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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, October 17, 2016
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TIGHT ROPE
WITH MODESTO P. SA-ONOY

IPM contract-4

Tightrope

Last week I raised the subject of the condition or colatilla that Councilor Ricardo Tan inserted into the SP ratification of the IPM contract with Bacolod City for him to vote in the affirmative. This attachment was for the city's Solid Waste Management Office and the Department of Public Services to “submit a monthly monitoring report” to the Sanggunian of the “activities and accomplishments of the contractor.”

When Councilor Ceasar Distrito moved for the approval of the authority of Mayor Evelio Leonardia to sign the contract with IPM, his motion did not include this condition. It was then that Councilor Tan “explained” his vote by inserting the provision to check on performance. Nobody opposed the proposal.

The Tan amendment initially appeared innocuous and most people do not bother with it. But he was serious in imposing this proviso because he wanted to insure that the IPM complied with its obligations. The contract, after all, is P60 million in four months.

The many complaints against the performance of IPM prompted Councilor Tan to deliver last Wednesday a privilege speech that exposed the negligence, or in his words, dereliction of duty of the Solid Waste Management Office and the Department of Public Services.

Over two weeks have passed after the time these two offices were to submit a report (October 1), but they failed to comply. They probably thought the councilor was not serious about the condition attached to the contract.

Fortunately radio stations broadcast Councilor Tan's speech and newspapers gave wide space for it. Let us quote pertinent portions of his speech.

“As of October 1, 2016, I was expecting that SWMO and DPS would be submitting the Monitoring Report to the Office of the Vice Mayor, so that we would be able to take it up in our October 5, 2016 regular session. But there was none.”

Curiously, why was it only Councilor Tan who remembered the condition? One radio commentator has an opinion on this question, citing matters taken up (or “cooked” was his word) in Boracay. He did not elaborate.

“Meanwhile, I consistently heard comments from the public that our contractor has failed to perform its obligation in promptly collecting garbage in various barangays and puroks. This fact was even published several times in print and broadcast media. The people's complaints need to be properly addressed, considering the fact that we are paying our contractor a larger sum of almost P15 million per month to do this task for us. We deserve no less than our money's worth. We need to inform our people of our contractor's performance.”

Indeed I wrote that the SP has the duty to tell us what happened because it was the SP that ratified the contract and imposed a condition. But, to repeat, why are the other members of the SP silent? In fact while the city residents were airing their complaints daily, how many councilors were known to be concerned?

We only see City Administrator John Orola doing something. Sure the councilors are not executives but they are public officials who ratified the contract with speed. None questioned the competence of IPM except Councilor Tan who, in the situation where everyone in the session hall was intent in ratifying the contract, at least put a condition that others could not refuse but had to accept.

That proviso insured that the city is not shortchanged. In fact we are already seeing the fruits of that condition demanding answers to IPM's poor performance.

“I expect that the SWMO and the DPS have already done its monitoring job and have gathered the necessary data. What areas did the contractor cover every day since Day 1?”

The radio stations, in an almost daily basis, have a long list of areas where IPM did not collect garbage. There were claims that the DPS was informed and only when it received the complaints did IPM collect the trash. DPS should have, at least, a list of the complaints and should be able to answer this question even partly.

On the other hand, if the barangay captains were cooperative they should also be able to provide information to SWMO and DPS.

“How much volume of garbage did the entire city of Bacolod produce per day and how much did the contractor collect? How much garbage were left uncollected and in what places? What is the percentage our contractor's collection efficiency?”

Difficult questions, so let's continue tomorrow.*

           

 

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