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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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Uncollected garbage


The contract of IPM to collect Bacolod's garbage has been renewed practically without question or opposition. The circumstances of this renewal send the message to the citizens that the performance of IPM is exemplary and without any doubt of its efficiency and compliance with the provisions of the original contact to clean up the city.

Nobody can say that the officials of the city do not go around. Politicians as they are and considering the coming elections - barangay and local - they are surely in daily circulation. The itch of movement is ingrained in politicians. However, with the limits now imposed by President Duterte on foreign travels at the expense of the government, they will have more time in their domain. Even if they spend their own money, the fact is that they remain in the city's payroll because their salaries are not deducted for days of absence.

Granting that, how come city officials cannot see the uncollected garbage that commuters see daily, from morn till evening? Are their cars so tinted they see nothing what we see even through tinted glass? Do they look but do not see?

The fundamental defect and disadvantage to the city in the IPM garbage collection contract is that there is no provision or means of knowing whether the trash collected is worth the amount paid monthly to IPM. The city's department of public services has need to determine the volume because the contract rider provision for monthly reportage seems to have gone into the trash can.

Has the DPS been religiously reporting to the Sanggunian? “Information” says it does not but even if it did, it would do well for the DPS or the SP to also make periodic public reports on IPM performance. They owe it to the citizens considering the huge amount being paid to IPM and the uncollected trash.

Whether IPM collected 200 tons or 600 tons of trash daily or not, it is paid a fixed amount. Common sense (where did it go?) should have told our city councilors and all those involved in this stinking business that this is grossly unfair. IPM collects garbage as it is convenient and less expensive for it but it collects monthly its millions in fee just the same. It has no compulsion to really clean the city as it promised because anyway it gets paid by fixed fee. I wrote about this before the contract was renewed but there is no information the city receives performance report.

Why, oh why! one citizen lamented. That the quick approval came just about Christmas time makes people think that indeed it was a Merry Christmas. See what happens when there is no transparency? It may appear unfair but that is the reality politicians have to deal with, particularly because Grupo Progreso made an election pledge, publicly declared and signed with elan.

So we have a sad situation: the city gets the bones and the citizens get the stench. So who gets the meat?

There are some parts of the city where trash is collected daily, but many more have not seen or heard an IPM truck for days. I am not surprised that the people have used the bridge at Lacson Extension as a good garbage dump. Fortunately due to the series of heavy rains and flooding the trash there and under other bridges were swept out to the sea.

Because of the insufferable traffic in the city's main streets I usually take the side roads and there one can see the uncollected garbage. Barangay officials know this as they do the back of their hands but they do nothing and despite all the assurances of enforcement made by Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran.

In fact the garbage are all mixed up. There is no indication the barangays are enforcing the waste segregation law. Or perhaps IPM did not collect because the trash are all mixed in consonance with the slogan, “no segregation, no collection”?

Of course, it is not just along the side roads that trash remains uncollected for days. In fact, at San Juan street close to the Fire Station, trash had so accumulated that it had become a mound of decayed fresh coconut husks. Surely IPM collectors and commuters see this daily because it is in an open field.

We'll have more later.*



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