At first glance, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s order to take over the collection of garbage in three barangays is not only timely but expected of city officials whose mandate is to provide basic services to their constituents.
The choice of barangays though—Guadalupe, Tejero and Labangon—makes Rama’s order to take over garbage collection at least suspect. Yet, Rama insists that he’s the one being made the bad guy by his rivals.
“I don’t know what’s happening there. I do not want that they (barangays) will be pinpointing to us. It’s much better if we will take over starting today,” Rama said in last Monday’s press conference.
To be fair though, the city’s garbage problem had worsened since the past year. So much so in fact that the city government had been spending quite a lot for tipping fees charged for use of a privately owned landfill in Consolacion town.
There was a time when the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) bloc in the City Council questioned why the Supplemental Budget 1 included more than P50 million in tipping fees for the city’s garbage when the city government already budgeted more than P50 million as payment for tipping fees for the whole of last year.
The city’s garbage problem which was already serious to begin with, worsened when Rama closed down the Inayawan landfill site years after it was supposed to be closed down due to overcapacity.
But rather than find a new landfill site, Rama chose instead to transfer all of the city’s garbage to a landfill facility several kilometers away from the city, making the job of garbage collection and disposal quite harder.
Guadalupe barangay chairman Michael Gacasan said the city should have its own landfill but in one of his scheduled meetings with the media, Rama said based on his travels in countries like South Korea, cities should not have its own landfills.
He said he would rather dump the city’s garbage elsewhere and pay for it in order to help the local government unit where the landfill is located. In fact Rama even proposed to Talisay City Mayor Johnny delos Reyes that the city government pay garbage tipping fees to Talisay City.
The Talisay City Council shot down the proposal, saying the existing dumpsite isn’t up to standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and it’s located near Talisay City Hall.
Rama wanted to show off the nine new trucks the city purchased to use in garbage collection, again as part of its obvious efforts to win over the city residents there, Guadalupe being the bailiwick of his rival Tomas Osmeña.
Was Rama so unaware about the city’s worsening garbage problem that he had to take a tour of the three barangays that are incidentally bailiwicks of his rival in order to do something about it during election season? That said, the city having its own landfill site again looks like a good suggestion.
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