Dear Mayor Mike   

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

For sure, we know that you have discerned that God has plans for you when you took over as Cebu City mayor after Mayor Labella died.

During his November 26 burial, do you remember please that you shared that 1.) The winds carried the strong stench of the Binaliw trash all the way to where you were, at the Golden Haven Memorial Park, and, 2.) You wanted to do something to spare the Binaliw residents from having to live with the stench and the filth any longer?

That was November last year.

Since then, we pray the Binaliw residents have been breathing fresher air and living in cleaner, healthier surroundings. Otherwise, can you imagine how much more horrible their plight may now be, especially with typhoon Odette last December?

Aside from their daily burden of unbearable stench and filth, we wonder how many of the Binaliw residents were rendered homeless and even poorer by typhoon Odette, COVID-19, and the continuing economic and other crises?

We are certain that you recognize that proper waste management can bring benefits, not only for the poor in Binaliw, but for other needy anywhere else. And the environment as well.

Given your serious concern about effective waste management, we had looked forward to sustainable waste management policies during your God-given term as mayor.

We know that you value collaborative effort and commitment to solve the multifaceted city waste problem.

So, your proposed Waste Summit raised hopes that Cebu City’s waste, an issue very close to your heart, may finally start to be sustainably managed.

If participatory and organized effectively, the Waste Summit would have brought sectors together to clarify the causes and appropriate responses/actions to sustainably manage Cebu City’s waste at the least costs, with maximum public participation and results beneficial to the city, constituents, our planet earth included.

As you and all else know, we are all given until 2030 to save our planet, exactly, seven years and nine more months for all to unite/work together to stem global warming and to restore God’s earth/creations as stewards.

Sadly, we learned that even before your proposed Waste Summit, the administration bloc in the City Council pushed the approval for a Waste to Energy (WTE) Joint Venture Agreement last Wednesday, March 9.

We understand your signature will seal the 40-year contract between Cebu City and a private company, with the city paying the company about ?28.8 billion (calculated using the data in a JVA copy attached to last Wednesday’s SP agenda)?

Mayor Mike, we pray you have not yet signed this JVA and that you will be open to a public discussion of that JVA to be paid for by people’s funds?

Before you sign, can you grant your Cebu City constituents their right to be informed, consulted, and their consent solicited about the JVA that only nine majority bloc councilors approved?

In that public hearing, we would like to ask the following questions and more:

1.) Since the 40-year agreement will involve public funds and affect the city, residents and the environment, can you please allow public access to the JVA and our requested public discussion/hearing about this JVA?

2.) What is the final JVA approved by the majority bloc last Wednesday? Is this the same JVA copy previously shared with all council members and approved for discussion before last Wednesday’s session?

3.) Were the requirements for the approval for a JVA complied with (e.g an identified WTE location?)

4.) If, as reported, the approval was done without any confirmed WTE site, why was the JVA rushed for approval?

5.) And why was the JVA approval for this WTE contract rushed before the May elections, in the midst of homelessness/poverty of millions of Cebu City’s needy?


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