BAGUIO CITY – The City General Services Office confirmed that there has been a significant increase in the number of settlers in various portions of the 139-hectare city-owned property in Barangay Sto. Tomas School Area based on the results of the recent inspection made by concerned officials on the status of the area.
GSO officer-in-Charge Eugene Buyucan said the continuous increase in the number of settlers in various portions of the city-owned property might have a negative implication on the local government’s plan of putting up its integrated solid waste disposal facility within a 50-hectare portion of the property previously proposed to be fenced.
While studies show that the city does not have a sufficient land area that will be devoted for the establishment of an engineered sanitary landfill (ESL), he emphasized the put up of an ESL, a waste-to-energy facility or an integrated solid waste disposal facility in a suitable area near the city will definitely contribute in reducing the huge expenses being incurred by the local government in hauling its residual waste to sanitary landfills outside the city.
Currently, the city hauls out an average of 162 tons of residual waste to the sanitary landfill in the lowlands to prevent the pile up of garbage in the city.
Buyocan pointed out that the local government cannot afford not to haul out its generated residual waste for a single day because it will have a serious negative impact on the city’s status.
According to him, the private sector would be a preferred operator of the proposed ESL, waste-to-energy facility or integrated solid waste disposal facility within or near the city to prevent various issues that will tend to affect the relationship of local officials and the concerned communities directly affected by the operation of whatever suitable garbage disposal facility in their areas of jurisdiction.
Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 mandates all local governments to close the operation of their open dumpsites and establish their own controlled dump facilities for the protection of the health of the people and the preservation of the state of the environment in their places.
He agreed to the contention of Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan that putting up the proposed city’s integrated solid waste disposal facility within the Sto. Tomas School area will entail a huge expense on the part of the local government, especially in the construction of the necessary road network leading to the proposed site, with initial estimates showing that over P300 million is needed to put up the road network aside from the need to address the problems on the presence of informal settlers among others.
The local government is also setting its sights on the Antamok open pit site as a potential area where the private developer could put up the proposed integrated solid waste disposal facility with a waste-to-energy component with the city as one clients.
Benguet Corporation, owner of the Antamok open pit site, agreed to issue a deed of usufruct in favor of the local government for the use of approximately 12 hectares of the property for the establishment of the city’s proposed integrated solid waste disposal facility to be used to lessen the huge expenses incurred for the hauling of the city’s residual waste outside the city enroute to a qualified landfill site in the lowlands.
By Dexter A. See