BAGUIO CITY — Representatives of two government agencies advised the city council to pay Metro Waste Management Corporation after it produces legal documents to justify the payment.
TWO OF BAGUIO’S PROBLEM. Garbage and night spots are now usually seen at the heart of the university belt in Baguio City. Photo by Lyn V. Ramo/NORDIS
As soon as Metro Waste submits requirements for a hauling contract the city will pay for the services rendered from July 23 to 31, which the city council last week refused to settle.
This resulted from the advice of both the Department of Budget Management (DBM) and the Commission on Audit (COA), whose representatives appeared before the city council on August 19.
Both COA and DBM opined there was an element of urgency and emergency in the decision to “hire Metro Waste” in the hauling of garbage to Capas, Tarlac.
City auditor Fernando Somera said he would pay Metro Waste as long as it submits proper documents.
The city council last week earmarked P10 million for the hauling of garbage from August 1 onwards and specified it would not pay Metro Waste before August 1 for alleged irregularities in the garbage transport deal.
“It had no contract with the city to speak of,” Councilor Richard Cariño said during the council session on August 11.
A contract with the city could have justified council concurrence on the payment of some P11 million for hauling the city’s waste from July 14 onwards.
“We could not participate in an illegality,” added Councilor Palaganas, when the city council decided not to pay the hauling services by Metro Waste.
The city council, according to Cariño, was then apprehensive it would face administrative charges for paying a company with no contract with the city. He cited the case of then Pasay City Mayor Wenceslao “Peewee” Trinidad, who was suspended by the Ombudsman for six months together with then Vice-mayor Antonio Calixto and 10 councilors for extending a P500 million contract without a public bidding.
The Pasay case involved the collection and disposal of garbage for 2004 and 2005.
“We do not like to be suspended like the Pasay City officials,” Councilor Rocky Thomas Balisong, then acting vice-mayor and presiding officer, told the media last week.
Earlier Mayor Reinaldo A. Bautista Jr. asked for at least P50 million to pay the transport of garbage up to December this year. The city council instead, opted to move fast on the selection and processing of a site for the city’s engineered landfill, according to Cariño.
The Itogon property was earlier favored because it has reportedly offered a two-hectare area for the city’s temporary containment site. Cariño said while the engineered landfill takes at least one year to prepare the offered area could be used as a temporary material recovery facility for solid wastes.
The city generates about 300 tons of solid wastes daily. Its transport costs around P500,000 according to Cariño.
Bautista, however, estimated only some 100 to 120 tons and remained optimistic the amount of wastes can still be reduced to 50 to 60 tons before his term ends in 2010. # Lyn V. Ramo