By Sheila Covarrubias
Friday, 26 November 2010 13:23
The city government is close to implementing an effective septic management system in compliance with an ordinance approved in 2009 and a national law on waste water management.
Representatives from the United States Assistance for International Development (USSAID) and the Philippine Sanitation Alliance (PSA) are in the city to review the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Ordinance 2009-152 establishing a septic management system and approved on July 8, 2009.
Ms. Lisa Kircher Lumbao, USAID Chief of Party-PSA and Ms. Andrea Echavez, PSA head of communications on Tuesday afternoon met with the City Septage Management Committee headed by Mayor Celso Lobregat at City Hall and the Technical Working Group/ Promotions team Core Group-PSA project Wednesday at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) College of Science and Math.
Zamboanga City, in view of its enrolment with the City Development Strategy (CDS) program of the USAID and the League of Cities, is a recipient of a technical assistance from the Philippine Sanitation Alliance (PSA) for the development of waste water and septage management program.
“If we want to progress as a city, we have to look at these programs”, Mayor Lobregat has emphasized many times over.
Under Lobregat’s leadership, the city through the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) and the other stakeholders have developed a septage management program for implementation among households. The same resulted to the approval of Ordinance 152.
Mayor Lobregat said the ordinance shall be effective after the operationalization of a water treatment facility and the finalization of the contract for desludging by service providers.
“This is just one step in the implementation of this ordinance, the next step really would be to come up with a bidding process for the service providers or the company that will desludge the septic tanks”, the chief executive said in an interview after meeting with the USAID-PSA representatives Tuesday.
Under the ordinance, households and commercial establishments which are concessionaires of the Zamboanga City Water District will pay a desludging fee of P1.75 per cubic meter that will in turn be used to pay the service providers.
Before it was approved last year, the ordinance, authored by Councilor Lilia Nuno, chair of the Council committee on health, underwent a series of discussions and consultations with the different sectors concerned.
Under the local ordinance as well as a national law, all new constructions—be it for houses, commercial or private establishments and other structures should provide the required septic facilities designed and constructed in accordance with the requirements set under the same law.
Lobregat has stressed the importance of cleanliness and sanitation in the maintenance of a healthy city saying that healthy environment is parallel to healthy people.
“To have a healthy city, we really have to make sure that we keep our environment clean," the mayor said adding that the city has to focus attention on the implementation of a competent waste water management, sufficient sanitary toilets and sewerage systems.
Mayor Lobregat vowed to fully support all programs aimed to improve cleanliness and sanitation in the city with the end in view of ensuring progress and development in Zamboanga.
Progress and development come with the necessary structures in place, an enabling environment and healthy people.
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