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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, July 26, 2016
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SWM on the garbage


It is heartwarming for the people of Bacolod to read that Mayor Evelio Leonardia has reorganized the city’s Solid Waste Management  Board to deal with the aggravating problem of garbage, but...

One thing civilized people hate is filth whether at home or in the public places. How we hated that the city swam in garbage under the previous administration, save a few favored subdivisions.

The SWM board was mandated by law but have we heard of this before? Perhaps, but observation shows the board has been practically useless or negligent. The garbage problem would not have reached this critical level had the board functioned as it should.

The board is overloaded with almost every agency of the government with anything to do with garbage. Again, the garbage mounds indicate that these agencies had not done their job well.

Take the case of the Association of Barangay Captains. I had written time and again about the barangay chairmen as the first line in garbage collection. In fact they have a share in the garbage fee but why are there garbage mound in the city? The only reason: negligence by the barangay to at least report and insure that the contracted garbage collector remove the trash daily. Had the barangay chiefs educated their constituencies to do their share in making their communities clean we would not be in this mess. The rubbish tells us they have not enforced the laws and ordinances even on business or household refuse andlitters.

Informing the collector appears important. At least after I mentioned the garbage in Lacson Street towards Barangay Bata the mound of trash was leveled though not totally cleaned. Did they leave something for the rats, the cats, the vermin and the maggots? Two days later the mound was back

The board has a representative of the Department of Public Services. Need we cite its failure considering the garbage situation? DPS is considered “dumping” ground for “unwelcome” permanent city employees that probably explain why the department is not functioning as it should.

This department is vital in the enforcement of the ordinance on garbage because it has an army (at least on paper and public perception) of workers. If the city is unclean, need we look elsewhere for blame?

One of the decisions reached by the board is that it directed the Bids and Awards Committee to conduct bidding for a garbage collection contract that will replace the present one by September 2.

What are the conditions of this contract? In the case of present contractor the public is not aware of the terms, at least the fine print. One condition that came out in the news is that the contractor is paid by the truck delivered regardless of the volume that it delivered. This is illogical and open to abuse and corruption. A garbage truck can deliver half a load and get a full payment. In fact I was told the one condition in the contract is for the contractor to have compactors. Was this complied with?

This system is one reason that the budget for garbage ballooned from a monthly fee of P9 million 2013 to P30 million in 2016 and yet the city is awash in trash. The City Legal Office should look into possible violations of the contract because the present contractor might bid for the new one.

In the past, the collector was  paid by the volume it delivered. I think it should not just be volume but weight as well. This is just a thought. The point is the new board should insure that the city does not get another ride with a bigger budget and a smelly and ugly city.

One obnoxious practice of the garbage collector is to operate during day time. How many times have we followed an odious, open garbage truck? The city should insist that the collection should be done as it was many years back, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following day. Spare the citizens from the ugly sight, especially because the trucks are not covered.

While there is a secretariat, who or what agency is directly responsible for the enforcement? It is supposed to be the DPS and the barangay. But who oversees the DPS and the barangay? To whom do the citizens can complain?
SWM should show its teeth, be forceful, demand compliance and impose penalties. Without these the Board is just another big bore.*



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