Budget for hauling Lipa’s trash ‘inadequate,’ says new hauler

LIPA CITY—This city has a new garbage hauler, but the annual budget for hauling and dumping the trash elsewhere may not be enough.

That is what 7MG Hauling Services Philippine Corp. is claiming. The company’s president, Manuel Guarin, told councilors in a Committee on Environment hearing that the volume of wastes they collected in Lipa City was bigger than they expected.

The City Council's Committee on Environment hearing held early February heard the plans of 7MG Hauling Services Philippines, Corp. to collect Lipa City's garbage. The firm led by its President Manuel Guarin, told councilors the city's 2017 budget allocation for garbage collection is inadequate, and it excludes a monthly dumping fee (worth P2 million a month) that the firm pays to the dumpsite. (photo from Luigi Antonio Aception through his Facebook page)

The City Council’s Committee on Environment hearing held early February heard the plans of 7MG Hauling Services Philippines, Corp. to collect Lipa City’s garbage. The firm led by its President Manuel Guarin, told councilors the city’s 2017 budget allocation for garbage collection is inadequate, and it excludes a monthly dumping fee (worth P2 million a month) that the firm pays to the dumpsite. (photo from Luigi Antonio Aception through his Facebook page)

In addition, the city’s P35 million budget allocated for garbage collection (87900 m3 cubic meters] or 31,560 tons) this year is “insufficient.”

That is because 7MG pays a dumpsite fee to a private disposal facility in San Pedro, Laguna; that alone already costs P24 million per year, Guarin said.

What looms then is additional expenses for garbage collection. For this, councilors like Nilo Catipon questioned 7MG’s competence.

“It appears that you have already closed the deal with the city government, and now you’re already estimating that the dumpsite would already charge P2 million per month,” a visibly irate Catipon said.

“Why did you (7MG) have to accept [the contract] if you think that the budget may not be enough?”

7MG won the bidding that took place last January 17 (besting two other firms), or some 16 days prior to the committee hearing. RC Bella Waste Management and Disposal Services had hauled Lipa City’s trash from 2013 to last year.

7MG had been hauling the wastes of San Juan and Malabon cities in Metro Manila since 1986; Lipa City is the firm’s first non-Metro Manila client.

But even as Catipon asked 7MG if they will sign the contract amid the budget shortfall, Guarin said his firm accepted the contract and had already hauled 93 truckloads of trash prior to signing.

“We did what we had to do,” Guarin told attendees to the committee hearing.

Guarin likewise reassured the committee that the company would continue with the contract and abide by the conditions as the city’s primary garbage collector.

A 2015 Waste Analysis Characterization study conducted by Batangas’ Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office (PGENRO) wrote Lipa City generates 89.95 tons of waste per day. Most of these collected daily are recyclables (34.48 tons), compostables (32.93 tons), residuals (18.5 tons) and special (3.26 tons)

Recyclable wastes make up majority of the waste composition in Lipa City (38.38 tons) percent, followed by biodegradable (36.65), residual (21.42) and special wastes (3.55).

During the hearing, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Ricardo Libon also admitted the delay in the bidding process resulted to the delays in garbage collection in the first two weeks of January.

The city’s annual budget of P1.58 billion was only approved by the council on Dec. 20 and signed by Mayor Meynardo Sabili on Jan. 3.

The bidding only happened on Jan. 17.

Noting the lessons of the unhauled garbage, councilors suggested to the finance committee that they should instead conduct the bidding by November 2017 in order to prevent backlogs in garbage collection.

Councilor Avior Rocafort meanwhile advised 7MG to exercise due diligence before entering into an agreement.

“Once you signed this agreement, you’re on the hot seat. You will sign P35 million worth of contract and we’re not sure if the Council will provide more budget (for the garbage collection). It depends on each member of the Sangguniang Panglungsod (City Council),” Rocafort said.

“…And to those who bid, please study carefully the conditions of garbage in Lipa and the conditions of the contract. It’s only now that you know that the payment for landfill costs (more than) P1 million.”

Among the three cities in Batangas province, only Batangas City has its own sanitary landfill facility. Like Lipa, neighboring Tanauan City hires a private hauler.

Only six LGUs also have their own sanitary landfill facility in the province and these are Batangas City, Lemery, Cuenca, Taysan, Bauan and Alitagtag.

Libon told The Filipino Connection said that Lipa City having its own sanitary landfill facility would help address the garbage problem. But the city government still has to find a property to purchase, build and operate the said facility, not to mention that a sanitary landfill may take four years to complete.

A sanitary landfill needs prior approval from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2003).

For now, Libon says, garbage being collected in Lipa City mixes up biodegradables and non-biodegradables (waste segregation is mandated by RA 9003).

 

 

This story can be published, broadcast and/or posted online provided The Filipino Connection and the article’s author/s are properly acknowledged. Editorial mistakes are the publisher’s. Comment: thefilipino.connection@gmail.com

 

Related Stories
Handling wastes in Lipa City, a history of lack of cooperation, ineptitude

Lipa’s stinky problem

About MARLON ALEXANDER S. LUISTRO