Mayor Duterte keen on Japanese waste-to-energy project

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 6 December) –  City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio welcomed the proposal of the Japanese government to put up a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility here that is seen to address issues on solid waste management.

In a press conference on the first day of two-day Kakao Konek 2017 at the SMX Convention Center Davao Tuesday, Duterte said a 10-man delegation from the city government discussed this with Japanese officials during their visit to Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan last week.

Mayor Duterte joined the visit to Japan for the signing of a “green sister city agreement” with Kitakyushu during which Japanese officials also expressed the interest to put up a WTE facility in Davao.

The presidential daughter said she previously declined the proposal as the city government could not afford the cost and it has lined up other priority projects.

She said President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, along with representatives from a private firm in Japan, have tackled the possibility of putting up WTE facilities in the country.

Workers sort collected garbage along R. Castillo Blvd in Agdao District, Davao City in this file photo taken on July 13, 2014. Mindanews file Photo

“The project will continue without the financial participation of the city government but the money will come from private sector of the Philippines and Japan and from Japanese government. That’s the mix of financials for the WTE,” she said.

Duterte said two representatives from the environmental group Ecowaste Coalition were tagged along to join in the discussion on the WTE so that they can make their “observations, recommendations and opposition” to the project.

A press release from the City Information Office said the sisterhood agreement aims to further strengthen the relationship and mutual understanding between the city and Kitakyushu.

It added the agreement focuses on the promotion of both cities as world-class communities, which “puts prime importance on the implementation of clean and green initiatives.”

Under the agreement, the two cities pledged to cooperate in resource cycling, capacity building, and other endeavors toward promoting the green city development concept.

It said city officials attended a benchmarking activity about Kitakyushu City’s solid waste management facilities and visited such facilities as the Hiagari Recycling Center, Kougasaki Waste-to-Energy Plant, Hibikinada Sanitary Landfill, and Kitrakyushi Eco-farm and Wind Town.

The mayor said Kitakyushu has been supporting the city’s efforts in recycling wastes but noted it was not as successful due to the “mindset and behavior” of the Dabawenyos who depend on government in terms of waste disposal.

“I told them if you do something here in Davao we should consider the Filipino mindset and attitude mainly because the attitude most especially of the Dabawenyo, they want the government to take care of their garbage, because the people are busy and they do not have time to segregate,” she said.

The city seeks to replicate Kitakyushu’s model but Duterte said they asked Kitakyushu to do a “little tweak” here that would suit the behavior of the Dabawenyos. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)