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Opinion

Mayor Mike, is WTE the solution to Cebu City wastes?

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

We pray that you will not sign or have not yet signed/approved the majority-backed WTE (waste to energy) Joint Venture Agreement (JVA).

Why not?

For the following significant reasons please (and more, had there be no space limitation for columns).

First, some procedural checks.

Have you please ascertained/verified if the majority bloc or the Ad Hoc committee charged with the JVA followed proper procedures for the JVA approval?

Specifically, has the WTE Ad Hoc Committee completed, approved, and submitted the final committee report related to this JVA?

If yes, did you please check if the AD Hoc Committee Report on the WTE submitted to you was also the same report that all other council members received and discussed prior to and during the final majority-bloc approval of the JVA?

If no committee report yet, was it proper for the majority in the council to approve the WTE JVA without the final WTE Ad Hoc Committee Report and without a final, common JVA copy shared to the whole council?

Next, have you please checked if all the requirements and procedures for the approval of the JVA have been duly completed and complied with?

As raised by the opposing council members and several news reports, have you verified if it Is true that the JVA was signed even without a definite and identified WTE site (with proper EIA clearance and all as required by the JVA?)

Did you also check please if there were other JVA requirements not complied with?

Is it ok for you to sign the WTE JVA if it is true that even if the site requirement (and perhaps other incomplete requirements?) were not complied with, the majority bloc proceeded anyway to approve the JVA agreement?

Also, still on whether proper procedures were followed by the Adhoc Committee for the deliberation and approval of the WTE JVA – was there a public consultation about the WTE and JVA?

Is it true that those opposed to the WTE were given a very limited period to present their arguments?

Only 5 minutes of one council meeting in December, 2021?

Before the seeming hasty approval of the WTE JVA, did the Ad Hoc Committee reach out to educate the constituents about WTE and the JVA and its implications for the public and city funds?

A second reason why the WTE JVA should not be signed by you, please.

The JVA commits Cebu City billions of funds for 40 years for the construction and operational needs of the WTE.

With so much funds and requirements for this WTE venture, shouldn’t the WTE Ad Hoc Committee and the council have informed and consulted their constituents especially for their decision about the WTE and JVA?

Is it ok with you to approve this JVA that has not been thoroughly processed for deliberation and approval of Cebu City constituents?

By approving the JVA (in spite of reported procedural lapses and without intensive public consultation and approval), can 8 or 9 Council members commit billions of Cebu City people’s funds for 40 years for WTE?

Why not sustainable/inexpensive/alternative/eco-friendly waste management schemes instead?

Our next two reasons.

Is waste the priority problem of Cebu City’s residents?

What is more important, more humane, more sustainable- to spend the  limited funds of rich Cebu City government for waste/energy for the FUTURE 40 years or to spend for millions of needy/poor people NOW urgently needing food, housing, clothing, jobs, education, health services and cheaper/sustainable/renewable energy?

Have the Cebu City officials, now or before, allowed/implemented or funded inexpensive/participatory (people/barangay-based) waste segregation and management of Cebu City’s wastes?

Why not encourage instead eco-friendly/sustainable community gardens, other waste-based livelihood schemes?

No to hugely expensive, eco-unfriendly WTE, especially amidst global warming please!

WASTE TO ENERGY

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