City ‘won’t pay landfill fee’ yet

THE operator of a private sanitary landfill in Barangay Polog, Consolacion is asking the Cebu City Government to pay P32 million for the garbage it disposed there.

Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña said, though, that the City won’t pay just yet unless Asian Energy Systems Corp. will sign a contract with the City.

“There is no contract. So I said we cannot pay you on the basis of just a purchase order. But we also acknowledged that they already provided services. So we are going to correct the documentation,” she said.

Osmeña met yesterday morning with representatives of Asian Energy to make them understand why the payment cannot be released just yet.

Asian Energy already billed the City last week for the services it rendered. But Osmeña explained that a purchase order (PO) is not a contract.

The P32 million represents the tipping fee for garbage dumped by the City in the facility since January up to this month. The City pays P700 for every ton of garbage dumped in Consolacion.

The City has been disposing of its waste in Consolacion since December 2011 and has been paying Asian Energy on the basis of a PO.

It tapped the services of Asian Energy after outgoing Mayor Michael Rama stopped the dumping of garbage in the City’s 15.4-hectare Inayawan sanitary landfill because it had reached capacity and in order to comply with environmental laws.

“You know when you have a contract kasi, it will properly document it. And we will be liable di ba if we authorize payment and there is no contract? The contract will legitimize this,” Osmeña said.

She assured that Asian Energy will be paid. But she said the billing will also have to be properly looked into.

She learned that there are green plate trucks dumping at Consolacion whose tipping fees are being charged to the City.

“Who authorized them? They can be legitimate like the hospitals. It actually saves us. We will not be the one to haul their garbage. But is there a contract? There has to be a contract for it,” Osmeña said.

For approval

The preparation of the contract for the services of Asian Energy, the acting mayor said, has already been referred to City Hall’s technical working group and the City Legal Office.

It will then be submitted to the City Council for their approval.

But while they have not been paid yet, Osmeña said she was assured by the Asian Energy that they will continue to accept the garbage from Cebu City.

This setup, however, will only be up to June 30.

“By then, it is another story. They even asked if the City will renew their contract. I said we cannot commit to that,” she said.

Osmeña’s husband, incoming Mayor Tomas Osmeña, had said earlier that he plans to temporarily reopen the City’s landfill in Inayawan.

He said he will stop the City from tapping the services of Asian Energy as it is “questionable” since there were no public bidding.

Why direct?

Last year, the Commission on Audit (COA) called the attention of the City over its disposal of garbage in the private facility in Consolacion.

The state auditors questioned why the City is paying them through “direct contracting” or single source procurement despite the availability of other landfill operators.

This, the auditors said, violated the procurement process and failed to ensure transparency and competitiveness, violating Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

But the Department of Public Services (DPS) had explained they resorted to direct contracting since Asian Energy is the only supplier of waste disposal services in Metro Cebu.

It added there is no other landfill within Metro Cebu. The landfill in Consolacion is also the closest to Cebu City.

When the bidding was held for solid waste disposal services, DPS said no other suppliers participated.

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