LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Segregated wastes from Baguio City would soon be dumped in a government-run landfill in Urdaneta City for a fee and under strict regulations, but the Urdaneta government said it did not play any role in negotiating with the summer capital.
Baguio, the subject of a writ of kalikasan due to an August 2011 trash slide, has been spending millions of pesos shipping out garbage daily to a commercial landfill in Tarlac, which is at least 100 kilometers from the city.
Last week, in his weekly news conference, Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan announced a deal to bring the city’s garbage to a commercial landfill in Urdaneta, some 60 km from Baguio, to save up to P100 per ton of waste shipped out from the city.
On Tuesday, Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez IV said his city had no existing agreement with the Baguio government for the disposal of its wastes at the Urdaneta engineered sanitary landfill in Barangay Catablan.
“There’s no such thing. We don’t have a memorandum of agreement with them,” said Perez.
But Marjorie de la Cruz, Urdaneta sanitary landfill chief, told reporters in Pangasinan last week that Baguio is a client of a private waste segregation contractor that has been hauling garbage from other areas in the province to the Urdaneta landfill.
De la Cruz said the landfill allows Baguio to deliver only
10 percent (20 tons) of its average daily garbage of 200 tons, which would be dumped there. She said the contractor is charged P900 per ton for the garbage it hauls into the landfill.
In September 2011, Perez allowed 16 truckloads of unsegregated wastes from Baguio to be dumped in the Urdaneta landfill “for humanitarian reasons” after the Baguio dump in Barangay Irisan toppled during strong rains. The trash slide killed six people and polluted a hillside community in Barangay Asin and its waterways in neighboring Tuba, Benguet.
But Perez refused another 15 trucks of garbage from Baguio that were delivering trash to the Urdaneta landfill that year.
Early this year, Baguio agreed to a series of conditions set by Tuba residents and officials of Aringay, La Union, who filed the environmental lawsuit. The terms include strict compliance to reforms to its solid waste management plan that would improve Baguio’s garbage collection and disposal, now that it has decommissioned its only dump.
Dominador Urbanozo, chief of Baguio’s solid waste management unit, said the city government had not yet started shipping garbage to Urdaneta pending talks with the Pangasinan contractor regarding its hauling contract.
Urbanozo said Baguio had reduced its daily garbage from 200 tons to 150 tons, but the Christmas season, a peak tourism season in the summer capital, is expected to increase the daily trash generated in the city by 15 percent. Gabriel Cardiñoza, with a report from Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon