PUBLIC CONSULTATION for the proposed sanitary landfill in Barangay Candau-ay

Mayor Felipe Antonio “Ipe” Remollo appealed to the residents of Barangay Candau-ay and even the visitors from Barangay Camanjac, who attended this afternoon’s public consultation in Bloomington Village, to keep an open mind of the proposal while waiting for the final inspection and approval of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources if the 3.5 hectare lot owned by the Divinigracias is suitable for the purpose.

Councilors Manuel Arbon and Joe Kenneth Arbas said that for that for almost 7 months the city scouted for sites outside of the city like in nearby towns of Sibulan, Bacong, San Jose, Amlan, Valencia, Dauin, Zamboanguita and as far as Siaton. But none of these lots passed the initial assessment and the residents of these towns were vehemently opposed to the project.

This forced the technical working group to search for a lot within the city until it discovered a piece of land that was classified under the City Land Use Plan as industrial (not agricultural or residential) plus the owners are willing to sell at a very low price at P 615 per square meter although the prevailing market value would reach more than P 800 per square meter.

Mayor Remollo said that he is determined to solve the decades-old problem and close the existing open dumpsite in the same barangay to improve the health of the people. Mayor wants to comply with the 5 notices of closure in 2007, 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016 from DENR including a penalty of P2.5 million. If the city would still fail to establish a sanitary landfill, all incumbent officials , mayor, vice-mayor, councilors and barangay officials will be charged administratively and criminally that would include imprisonment.

He also invited all concerned residents to join a free tour to the Bayawan City Sanitary Landfill so they will realize the difference between an open dumpsite and sanitary landfill.

Unlike the open dumpsite, all residual wastes will be buried in a pit that has a thick layer of lining to prevent seepage of leachate in the ground water. Even the residents in Candau-ay and Camanjac, who attended the consultation, agreed that a sanitary landfill does not emit any foul odor at all.

Councilor Arbon also said that the proposed site of the sanitary landfill is almost 300 meters away from Ocoy Rriver (the law requires a distance of at least 50 meters); some 100 meters away from the nearest residence (the actual sanitary landfill can be built a further 200 meters or more in the interior of the property.

There is also no need to utilize the entire 3.5 hectares into a landfill especially that Mayor Remollo is currently negotiating with some companies willing to put up a waste to energy that will burn all garbage of the city and more. It is estimated that the city generates 80 tons of garbage a day from 22,000 residences and establishments.

Even with the establishment of a separate sanitary landfill, no garbage from the open dumpsite will be transferred to the new facility. The old dumpsite will be rehabilitated and turned into a park or government center of the barangay.

Mayor Remollo, Councilors Arbon and Arbas lamented that the intense opposition of the people might be the reason why previous administrations since 2007 failed to close the Candau-ay dumpsite and build a sanitary landfill.

Nevertheless, they vowed to gamble their political future and popularity if only to ensure that a worthy and lawful project that will benefit the greater number and the future generation will be finally realized.

Amid complaints from the participants, Mayor Remollo assured the residents that the city is prepared to put up a project for flood control system in the said area to mitigate damage and risk to their lives and properties.

The city government is open to additional discussions and consultations of stakeholders so that all concerns will be appropriately addressed.