Cebu News

NGO exec resigns from waste board

Kristine B. Quintas/FPL - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - After being accused of conflict of interest, the managing director of the Paglaum Basurero 20/20 has resigned as member of the Cebu City Solid Waste Management Board.

Francis Paragas tendered his resignation following a privilege speech of Councilor Gerardo Carillo questioning the non-government organization’s alleged illegal exaction of garbage collection fees from business establishments.

“After yesterday’s (Wednesday) speech of Councilor Carillo and statement of Councilor (Nida) Cabrera that my appointment position results the conflict of interest. Please consider that I am resigning from the board. I can better serve in my private capacity. Salamat Po,” read Paragas’ text message to SWMB chairman, lawyer Janesis Ponce.

Ponce said Paragas voluntarily resigned from the board to avoid conflict of interest.  Cabrera earlier said Paragas who sits in the SWMB is posing a potential conflict of interests.

 Paglaum Basurero 20/20 allegedly collected garbage fees from business establishments without authority from the city government. Ponce said the person who will subsequently replace Paragas would come from the recycling industry, packaging industry, non-government organization as provided for under the exis-ting solid waste management laws.

Mayor Michael Rama wants the private organization to be inhibited from the city’s solid wastes management program.

 “I made a directive to him (Ponce) that I want a basurero but I don’t want a basurero that gets into trouble the city government. I want that basurero matter out of the Solid Waste Management Board,” he said.

Ponce clarified that Paglaum Basurero 20/20 is not authorized by the city to collect garbage fees.

However, he said the agreement is between the organization and the business establishments.

“The activity of private people is an activity they’re free to engage. Walay labot ang SWMB what the private sectors do with each other. The SWMB did not endorse and authorize any private organization for the fundamental reason we don’t have an ordinance to regulate and monitor that kind of activity,” he said.

He said the participation of private sectors in the so-lid waste management is highly being recommended.

Ponce said SWMB is willing to sit down with the members of the City Council “to come up with viable legislations.” He added that they will give recommendations also on February 20 during the scheduled executive session to discuss the allegation on Paglaum Basurero.

“It is now high time to come up with an ordinance to monitor and regulate the activities of private haulers. Come up minimum requirements who can engage hauling services,” he said.

Ponce said there is a need to revisit City Ordinance No. 1361 which established a system of garbage collection and imposing fees because it is already outdated. The said ordinance was passed 25 years ago.

Based on the ordinance, the payment of garbage fees may be made on a quarterly basis to be paid within the first 20 days of the first month every quarter.

 The garbage fees are P3 per truck of 1/2 ton, per delivery and P5 per truck of over 1/2 ton, per delivery. But in case of bulky or solid wastes, an entity is oblige to pay a disposal fee P150 basic fee for one ton or less of such garbage  and an additional of P100 per ton or a fraction thereof for over one ton.

Currently, he explained that a certain university is paying only P800 a year for its garbage. He said the university with 20,000 population is approximately ge-nerating about four tons.

 He said some food chains are paying an average of P10 a day despite the volume garbage collected from them.

The city is paying a private landfill in Consolacion town P700 per ton for tipping fee, excluding manpower, gasoline consumption, and many other expenses.

 He said the city collects from private establishments for garbage fees P60 million a year, which is a lot less than the P300 million a year spent in the collection and disposal of wastes.

Ponce said SWMB wants to reform the system on garbage fees.

“Those generating more garbage will pay more for garbage fees. There will be a little bit increase just to help out the city after all they are expending tens of millions of pesos just for sales promotions,” he said

 He added that they are still determining how much would be the garbage fees but surely it would be based on the actual cost of wastes generated. (FREEMAN)


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