder? What ever happened to the P50 million allocation? That is an elephant in the room that the executive and allies are hiding, an obvious fact which they don’t want the people to see,” she said.
“No garbage is more toxic to the public welfare than a politician pre-occupied with self-interest,” she added.
After her, Councilor Cabrera delivered her privilege speech questioning the City’s management of solid waste management.
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