THE Bacolod City Council ratified Wednesday, June 7, the contract of services entered into between the City Government and IPM-Construction Development Corporation (IPM-CDC) for the P52.5-million maintenance and operation of the sanitary landfill in Barangay Felisa.

The ratification was supported by the eight votes cast by Councilors Caesar Distrito, Em Ang, Cindy Rojas, Dindo Ramos, Renecito Novero, Elmer Sy, Bartolome Orola, and Noli Villarosa.

Councilor Ricardo Tan voted against it while Councilors Ann Marie Palermo and Claudio Puentevella abstained.

Councilors Wilson Gamboa and Sonya Verdeflor were out of the session hall.

The P52.5-million maintenance and operation of the landfill is separate from the existing P150-million environmental and sanitary services contract of the Bacolod City with IPM-CDC.

The seven-month landfill contract, which will run from June to December 2017, amounts to P7.4 million per month.

Gamboa said he inhibited himself due to an Ombudsman case filed against the city officials regarding the purchase of the sanitary landfill and the unresolved transfer of certificate of the land owned by the Dynasty Agri-Aqua Corp.

“I would be on estoppel because in previous years we approved the same contract,” he said.

Estoppel is “the principle that precludes a person from asserting something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement of that person or by a previous pertinent judicial determination.”

Gamboa added that he only questioned the ownership of the landfill, and not the performance of the IPM-CDC.

“I’m not against with the IPM-CDC because they are a qualified contractor,” he added.

Roy Lopez, representative of the Lopez family and owners of Dynasty Agri-Aqua Corp., said that in previous years, they won the case against the City of Bacolod that the property in Barangay Felisa is now back on the original owner.

The Dynasty Agri-Aqua Corp. had filed a case in court seeking to rescind the contract and forfeit the P20-million payment of the city. They also filed an ejection case against the city.

Lopez said they requested the city government for a negotiation, but the city failed to meet with them.

“If they fail to meet us, we will close the dumpsite in Barangay Felisa,” he said.

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said that a month ago, he met with Lopez family at the Bacolod Government Center.

Bayatan admitted that the city has a standing balance with the Lopez family, but the city cannot pay the balance because the Commission on Audit (COA) is still reviewing the price.

He said they had filed their appeal with COA-Western Visayas to consider the city’s price evaluation.

The COA had earlier said the property should not be bought for P23.8 million, but only P18 million.

“The city will always welcome the Lopez family,” Bayatan said.