GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 5 May) – The city government finally opened its P200-million sanitary landfill complex, which is considered as the biggest so far in Mindanao.
Mayor Ronnel Rivera said the 63.3-hectare landfill is now 100-percent complete and has started catering to wastes from local households and industries.
City officials formally unveiled the facility in a simple ceremony on Monday at its site in Barangay Sinawal.
The project was funded by a soft loan from the World Bank’s Support for Strategic Local Development and Investment Project coursed through the Land Bank of the Philippines.
Rivera said the local government spent a total of P219 million for the construction and development of the facility, which was completed nearly six years after it broke ground.
The mayor said the facility’s construction cost was way below its original price of P325 million, which was set during the previous city government administration.
“We we’re able to remove some questionable interest rates and penalty fees so the project cost was significantly reduced,” he said.
He said the local government went through a thorough process before it allowed the project to proceed in July last year.
“We had a series of negotiations with the contractors until we were able to settle the right price of the project,” Rivera said.
In January, the city government signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’s Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB), R-II Builders Inc., and the Philippine Ecology Systems Consortium Inc. for the operationalization of the landfill.
Engr. Edmund Sese, head of one of the firms that built the project (Philippine Ecology Systems Corp. Consortium Inc.), said the city’s sanitary landfill has “exemplary features” and is considered as among the most modern in the country.
“You can count in your fingers the number of the cities that have this kind of sanitary landfill. This is the biggest landfill in Mindanao and a showcase that General Santos City can be proud of,” he said.
Sese lauded the city government for pushing with the completion of the landfill project despite the previous problems.
“It takes political will to complete the project and that local government was able to do that,” he added.
The city government had pushed for the construction of the sanitary landfill in compliance with the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001, or Republic Act (RA) 9003.
RA 9003, signed into law by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001, provided for the closure of all open dumps in favor of sanitary landfills and ordered the segregation of recyclable and non-recyclable wastes.