DESPITE the help offered by the City Government, residents of Cagayan de Oro City affected by the open dumpsite closure in Barangay Carmen cannot hide their worry on how to earn money for food supplies.
Fifty-year-old Eduardo Vicilla said since the City Government announced its closure, their earnings has dwindled.
“Pasmo nami, maglibog nami asa mangita ug ipangtongtong sa kaldero ani kay wala gyud (We're hungry, I'm worried where to get resources for food),” Vicilla said.
The city has offered livelihood programs for the affected scavengers but Vicilla said this is not enough to sustain their daily needs.
Vicilla said these programs will not be readily available, adding that what they need is an immediate remedy.
"Plano paman gud ng ilang gihimo, dugay kaayo na, ug dili pa sigurado na kami tanan mahatagan kay dawbi kung walay skill mi nga gi-require, unsaon nalang namo (This is still a plan, it might take too long, and it's not certain too if all of us will be given a job opportunity because what if we don't have the skills they require?" Vicilla said.
Vicilla appeals to the city officials if they could allow the scavengers to roam around the city proper and collect the garbage firsthand, just like what some of them are doing in the past few days.
Although the city closed the open dumpsite in Zayas, Barangay Carmen, he said they will still not leave the “garbage life” because this is the only thing they know.
City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office Head Edwin Dael said the city is just complying with what the law orders.
Dael said the closure is only for the common good, citing that for decades, the dumpsite has caused numerous health problems to the residents living nearby.
The City Social Welfare and Development vowed to introduce different intervention programs for the scavengers.
The city has given food packs to the 500 affected families Tuesday, April 18, and has also conducted medical services.
Dael, meanwhile, said the transition of the dumping of the garbage has been smooth so far.
Dael added that a transfer station is created temporarily inside the old dumpsite where the trucks can dump the collected garbage from the city and will be collected again by bigger trucks to finally dump it to the new cite of landfill in Barangay Pagalungan.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 19, 2017.