In the Philippines, protest from civil society organizations representing the youth, workers and urban poor communities “greeted” the first 100 days of Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, as they denounced the Mayor’s recent decision to enter into a waste-to-energy (WTE) joint venture agreement with New Sky Energ and therefore locking-in the City to a 40-year expensive and dirty waste management system.
“Mayor Rama is holding us hostage to a problematic garbage management system. Instead of using the taxpayer’s money to pursue genuine solutions on solid waste, this WTE project will encourage and push Cebuanos to produce more garbage to ensure continuous feeding and operation of the incinerator plant,” said Teody Navea, Secretary-General of Sanlakas-Cebu.
According to the public network EcoWaste Coalition, the City’s spending on solid waste management is expected to increase under the new garbage contract with New Sky Energ.
Based on the JVA draft endorsed by the Cebu City Council in August 27, 2021, the city will pay higher fees to New Energy Nexus compared to disposal fee paid by the City for disposal of garbage in private sanitary landfills.
Various organizations joined the protest against the WTE project, such as Action for Nurturing Children and Environment, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino-Cebu, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Gagmay ng Kristohanong Katilingban Homeowners Association (GKK-HOA), Kongreso Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Pilipino, Ligdung Sumbanan alang sa mga Kabataan sa Sugbo, Partido Lakas ng Masa, Piglas Kabataan, Sanlakas Cebu, and Sanlakas Youth.
“By signing this JVA, the Cebu City government is promoting the use of dirty technology that violates the Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. WTE incinerators emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases and toxins into the air, water and surrounding communities. High-impact projects such as the WTE incinerator should be discussed and consulted with key stakeholders,” said Atty. John Menguito of the public law group Philippine Earth Justice Center.
“We call on Mayor Rama to cancel the WTE garbage contract. Instead, the city government should invest in helping its barangays, schools, and business establishments to implement concrete programs on garbage prevention and source separation as warranted under our environmental laws,” Atty. Menguito added.
The network emphasized that there are already cities and barangays in the country that have implemented the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and have effectively addressed their garbage woes.
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