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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Metro Manila’s garbage crisis

"We need to be told where our trash, infectious and non-infectious, is going."

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Whenever I see the village garbage truck in our neighborhood, these questions come to mind: Where do these garbage trucks dump all the billions of tons collected from Metro Manila? How about the infectious garbage they collect from hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic? And most importantly, is the law of waste management being properly observed?

I ask these questions from a layman’s point of view because there is not enough information about where Metro Manila’s garbage is going. This is especially crucial these days when the number of new COVID-19 cases is soaring.

All I know is that the grant of permits and licenses by local government units (LGUs) are a multi-billion business.

I recall some scandals on garbage collection, when some Metro Manila mayors and local executives got kickbacks.

I was also informed that the big landfill at Rizal province had been closed because the amount of garbage coming from Metro Manila was already overflowing.

I want to ask the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Roy Cimatu about garbage collection, but in the midst of all the restrictions, I cannot. But should not Cimatu give us the information we need about where our garbage is going?

I also recall an expose made by investigative journalists that Metro Manila hospitals were dumping their infectious garbage on an abandoned site in Pampanga. My gulay, that was not only a crime in violation of law; it was extremely dangerous!

This is why I now ask the DENR and the LGUs to make the people aware of what is going on.

I know for instance that big private hospitals in Metro Manila are already equipped with the technology to recycle their garbage into fertilizer. But how about the smaller hospitals in the provinces? What are they doing about their infectious and non-infectious waste?

I am also appealing to President Duterte to form a task force to look into garbage collection in Metro Manila.

All the efforts of Duterte and the government would come to naught unless the government handles the garbage crisis well.

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One of the most sensible proposals coming out in connection with the vaccine rollout is a suggestion that inoculation should be done house to house. This will prevent potential exposure to the virus; what's happening now is that people are required to line up for three or four hours.

Healthy people facing the risk of infection is one thing. And then, how about the elderly who are also made to stand and wait for their turn for hours?

By having a house-to-house vaccination drive, LGUs can also see their constituents’ living conditions.

Government health experts must think out of the box to speed up the vaccine rollout.

The problem with ex-military and police generals who get appointed to the government or run for elective posts is that they only follow orders but they can’t think out of the box. A prime example is the vaccine czar.

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Presidential spokesman Harry Roque should keep quiet about some military generals being unsatisfied with the Duterte administration and thinking of withdrawing their support for the President.

In the first place, this kind of talk started as fake news. I cannot imagine any sector in the military or even in the Philippine National Police withdrawing support from Duterte when the President has appointed numerous retired generals to the Cabinet and other sensitive positions.

The strategy of Duterte is precisely to ensure there won’t be a coup.

More importantly, how could any sector of the military and the police think of a coup when poll surveys show very high acceptance ratings for the President, despite us being in the middle of a health and economic crisis?

The more Roque talks, the more some quarters may be getting some ideas.

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It seems Senator Manny Paquiao is taking seriously the mention of his name by President Duterte as one of the three “possibles” who can succeed him in 2022. The other two are Bongbong Marcos and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso.

I am told that as a result, Paquiao wants his biopic released.

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