Group insurance for garbage volunteers proposed

BAGUIO CITY September 25 – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance appropriating the amount of P1 million or so much thereof for the group insurance of all regular employees and volunteers who regularly collect garbage in the different parts of the city.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that the amount of P1 million or so much thereof shall be incorporated in the annual budget of the local government for the group insurance of all regular employees and volunteers who regularly collect garbage in the different parts of the city .

The ordinance noted that in the city, there are numerous volunteer collectors who assist the regular personnel of the City's General Services Office in the collection and disposal of garbage from various barangays and establishments situated in the different parts of the city.

According to him, the regular GSO personnel and the volunteer collectors are exposed to numerous perils and dangers in the performance of their duties and responsibilities when doing the garbage collections around the city.

The ordinance added for every garbage truck roaming around the city's streets and barangays collecting garbage in the early mornings and disposing them until the late evenings, the regular GSO personnel attending to the needs of the city include a city paid laborer and a driver or foreman who are accompanied by volunteer garbage collectors whose sole income rely in the recyclables they collect and sell to various junkshops around the city.

Yangot claimed that notwithstanding their roles and source of income, it is but necessary to provide group insurance to the invaluable personnel considering the risks they are exposed to in the collection and disposal of garbage.

Currently, the local government is hauling its residual waste from the different barangays to the temporary transfer station situated in a portion of the property of the Baguio Dairy Farm after which the commissioned hauler will transport the residual waste to the disposal site at Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

At the same time, the local government partnered with Benguet Corporation (BC) for the segregation of some 29.22 hectares within its mining claims and patents in nearby Itogon, Benguet that will serve as host of the city's proposed integrated solid waste disposal facility to serve as its permanent disposal site aside from being the garbage disposal area of local governments in the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) growth area.

Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, all local governments are mandated to close the operation of their open dumpsites and replace these with controlled dump facilities and engineered sanitary landfills to ensure the sustainable preservation and protection of the environment and the health of the people from the hazards of garbage.

The law granted all local governments a 10-year grace period to comply with this mandate but to date, a good number of local governments in the the country failed to comply with the aforesaid requirements exposing incumbent local officials to face the consequences of their inaction on the matter.

By Dexter A. See

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