Mayor okayed to sign MOA with other landfill operators due to Urdaneta facility closure

11 March 2021 – The city council in its regular session, March 8, passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Benjamin Magalong to represent the city and enter into a memorandum of agreement  with Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation  or other entities offering engineered sanitary landfill   services at a lower cost and closer to the city to be used as its repository area of residual wastes.

The move came in the heels of the Mayor’s urgent request upon learning that the sanitary landfill  the Summer Capital was using  in Urdaneta city, Pangasinan, and operated by Urdaneta Waste Management , was  recently shut down.

City General Services Office head Eugene Buyucan said the Metro Clark company operates and manages a sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac that was used by the city for several years before transferring to the Urdaneta facility.

The transfer, he said, was prompted by the cheaper  tipping fees charged by the Urdaneta Waste company per ton of garbage as compared to that of Metro Clark.  The Urdaneta landfill is also nearer  which means that Baguio spends much less in hauling charges.

“The savings realized by the city when it was using the Urdaneta facility as compared to that in Capas, Tarlac was very significant,” Buyucan stressed.

Should the city enter into an agreement with Metro Waste Management, he strongly suggested that it be on a monthly basis only.

 “This will make it easier for the city to transfer if it finds a landfill facility that offers cheaper tipping fees and is nearer,” Buyucan explained.

Baguio’s original landfill at Irisan barangay was closed due to a Writ of Kalikasan—an environmental protection order — issued by the Supreme Court and is now being transformed into an eco-park as part of the city’s environment protection program, he said.

 Buyucan disclosed that Baguio produces  an average 180 tons of garbage per day before the coronavirus 2019 struck.  It’s now down to around 150 tons  daily under the pandemic, he said.

Resolution No. 118, series of 2021, reveals that on January 11, 2019, the city government entered into a MOA with Urdaneta Waste Management on the use of the latter’s ESL as disposal field of the city’s residual wastes for three years from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021.

On March 5, however, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau shuttered the Urdaneta Waste Management facility  following a cease and desist order from its central office due to violations.

“Due to the closure of the Urdaneta Waste Management facility, the city government of Baguio must immediately look for a new repository or disposal facility for its residual wastes to avoid piling up which may lead to serious health and environmental concerns,” the measure states.

Any agreement entered into by the Mayor on the matter is subject to legislative confirmation. – Gaby B. Keith