By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Amidst the pointing game of who is to blame over the trash tragedy which claimed six lives on August 27, members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) here questioned a top official of Protech Machinery Corporation on alleged non-compliance to their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the city.
On November 12, 2010, the city through Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan entered into a MOA with Protech on the purchase and maintenance of an Environmental Recycling System (ERS) that include 2 machines, and the hauling of the residual waste of the city.
The August body during the council’s regular session asked Protech’s Vice President Luis Arquiza Lu Jr to explain why some of the provisions in the MOA were not being followed by the company.
The councilors took turns hurling questions on Lu on the maintenance of the ERS machines, the hauling of residual waste and the purchase by the company of the fertilizers produced from the ERS machines.
City Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas said that they trusted Protech to help solve the city’s garbage problem as they were convinced by Protech’s promises and provisions in the said MOA. But months has passed and the trash avalanche happened. Fariñas said the city will have to spend P32 million for the cleaning and hauling the dumpslide.
Lu denied before the council that the dumpslide is caused by the heavy volume of waste stockpiled at the dumpsite that made the retaining walls break. He explained that the amount of rains brought by the “Typhoon Mina” made the garbage heavier that the walls could no longer bear. According to him, the waste they hauled is securedly dumped in a portion of the dumpsite away from the wall.
Lu insisted that in compliance to the MOA, they are transporting the residual wastes from the Irisan dumpsite to their facility in Rosales, Pangasinan. He added that since April of this year, they are renting two dump trucks of the city for the said hauling and that they are able to haul eight to ten truckloads of wastes a week.
Lu admitted that they stopped the hauling on the month of July for three weeks. He said it was because large percentage of the wastes is composed of biodegradables and they have to do segregations. Furthermore, the problem of segregation caused their “non-compliance” not only with the deal on hauling but also with the operation of the ERS machines.
The ERS machines are not being maximized due to the shortage of biodegradables to be fed to the machines. Lu said the amount of collected biodegradables was insufficient.
Last year, the city bought two ERS machines at P64 million each from Protech as the distributor of the machines invented by Simichi Shimose of Shimizu and Company, Ltd. of Nagasaki, Japan.
Domogan said before that each of the machines has the capacity of processing 24 tons a day. The city mayor hoped that the garbage problem of the city will be eased by the machines. On January 25, 2011, the machines started operating and were formally inaugurated on February 9.
With regards to the buy-back agreement as mentioned in the MOA, the council asked why not a single kilo of processed fertilizer was ever bought by Protech. In the said MOA, at the city’s option, Protech shall buy back the fertilizer at a price which is less than P6 to P8 a kilo. The councilors said they expected the city’s return of investment within 4 and a half years as promised by Protech.
Lu said they are waiting for the approval of their application for a permit to purchase or sell from the Philippine Fertilizers and Pesticides Authority (FPA). But he also said that Protech is distributing fertilizers for use in city parks.
Lu asked the council members to give his company a month of patience as they are doing their best in resolving the stockpiling of waste at the dumpsite. He assured the council that they will comply with the MOA and they will abide by the agreement on proper disposal of the remaining residual waste excluding toxic, hospital and medical waste at no cost to the City for a period of ten years. # nordis.net