Council trims ‘fat’ off Virac garbage management plan

Members of the Municipal Solid Waste Management Council recently removed what it deemed as unnecessary expenditures in the proposed Solid Waste Management Plan for 2021 of the Virac municipal government.

Considering the P165-milliion plan submitted by the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), the council chaired by Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr., who was not present during the deliberation, decided to cut the proposed allocations for several budget items, particularly those involving the hiring of job-order personnel.

Documents show that the closure of the dumpsite at Magnesia del Sur was originally provided with P17.5 million, but the amount was pared to just P10 million by the council.

The same thing was done to the funding for the closure of the controlled dumpsite at Casoocan, which was originally allocated P17.5 million for the hiring of “design-and-build” consultants, with the amount reduced to P10 million for the installation of SWM facilities.

Instead of hiring consultants, the MENRO was advised to seek technical assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), particularly the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

The council members likewise deleted from the plan the proposal to construct a P500,000 vermi-composting facility as the same plan already had a composting facility at the same cost.

In the so-called “Social Transformation – Extensive Information and Education Campaign” supposed to cover all 63 barangays, the Sarmiento administration pushed for a P3 million funding for the hiring of “jobbers” for the conduct of a ”rapid” house-to-house IEC on SWM and waste characterization from March to December this year.

The council majority, however, deemed the duration too long for a rapid IEC and reduced the same to just three months, with the budget pared to just P880,000.

Another proposal to give away P2 million as awards to outstanding barangays for their SWM practices was slashed to just P100,000.

On the other hand, the P1.5 million funding for the construction of Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in barangays was pared to P1 million while P300,000 for the conduct of training on waste recycling was deleted.

For the hiring of a mechanic, jobbers and waste segregators at the MRFs and at the composting facility from March to December 2021 with a funding of P3.5 million, the council limited the hiring to just three months with an allocation of P850,000.

The council likewise noted that it would be difficult to expect barangay residents to implement waste segregation at their homes when the municipal government itself does not practice waste segregation at its offices, including the public market.

Also removed from the list of proposed projects were the P500,000 desilting and dredging of Gogon river and its tributaries, and the P144,000 honoraria for three Pollution Control Officer-designates and the SWM Officer-designate.

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