GENERAL SANTOS CITY—After nearly six years of delay, the city government is planning to finally open by the second quarter its P200-million sanitary landfill complex.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said on Monday that the construction and development of the facility is currently in full swing and is on track toward its targeted completion and opening by April 30.
He said a 2-hectare garbage-acceptance system or cell is being constructed at the site which sits in a 63.3-hectare property in Barangay Sinawal here.
“The facility is already about 56- percent complete based on our latest assessment,” the mayor said.
Last week the city government signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’s Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), R-II Builders Inc., and the Philippine Ecology Systems Consortium Inc. for the operationalization of the landfill.
The local government is currently working on the closure of its open dump, which covers portion of barangays Bawing and Tambler, in line with the opening of the sanitary landfill.
The city government had pushed for the construction of the sanitary landfill in compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001, or Republic Act (RA) 9003.
RA 9003, signed into law by former President now Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001, provided for the closure of all open dumps in favor of sanitary landfills and ordered the segregation of recyclable and nonrecyclable wastes.
In 2010 the local government, then under Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, commissioned construction firm R-II Builders Inc. and the Philippine Ecology Systems Corp. Consortium Inc. to “design, build and operate a solid-waste management and disposal facility” for the city.
The project was funded by a soft loan from the World Bank’s Support for Strategic Local Development and Investment Project coursed through the Land Bank of the Philippines.
When Rivera assumed as city mayor in 2013, he immediately requested the Sangguniang Panlungsod or city council to prioritize the passage of an ordinance regarding the landfill project.
It led to the suspension of the project early last year to give way to a review of its contract following noted delays in its implementation.
During the proceedings, Rivera noted some “irregularities” were corrected, including the project’s “questionable cost.”
“From the original construction cost of P325 million, it was reduced to P219 million,” the mayor said.
Rivera said the local government went through a thorough process before it allowed the project to proceed in July last year.
“This project [landfill] is not a jinx. We amended some of the terms for its construction that’s why it took almost three years before we were able to push for its completion,” he said.
“We want this to be transparent to our people. There should be no anomalies with this and any of our other projects,” Rivera stressed.
Chito Nombres, R-II Builders project head, lauded the local government for proceeding with the project and making sure that it would be completed.
He said that after the project’s completion in April, they will proceed with their expansion plans for the facility.
“The operationalization of the landfill will be an additional source of income for the city government as the facility may accept garbage from other areas,” he added.