Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro seeks new trash hauler amid poor collection complaints

Cong Corrales

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Cagayan de Oro seeks new trash hauler amid poor collection complaints

TRASHY. An uncollected and unsegregated heap of garbage lies along Gusa Highway in Cagayan de Oro.

Cong Corrales / Rappler

The volume of solid wastes in the city increases from 300,890 to 573,863.30 cubic meters a year from 2017 to 2022, yet the annual garbage collection plummets from 254,792 to 426,263 during the period

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – With the volume of Cagayan de Oro’s yearly garbage increasing by some 52% in just five years, city hall has started a search for a new trash hauler owing to what officials said was the poor performance of a company that has been a key player in the solid waste collection services industry in Metro Manila.

From 2017 to 2022, the volume of solid wastes in the city increased from 300,890 to 573,863.30 cubic meters annually, data from the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (CLENRO) showed.

Yet, the garbage hauler IPM Waste CDO’s annual collection plummeted from 254,792 to 426,263.34 cubic meters during the period. 

Residents have been complaining about how garbage has been left uncollected by the company that was contracted by city hall for about a decade to haul off Cagayan de Oro’s trash to its sanitary landfill.

Julius Huerbana, a 49-year-old resident of one of the upland resettlement sites in the city, expressed his frustration with the poor garbage collection services. 

Huerbana claimed that the waste management company has been dismal in its garbage collection efforts since he was resettled in the village three years ago.

He cited a time when the garbage in his neighborhood started piling up in December but was collected in February the following year. 

Huerbana said despite efforts to neatly pack their garbage every time, the accumulation of waste for such a long period posed a significant risk of attracting stray dogs to their homes.

The irregular garbage collection schedule also forced households in his neighborhood to leave their garbage by the side of the street, and when the collectors do show up, they allegedly often ask for money.

“Don’t they receive salaries for their job?” Huerbana asked.

The garbage hauler, IPM Waste CDO, is part of IPM Holdings Incorporated which has served as a solid waste collector for major cities such as Manila, Quezon City, Pasig, Pasay, and Bacolod. 

The holdings company, with interests in real and personal property investment, joint ventures, partnerships, and corporate management, has gained traction in the solid waste collection services industry in Metro Manila, where it is a key player in providing contracting and consulting services for waste management, public cleansing, sanitation, and general hygiene.

The company owns and operates the country’s largest refuse-derived fuel facility, which is capable of processing about 600 tons of trash per day, almost equivalent to a major city’s daily trash collection. The facility is a joint venture between IPM’s subsidiary, Basic Environment Systems Technologies Incorporated, and Lafarge Industrial Ecology International.

But due to what local officials said was the company’s poor performance, Cagayan de Oro CLENRO Armen Cuenca said he advised the firm not to participate in city hall’s bidding process for a new waste management contract. 

Cuenca said this despite Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy’s earlier pronouncement that IPM could still submit its bid, but only if the company could meet the CLENRO’s requirements.

City hall requires the companies interested to participate in the bidding to have a minimum of 60 mostly new dump trucks, capable of collecting and hauling off a minimum of 33,000 cubic meters of trash monthly, and ensuring that the city’s streets are garbage-free.

Cuenca, however, said city hall has moved to reduce the volume of the city’s trash based on the local government’s 10-year solid waste management plan. 

The program, which started in 2019, aims to gradually bring down the volume of the city’s solid wastes. From 33,000 cubic meters a month this year, the local government’s goal is to reduce the volume to 30,000 cubic meters monthly in 2024 by way of waste diversion and the development of recycling facilities.

The local government has moved to modernize Cagayan de Oro’s solid waste management to make the city cleaner and more livable, according to BenCyrus Ellorin, one of city hall’s spokespersons. –

Cong Corrales is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.

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