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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 22, 2016
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Garbage notes


Let me repeat the two most urgent problems that the past administration of Monico Puentevella left, not including the several indications of massive graft and corruption. The top issues are garbage and traffic. I shall deal today with garbage that I started yesterday with focus on what can be done, with the hope that the misgivings and expectations of the citizens of Bacolod will reach the appropriate officials of the city and make more people aware and finally take action.

Indeed awareness is the first step in the solution of problems. One cannot understand and act on what one does not know about. Of course officialdom has the habit of denial sometimes for lack of concern and sometimes for being overwhelmed by the problem.

Some years back I asked the late Mayor Romeo Guanzon how he was able to get the markets cleaned up before people come in the morning. He said one solution is for him to go to the market not later than seven in the morning. By then the street cleaners would present to him a clean market as if wanting to get some credit which Mayor Guanzon did extend.

I recall this when I heard Mayor Evelio Leonardia said on radio last Tuesday morning that he went to the market at the unholy hour of one o'clock in the morning and the street cleaners were already working.

Buried on page 3 of the DAILY STAR of July 18 is the report that the garbage dump in Locsin Street, Barangay 37 had been cleared and Mayor Leonardia inspected the area just before midnight of July 15. He had been informed of this dump and he ordered action. He was satisfied with his visit.

While this is laudable, one might ask: why would it have to take the mayor with hundreds of other concerns to address, just to insure that an area in the city is cleared of garbage? What did the barangay chairman do? What did the contracted garbage collector do that so much trash had accumulated in this area which is within the inner city? If garbage could so gather here for days, imagine in other places far from the city's main area. This hump attests to the negligence of the barangay officials, of the enforcement unit, the contractor and above all the lack of education of citizens.

We have several places with this common daily sight. There is for instance a garbage heap on the road towards Barangay Bata just across a hardware store. There is no day where this place is ever clean. Consider that this is a major passage towards Talisay and the airport.

Then at the east end of the overpass across Robinson's Bacolod and kept under the shrub is a daily ugly sight of garbage. It is a testimony to the failure of the collector, the negligence of the barangay, and people's bad habit. Did Robinson report this?

We need not mention the daily mountain of trash at the three public markets and several other areas including the Manokan Country that, ironically, want to be a tourist destination. It takes a little effort on the part of the tenants there to make their place a model of sanitation and beauty. Compounding the restrains of people to eat there is the presence of barkers.

The action of Mayor Leonardia to see and direct the cleaning up of problematic places is commendable because his subalterns will be encouraged to do their work. However we cannot expect the mayor to be the sanitary inspector at the same time when there are people and a contractor who are paid to get the trash out of public view at least.

The garbage dump in sidewalks and side streets could not have accumulated if removed daily which should be a routine for street cleaners and the contractor. Needless to say, they are a letdown.

Perhaps it is necessary to take a look at the conditions of the contract. There are talks that someone has a few trucks tucked into the contractor's fleet, but do not collect garbage. While not collecting garbage, the truck owner collect fees or share from the contractor. This could be a reason that the contractor is also not performing as it should, to save on money for the truck owner.

A new contract is up for bidding. The city should insure the contractor does its job well as its failure or efficiency will show.*




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