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Invite investors to build landfill, Cebu LGUs told

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva February 15,2016 - 10:18 PM

Local governments should partner with investors in building sanitary landfills in their respective areas, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) said yesterday.

PENRO chief Chad Estella said these public-private partnerships (PPP) can  address “financial constraints” of LGUs which prevent them from setting up their own sanitary landfills.

“A lot of investors are coming in because they see garbage as a potential money-maker. They intend to convert it into energy,” Estella said.

But he failed to give estimates on how much money can be earned in the waste-to-energy business.

Estella said rising land prices is also a factor since LGUs would rather develop them as subdivisions rather than landfills.

For a one-hectare site, Estella said it would cost P1 million to install a liner — the barrier that prevents toxic substances from seeping into underlying aquifers or rivers — alone.

PENRO records show that only six out of 51 component cities and towns in Cebu province operate a sanitary landfill as of the second quarter of 2015.

Among these are Talisay City and the towns of Asturias, Balamban, Consolacion, Cordova, and Dalaguete.

Under Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, LGUs are mandated to shut down all open dump sites and replace them with sanitary landfills.

The National Solid Waste Management Commission filed a complaint for non-compliance against local officials of 600 LGUs nationwide, including Compostela town and Bogo City in northern Cebu, at the Ombudsman last Wednesday.

Compostela, a third income class town that earns P70 to P80 million annually,  cannot afford to build its own landfill which costs more than P20 million.

Mayor Joel Quiño said his administration is looking to partner with a private firm to build a waste-to-energy sanitary landfill.

Estella said the Capitol is open to providing financial assistance to LGUs in building their own landfill.

“If they ask for assistance, I will lobby for it,” he said.

Estella said Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III intends to set up a “provincial sanitary landfill” in Barangay Dawis Sur, Carmen, northern Cebu, within this year.

The provincial government allocated P5 million in its Annual Investment Plan for 2016 for site preparation of a 17-hectare lot purchased during the time of then-governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

Estella said the governor earmarked the amount to initially develop one hectare in the site.

“We wanted to have it implemented as soon as possible,” he told reporters.

At present, the Capitol is still complying with requirements to secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau.

Estella said the provincial government is open to entertaining offers from energy companies in building a waste-to-energy landfill site.

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