A ‘lie’ and the Inayawan dumpsite-A A +A
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I DON’T know how White Road in Barangay Inayawan got its name. But I am not surprised because in neighboring Laray, a village in Talisay City, is a community called Greenfields. Color-coding is therefore not new in the place.
White Road leads to the sanitary landfill, a euphemism for a dumpsite, that the Cebu City Government supposedly ordered closed a few months ago. The “white” in White Road was therefore a misnomer at that time because by no means was the road immaculate, littered as it as with spilt garbage and mud from passing dump trucks.
And the place smelt of decay and neglect. I used to wonder how the people living in the surrounding area of the dumpsite survived the floating odor of stench. But we use the word “immune” in a situation like this. “Na-immune na man na sila.”
It’s actually more like adjustment. The body’s level of tolerance rises with constant exposure to pain or disturbance. But that’s no reason to test the endurance limits of residents.
When Mayor Michael Rama announced the closure of the Inayawan dumpsite, White Road residents were the first to celebrate. Their place would finally be rehabbed and they would finally be able to lead normal lives. The mayor even announced an ambitious plan to transform the landfill either as a housing site or a park.
But what happened after then?
I visited the wake of a member of Inayawan’s Jaca clan last week and found out two things: one, the intensification of the unofficial and illegal campaigning by local politicians for the 2013 elections and, two, the sorry situation at the landfill site.
The Jaca clan is big and, at least in Inayawan, is politically influential. It’s not surprising that the wake for Teotima Jaca, wife of the deceased brother of the late Jaca patriarch Emilio Sr. (Miling) would draw in politicians like bees to pollen. I understand that among those who went to the wake were Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) and prospective congressional bets lawyer Totol Batuhan and Bebot Abellanosa.
I don’t know what they talked about but one issue that has some members of the Jaca clan who live along White Road seething with anger is the “lie” that Rama and the City Government continue to peddle: that the dumpsite has already been closed. Instead, the situation has gotten worse with the dumping of more garbage from outside Inayawan.
The dumped items have spilt over to the road fronting the landfill, they said. And the smell of stench has gotten worse. That is being compounded by the use of the area as the dumping site by firms engaged in the disposal of human waste. The dumping area reportedly has a pipe that directs liquid waste to a nearby stream.
For the mayor, the question is, why? And what will the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) do about this? The problem posed by the continued use of the Inayawan dumpsite not only to White Road residents but also to the environment is obvious. To think that Rama’s decision to close the dumpsite was considered a welcome development when it was announced.
With the elections just around the bend, city officials gunning for a post will eventually have to explain to the people living near the old dumpsite why garbage is still being dumped there. They better make their explanation convincing. Better still, they can order the full implementation of the closure order. If not, they will have to bear with the consequences of their deceptive acts.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2012.