SOME 1,000 waste pickers or scavengers are now members of a cooperative, which runs a grocery store inside the old dump site in Zayas, Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.
City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD) chief Teddy Sabuga-a said all waste pickers will be members of the new cooperative and will be allowed to take out loans.
The capitalization of the cooperative was made possible by contributions from Barangay Carmen (P150,000), the City Government (P150,000), and Representative Rolando Uy (P100,000).
Sabuga-a said each cooperative member will also be required to help in the segregation work for its new materials recovery facility.
“We hope this process will be followed, and that we should take care of it, dili man mahimo na dili ta mo-trabaho (It cannot be that we don’t work), but we are a step higher kay dili na kita mangaykay, para ma-angat atong panginabuhian (since don’t excavate anymore for us to elevate our source of income),” Sabuga-a said, addressing the waste pickers during Thursday's turnover ceremony.
Aside from the establishment of the grocery store and the new cooperative, Sabuga-a said a skills upgrading training for the displaced families of the dump site closure is also ongoing.
Sabuga-a said the city commits to support the education of the former waste pickers.
City Mayor Oscar Moreno for his part, assured the former scavengers that “good days” will come their way.
“I ask for your help and support. I am aware that we have many obligations, isa lang ning cooperative, we also have our skills training,” he said.
“We have a wide vision for Barangay Carmen, who knows ang (how) dumpsite mahimong (can be turned into) Global City like what Taguig City has,” Moreno added.
Josie Daculos, president of the Mangaykayay Association vowed to take care of the new livelihood and expand it in the future.
Daculos urged fellow former waste pickers to be more hardworking in the next days as the work for the waste segregation of the barangay starts.
“Kahibalo gyud ta na ang uban muingon na kaisa nalang sila makakaon sa usa ka adlaw, pero gamay nalang gyud na nga sakripisyo molambo ra kining atong negosyo (Some may say they only eat once a day, but we have to endure a little so our business will grow),” she said.
On April 15 this year, the City Government closed the dumpsite and opened a new one in Barangay Pagalungan, in compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which penalizes local government officials operates an open dumpsite.
According to the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office chief Edwin Dael, its solid waste management team noted an improvement of the daily garbage collection.
“Although dili dako kaayo ang reduce sa atong garbage, pero nag-improve ta gamay (we somehow improve), from 30,000 cubic meters atong ginalabay didto (that we collect), nagreduce siya ug 26,000 cubic meters, naka ginansya ta ug mga (we gained) 4,000 cubic meters,” he said.
Dael said the improvement can be attributed to the compliance of some barangays in the city's segregation policy.
Meanwhile, Dael said the the ongoing dumpsite closure and rehabilitation of the Zayas landfill is 80 percent complete.
“Before this year ends, we will officially declare closed and rehabilitated na ang Zayas landfill,” he added.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 16, 2017.