Thursday, February 24, 2005



Metro Post – Editorial
20-26 February 2005
Page 04

Some of the Dumaguete City councilors are talking like they want to sabotage the Integrated Solid Waste Management System Ordinance of the City.

Councilors Espiridion Catan and Saleto Erames suggest that it is okay for people not to pay garbage stickers. Catan says the people are overburdened and should be spared from having to buy the stickers.

Erames suggests that the City tolerate these people who throw garbage without buying stickers, until such time they eventually learn that buying garbage stickers is the duty of every civilized household in Dumaguete – perhaps in a year or two.

Never mind that Catan used to be the City’s General Services Officer, and is supposed to know the costs involved in collecting the City’s trash and managing a dumpsite. Never mind that Erames is a lawyer himself who knows that ignorance of the law excuses no one—not even those who profess to be so poor that they cannot buy garbage stickers at P1.50 per garbage bag.

Which curiously gives rise to the question: If they are so poor they cannot buy garbage stickers, what do they have to throw away anyway?

What is worse is that these two Councilors were among those who approved this same law in 1988 that they now reject. Catan was the Number 1 Concilor of Dumaguete then, and Erames was a Provincial board Member who reviewed the City Ordinance. Both legislative bodies approved this law unanimously.

These arguments, which blow hot and cold on an issue which we all thought had been resolved years ago, only serve to embolden Dumaguetenos who don’t know any better to disregard this law.

The good news, however, is that the number of people adhering to the garbage sticker system is growing, says Engr. Rogelio Clamonte, head of the City Environment & Natural Resources Office.

Clamonte estimates that more than half of Dumaguete households now buy their garbage stickers, and pu them on their garbage bags when they dispose of their trash.

Still, some barangays are adopting a lukewarm attitude to garbage disposal. As some of them are too old to adopt new paradigms, we may have to wait for more dynamic and willing barangay captains to take their place.

As Dumaguete continues to grapple with the challenge of garbage collection, Cebu has thought of a solution to theirs. Their Mayor Tomas Osmena says he will abolish the Department of Public Service which is in charge of cleaning and collecting trash all over the City, and leave trash collection to the barangays. Under this plan, the Cebu City government will just lease garbage trucks to spare the barangays from having to maintain them.

Such a bold plan – a wonderful display of thinking out of the box.

Dumaguete may never be a part of Cebu, but what’s to stop it from adopting some good ideas from its neighbor?

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