THE Cebu City Government owes P61 million in garbage services and it is not known yet if the service providers will be paid.

Of the amount, P29 million is supposed to be payable to the private hauler hired during the previous administration to collect garbage from the transfer station in Barangay Inayawan and bring this to Consolacion.

Deputy mayor for budget and finance Councilor Margarita Osmeña said this is over and above the P32 million as tipping fee to Asian Energy Systems Corp., the owner of the private sanitary landfill in Consolacion.

Not liable

The P61 million covers the month from January to June this year.

In an interview yesterday, Osmeña said the City has not yet paid the two service providers because the transactions have no contracts.

The billing was sent to the City more than two months ago yet.

“I cannot say naman that it (paying them) is completely out of the picture but if there is a way to pay them legally. I mean, the one who will authorize the payment now will be the one to get into trouble for a sin that was committed before. I don’t know how can that be settled legally,” she said.

Former councilor Nida Cabrera last June was tasked to prepare the draft contract and submit it to the City Council for approval so Asian Energy will be paid, however Osmeña said she doesn’t know what happened.

Osmeña said the current administration should not be held liable for mistakes in the past.

She pointed out that Asian Energy collected from the City P700 for every ton of garbage dumped in its facility when other local government units only pay P400.

“So why are we being charged P700? Plus we are their largest customer. Usually they should be given discount. It is true (that they have already rendered their services) but maybe they can negotiate on the price,” she added.

Before the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill was reopened in the later part of June, the City dumped an average of 300 to 500 tons of trash daily in the private sanitary landfill in Consolacion.

Purchase order

As for the private hauler, the City paid them P1,500 for every ton of garbage, which Osmeña believed was too much.

Of the P1,500, P700 covered the tipping fee, while the rest was for the maintenance of their trucks, fuel and the drivers’ salaries.

But Osmeña argued that the private hauler didn’t pay for the fuel, maintenance and salaries of their personnel per ton of garbage they brought to the landfill.

The previous administration headed by then mayor Michael Rama explained that the payment of tipping fee and the hiring of the services of the private hauler were covered by a purchase order which, they argued, is already considered a contract.

However, Osmeña said that the Commission on Audit had called the attention of the City over the practice.

Last year, state auditors questioned the City for paying Asian Energy 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 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

But the Department of Public Services had explained that it 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.