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Baguio solid waste mgmt plan’s delay, whose fault?

BAGUIO CITY – Despite being approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) on October 2015, the city’s solid waste management plan has been stuck in the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s desk.

In a resolution approved by the city council on June 27, 2016, the implementation of the 10-year (2015-2024) Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) of Baguio City that received the nod of the NSWMC was suspended and has not met the council’s standard for endorsement hence.

The council, through Resolution 131, series of 2016, halted the establishment of the city’s Integrated Solid Waste Management System (ISWMS) of the SWMP due to the absence of review and approval of the plan before it was presented to the NSWMC.

“Before doing its review of the plan, the City Council will have to conduct an investigation to avoid, prevent or otherwise check and clarify unwanted criticisms and malicious suspicions or institutions of a wrong committed or intended in having the plan approved,” the resolution stated.

In an interview with city general services officer Romeo Concio, he said the 10-year plan is until now pending in the city council.

He said he doesn’t know why the council has not approved of the plan until now.

“We have done our part, we have prepared it; the national has approved it. So what else can we do?” he said.

He said this is why “we are going to pass it to a private group.” He refused to divulge the private company’s group but he said talks are underway since February 2017.

Concio emphasized that if a private entity manages the solid waste of the city, “there would be lesser questions or intervention, mas mabilis ang implementation.”

He said he strongly hopes that the private group will take over the soonest possible time.

Concio said this will considerably ease the city’s expenses. “There is a P75-million allotment of fund this year. Last year we spent P72 million on hauling of garbage,” he said.

Since the enactment of Republic Act (R.A.) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the city government has been searching for a place to build an engineered sanitary landfill (ESL), a quest which up to this date has not reached any conclusions.

City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the local government has prioritized the Sto Tomas in Camp7 area, which is within Baguio City, to be developed as a site for the ESL.

But, he said, aside from the opposition of the residents, the site cost development is too much. “Kalsada pay laeng nga mapan idiay, agan-anay P200milion, pwera pay daydiay inside road ken of course diay panang-develop mismo.”

Domogan said aside from the high cost of the development, it might also take a long time. This is why he is hoping for the proposal of the Benguet Corporation to develop its old Antamok open pit mine in Itogon, Benguet to push through. He said the mining company expressed willingness to develop the area which can serve as the city’s integrated solid waste disposal system site.

There is already a road leading to the open pit, which only needs to be improved, said the mayor.

If the project will be implemented, the city will no longer need to spend so much for the hauling of garbage in Capas, Tarlac.
The more than P70 million cost of hauling every year can possibly go down to just about P15 million, he said.

Domogan reported that the mining company has created a committee which is now screening interested partners for the development of the Antamok site.

“Once the screening is done, we will sit with the interested partners and discuss the technology that would be used, whether it’s waste-to-energy or something else, and also the terms and conditions that should be agreed upon.”

Domogan said if there is a need for the city to put up a small ESL where the interested partner can put its technology, the local government will request for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to conduct intensive study.

He said this is to ease the apprehension of residents of Itogon and to be assured that the project is environmentally feasible.

The mayor said they will also negotiate with the industrial partner, who will be responsible in putting up the needed technology, about the benefits of the city and Itogon as the host local government.

Domogan said the greatest benefit of the project to the city is its proximity. “Daydiay gastos iti hauling ket maawan, mabalinen nga uray dagidiay garbage trucks tayon ti ag-pickup iti nasegregate a basura, idiretso dan idiay Antamok open pit, so you can imagine the hauling fee that can be saved.”

He explained that the hauling fee to Tarlac is more or less P950 per ton. The city hauls about 150 tons a day so the expenses in hauling alone is more or less P150,000 a day.

In the meantime, Domogan said, the city manages its biodegradable solid wastes through the Environmental Recycling System (ERS) in Irisan. These wastes are processed to become composts which the city auctions to buyers. “We are continuing to improve diay operation ti ERS tapno ma-increase daydiay maprocess na nga fertilizer, mailako tayo met.”

The non-biodegradable, non-recyclable wastes are the ones being hauled to Capas, Tarlac.

The non-biodegradable which are recyclable, are separated and collected. “There are volunteers going with our garbage collectors. They are not employees of the city government. They collect the recyclables and sell them. They have already their long time established customers.” Domogan said this greatly helps in managing the city’s solid wastes.

Domogan urged the residents to segregate wastes properly and bring out their segregated trash only during garbage collection schedule. “No maladaw daydiay garbage truck nga assigned iti barangay during garbage collection day, the rule is the general services office, awaganda nga dagus diay barangay to inform them nga maladaw ti garbage truck nga mapan kadakuada tapno ammoda ti ar-aramidenda.”

But despite the intensive information campaign, “adda latta dagiti nasulpeng nga haanda nga ag-segregate. Adda met dagidiay agibelleng idiay waig. While we minimize it, still adda pay laeng. Isu nga masapul ti continuing information campaign kadakuada.”

He said there have been cases that the violators were given written notices but they reformed so no further sanction was given.

Domogan once again reiterated that proper disposal of garbage is everybody’s concern. “Agtitinnulong tayo…sumurot tayo koma kadigiti reglamento nga agsegregate tayo ti biodegrable ken non-biodegradable. Ikabiltayo iti backyard tayo ket iruar tayo laeng during collection schedule. Dagiti met kakabsat nga adda lugar iti balaytayo nga mabalin nga pagikabilan ti compost, aramidentayo ta abono dayta, no ma-compost, makatulong tayo pay.”

He called on the residents to be vigilant, “Dillawen tayo koma dagiti kaaruba tayo nga ammotayo a mapan agibelbelleng ti basurada nga haan nga nasayaat ta rugitanda met ti barangay, agbalin nga health hazard dagita.”

Meanwhile, regarding the suspension of the 10-year plan SWMP, the mayor said that the city council has only been awaiting the recommendation of the Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR. He said the EMB’s recommendation, which is favorable to the city, has also been passed to the council.

He said it’s good that the city has its own solid waste management plan so that when there is something to be improved or changed, it could be amended. ABN

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