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Cebu News

Rama urged: Cancel WTE contract

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Members of the civil society groups are calling on Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to cancel the contract he signed with the New Sky Energy, Inc. for the construction of a waste-to-energy facility in the city.

Representatives from the youth, workers, and urban poor communities staged a protest action yesterday to denounce the mayor’s entering a joint venture agreement that they believe disadvantageous to the city government.

“Mayor Rama is holding us hostage to a problematic garbage management system. Instead of using the taxpayer’s money to pursue genuine solutions to solid waste, this WTE project will encourage and push Cebuanos to produce more garbage to ensure continuous feeding and operation of the incinerator plant,” said Teody Navea, secretary general of Sanlakas-Cebu.

“By signing this JVA, the Cebu City government is promoting the use of dirty technology that violates the Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. WTE incinerators emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases and toxins into the air, water and surrounding communities. High-impact projects such as the WTE incinerator should be discussed and consulted with key stakeholders,” said Atty. John Menguito of the Philippine Earth Justice Center.

Menguito said the city government should cancel the contract and instead invest in concrete programs on waste management.

“We call on Mayor Rama to cancel the WTE garbage contract. Instead, the city government should invest in helping its barangays, schools, and business establishments to implement concrete programs on garbage prevention and source separation as warranted under our environmental laws,” Menguito said.

According to the public network EcoWaste Coalition, the city’s spending on solid waste management is expected to increase under the contract with the New Sky Energy.

The network emphasized that there are already cities and barangays in the country that have implemented the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and have effectively addressed their garbage woes.

“Magaganda ang plano ng ating syudad pero hindi naiisip ang kalagayan ng mga mamamayan natin, ng mga Cebuanos…Pinirmahan ang WTE susunugin ang mga basura, magkicreate ng mga sakit sa mga tao..hindi maganda.Ang balaod nato, naa na tay, Solid Waste Management Act, ang malata ug dili malata e segregate para klaro paghipos sa basura…Karon dili tama nga ang paghipos sa basura, sunugon, maka-create ug cancer, lung disease sa katawhan..Nganong pirmahan nga kabalo man si Mayor, para siya sa mga tawo,” Navea said.

Meanwhile, the groups called out Rama to focus on relocation sites for affected residents in the recovery of the three-meter easement and flood mitigating projects.

“Wala mi babag sa development nga gusto ni mayor…gusto mi na manindot ang Cebu City. Gusto mi manindot sama sa Singapore, pero sundugon pud nato ang Singapore, wala nila pasagda-i ilang mga tawo…wala nila gihimong mga ilaga ilang mga tawo…papahawaon sa mga lugar nga delikado sa ilang pagpuyo, mao sad na ang among gustong mahibaw-an sa mayor,” Navea said. — FPL (FREEMAN)

MICHAEL RAMA

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