Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro streets stink as city’s search for new garbage collector drags on

Herbie Gomez
Cagayan de Oro streets stink as city’s search for new garbage collector drags on

STINKING. A man walks past a pile of uncollected garbage near the West City Central School on Vamenta Boulevard in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro.

courtesy of Nestor Banuag Jr.

The local bids and awards committee disqualifies the lowest bidder, leaving only one of two firms which participated in the process standing

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Piles of garbage have accumulated on street corners and roads in Cagayan de Oro for over a month following the termination of the local government’s long-term contract with a waste collection company.

The search continues for a new company that would collect and dispose of Cagayan de Oro’s average 573,863 cubic meters of solid waste annually.

“Hopefully, by Thursday, we will have a new collector,” Engineer Armen Cuenca, the head of the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (CLENRO), told Rappler on Tuesday, March 21.

The previous collector, IPM Waste CDO, stopped its garbage collection services in the city after nearly a decade of operations. Its contract with city hall expired on January 31.

Cuenca said Cagayan de Oro City Budget Office chief and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairperson Percy Salazar had proposed that city hall extended IPM’s services for at least one month until the local government could award a new contract to a new garbage collector, but she was outnumbered.

“The consultants (of city hall) argued that it would not have made any difference in the collection services, and we might as well wait and bear with the garbage problem a little longer,” Cuenca said.

STENCH. Uncollected garbage pile up on a road in Cagayan de Oro. – Nestor Banuag Jr.

The previous contractor has been criticized for what local officials said were its inefficient garbage collection services in the city.

Robert de la Serna, a resident complaining about the uncollected garbage, said the local government should have prepared for the end of IPM’s services long before January, and sought the help of those who had been involved in the city’s garbage collection services before IPM.

IPM was the second company to serve as Cagayan de Oro’s primary garbage collector since city hall started outsourcing waste collection services in the city during the administration of the late mayor Vicente Emano in the late 1990s.

The administration of Emano’s successor, former mayor Oscar Moreno, had awarded the contract to IPM Waste CDO, a company that belongs to the group of IPM Holdings Incorporated, a major player in the solid waste collection services industry in Metro Manila, providing services to prominent cities including Manila, Quezon City, Pasig, Pasay, and Bacolod.

Cuenca said he expected the city government to award a new contract to one of the companies that submitted their bids to replace IPM.

Only two companies – Metroways Construction and Jomara Construction – participated in the bidding process in February.

But Cuenca said Metroways, which submitted the lowest bid, was disqualified by the local Bids and Awards Committee last week after evaluation results showed it fell short of city hall’s standards.

He said Jomara – which partnered with the firm Tensil Construction – was evaluated, too, and it passed city hall’s requirements.

The bidding companies had been asked to show a fleet of at least 60 dump trucks, mostly new, and an adequate workforce with the capability to collect and transport a minimum of 33,000 cubic meters of garbage each month to ensure that the city’s streets are kept free of garbage.

“Metroways has until Thursday (March 23) to appeal. If it appeals, then a decision would be made immediately,” he said.

RUBBISH. The street corner of a densely populated barangay in Cagayan de Oro is heavily strewn with uncollected trash. – Nestor Banuag Jr.

Cuenca said the company that would bag the new contract would be asked by the local government to start collecting garbage immediately.

In the meantime, garbage continued to pile up in many areas of the city despite the local government’s contingency measure which included organizing a team to collect garbage in certain areas only.

The garbage collections were taking place at least twice a day but only along primary roads and streets, mostly in downtown Cagayan de Oro, around the public markets, and some villages.

“This is a big challenge for us,” Cuenca told local broadcaster I-FM in an earlier interview.

He said city hall was facing difficulty in collecting garbage in all of the city’s 80 barangays due to a limited number of trucks available. –

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