Collecting garbage

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014


TWO infrastructure projects of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) with a combined cost of P230.585 million are still to be finished, the Commission on Audit (COA) reports.

Airport manager Nigel Paul Villarete couldn’t be blamed for it since these projects were initiated by his predecessor. However, he could have salvaged the situation by asking the new MCIAA Board to order the completion of these projects.

COA noted that the implementation of the two infrastructure projects started in 2006. No, these projects are not yet considered white elephants.

These were projects of the airport when former Gov. Gwen Garcia was a member of the MCIAA Board. Due to misunderstanding or suspicion that someone made money out of the projects, the governor asked the Board to halt the work without any basis.

There is no argument that not finishing the projects is detrimental to public interest. But COA should also not lose sight of the fact that the contractors are also “casualties.”

The MCIAA, though, is not new to controversies. When Patricia Dawnie Roa, former regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT), retired she was given a hefty “pabaon” of P500,000. The regional director of the DOT sits in the MCIAA Board,.

Despite the opinion of COA that government-owned or controlled corporations cannot give gratuities, the P500,000 check was still delivered to Roa.

Villarete clarified that under his watch no unauthorized bonuses were given to the members of the Board, airport officials and employees.

He said that what were released to the employees were incentives provided under the Collective Negotiations Agreement (CNA) approved by the previous administration.

While the Civil Service Commission (CSC) gave an opinion that incentives in the CNA can be implemented, COA disallowed it.

It’s like the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing. Because of COA’s
disallowance, the employee’s salaries were subjected to deductions.

***

I am grateful that Talamban barangay officials and garbage collectors heeded my plea in my column in Sun.Star Superbalita last week. I asked them to collect the garbage in our area that wasn’t collected for about two weeks.

But I have to lecture them on RA 9003, otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, with a warning that they could be sued for their failure to collect the garbage.

When implementation of this law (RA 9003) started, the collection of garbage was prompt. Residents who failed to segregate their garbage were fined.

After 13 years, barangay and city officials somehow lost interest in implementing RA 9003. They are too occupied with politics.

Consider the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 (RA No. 8749). Enforcement agencies are nowhere to be seen while motor vehicles emitting black smoke abound.

One of the problems under the administration of Mayor Mike Rama is the inefficient collection of garbage even with the purchase of new dump trucks.

A topnotch lawyer and a friend told me that the inefficiency in the management of the city government affairs and its services could be reflective of its leadership.

Although my compañero did not say he doesn’t like Mayor Rama, but he said that city mayor should do more than talk nonsense. Less talk, less mistake?

(atty.ellieE@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 29, 2014.

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