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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 5, 2017
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TIGHT ROPE
WITH MODESTO P. SA-ONOY

Speaking for IPM

Tightrope

It is interesting how Bacolod Councilor Caesar Distrito was speaking for, or defending the city's garbage collector.

It seems that he has to, because he was the sponsor of the resolution that approved the IPM contract. It was a rush decision. The city was starting to smell because of the lack of foresight in preparing for garbage collection after the defeat of Monico Puentevella.

Remember that the new city administration had from the end of the election to start looking for a garbage collector considering that the contract of Dynamics was to expire in July. However, Puentevella extended Dynamics' contract for two months. That gave the city time to look for a replacement.

The services of Dynamics had been satisfactory if we gauge the absence of public complaints, Distrito's yardstick. But the terms of reference for garbage collection was changed, supposedly because the fee for Dynamics was P60 million a month while IPM's was only P15 million.

From the looks of it, IPM was the cheapest but as we know not all things that are cheap are better. A P1,000 pair of shoes is cheap but its sole falls off after a year of use. It certainly is more expensive than the P2,000 pair that lasts for three years. Human experience tells us that cheaper can be more expensive.

IPM was cheap only because its contract coverage is less than Dynamics'. IPM only collects and dumps; that of Dynamics included the more expensive function – managing the dumpsite.

Dynamics was also paid by the volume of garbage it collected. It is therefore misleading or even malicious and manipulative to insinuate that Dynamics was paid a fixed P60 million a month.

Contrary-wise IPM is paid for a fixed amount no matter how big or small its collection is. The IPM contract is thus full of opportunities for corruption, like manipulated under-delivery and therefore overpayment.

But that is past. We can only learn lessons from it.

The figures of alleged performance of IPM that came out last month to cover the period from September to December 30 show that for September to October IPM collected 35,677 metric tons for which IPM was paid the same contracted amount of P30 million (P15 million a month). That spells to about P841 per ton.

For November DPS reported that IPM collected 27,788 tons at a cost of about P539 per ton and for December it collected 29,778 tons at the cost of about P504 per ton.

When Councilor Ricardo Tan commented that the figures appear sugar-coated, Distrito rose to defend the DPS report on IPM performance. Why is he defending DPS and IPM? Did he prepare the report as if he knew the background of it all? Why did he not ask DPS that prepared the report or IPM which is the source of the data to defend against Tan's charge of sugar-coating?

Distrito claimed the volume for September and October was “bigger because of the backlog due to the failure of the previous garbage contractor to collect garbage for several months…”

Lawyers can exaggerate and defend this tactic as “lawyering.” When Distrito used this kind of embellished language he appeared to be lawyering for IPM. He was saying that the basis for evaluation of IPM should be “efficiency” and not volume.

Distrito ignored that volume is a major factor in determining efficiency or lack of it. “Efficiency” is conclusion that must be based on facts not embellishments.

The 35,677 IPM collection is for two months thus IPM collected only about 18,000 tons each month, costing the city at least P841 per ton.

Distrito claimed the previous garbage contractor failed to collect for “several months”, a false claim. How long is “several months”? Let's assume at least two months then Bacolod's monthly garbage is at most 30,000 tons.

If Dynamics failed to collect for two months, then the backlog would have been at least 60,000 tons based on December collection data. So why did IPM collect only about 35,677 in two months? Is that Distrito's efficiency?

While Distrito can exaggerate he is a councilor responding to another councilor, unless indeed Distrito is speaking for IPM.

Was there sugar-coating or statistics manipulation? Compare the November and December volume. Can collection be almost the same to the last kilo?

The IPM contract was extended for two months. It really needs a lawyer in and outside the SP.

More tomorrow.*

           

 

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