Lack of foresight in changing of garbage haulers?

 

MANILA and LIPA CITIES—The changing of contractors hauling a locality’s garbage may inevitably lead to a problem of leaving some trash uncollected.

That’s what happened in Lipa City. Former contractor R.C. Bella Waste Management and Disposal Services did not renew its contract with the city government for 2017 and garbage in various parts of the city were left uncollected for nearly two months.

There is now a new contractor, 7MG Hauling Services Philippines, Inc. Officials of the firm presented the company to the city council only last February  2.

However, residents have been complaining of uncollected garbage since the turn of the new year.

Uncollected trash at a waiting shed in Lipa City's Barangay 8 (photo by Connie Reyes-Raz through her Facebook account)

Uncollected trash at a waiting shed in Lipa City’s Barangay 8 (photo by Connie Reyes-Raz through her Facebook account)

A lack of foresight happens to local government units that did not foresee what happens when garbage is uncollected given changing contractors for garbage hauling, says Dr. Arlen Ancheta of the Mother Earth Foundation.

It had happened to the Philippines’ capital city of Manila. During the time of then Mayor Alfredo Lim up to the first assumption of current mayor Joseph Estrada in July 2013, the firm contracted to haul Manila’s garbage ended leading to a lull and to uncollected garbage, Ancheta recalled.

Ancheta, a professor at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, told The Filipino Connection such forecasting of what happens when garbage haulers change rests on the local government’s environment and natural resources office (in Lipa’s case, the CENRO).

A 2015 Commission on Audit report on Lipa City bared that the city government paid P74,489,070.45 for the services of RC Bella Waste Management and Disposal Services from 2013 to 2015.

Earlier, Councilor Nilo Catipon previously questioned RC Bella’s competence and the need to renew its contract due to their “dismal performance.” This is following complaints from citizens that RC Bella has failed to collect in time the garbage at designated pick up points. In some areas, it takes about three-to-five days before the garbage gets collected, Catipon claimed.

In the past, the Cabuyao, Laguna-based hauling company also reportedly failed to collect garbage after a dump truck of theirs broke, which reportedly allowed stinking garbage dumps to pile up on the streets.

The contract with RC Bella expired on December 31, 2016 and CENRO Ricardo Libon said that the bidding for new hauler happened only on last Jan. 17 which resulted in the delay of garbage collection.

The volume of trash also increased during the Christmas and New Year holidays; since they were not collected, they continued to pile up on the streets like that of Gen. Luna Street in Barangay Sabang and San Nicolas Street in Barangay Balintawak.

Councilor Merlo Silva even demanded Libon’s resignation if he cannot solve the city’s garbage problems.

Trash in front of a vulcanizing shop in Brgy. Marawoy (photo from Melinda Magnaye through her Facebook page)

Trash in front of a vulcanizing shop in Brgy. Marawoy (photo from Melinda Magnaye through her Facebook page)

7MG Hauling Services will be paid P35,028,150 this year for a minimum volume of 35,160 tons (87,900 cubic meters) of trash.

On that Committee on Environment hearing February 2, 7MG President Manuel Guarin said they have already collected 93 trucks of garbage. He even bared the city government’s P35 million budget for hauling services “would be insufficient” as the annual dumpsite fee already costs P24 million.

Guarin also said that they already started collecting garbage even though the contract has not yet been signed.

The formal changing of contractors, leading to the hauling of garbage by the new contractor, got stalled as the city council only approved the 2017 budget on December 20, 2016. City Mayor Meynard Sabili signed the budget only last Jan. 3 and public bidding for the new garbage hauler happened only last Jan. 17. Three hauling firms participated in the bidding.

 

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About MARLON ALEXANDER S. LUISTRO and JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO