The P300M Cluster Sanitary Landfill should be operational soon after an updated assessment of the project showed the 87 per cent completion level as of last Thursday where a site inspection was conducted by the government agencies involved in its construction.
Lawyer Guiller Asido, assistant chief operating officer of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) arrived hereÂ to lead in the site inspection together with Gov. Edgar Chatto, Prov’l Administrator Alfonso Damalerio and Alburquerque Mayor Efren Tungol.
Prior to the actual inspection of the project site, a briefing and dialogue on the issues and concerns was conducted by the parties.
Asido and his technical team of engineers from the Construction Management Department (CMD) provided the Provincial Government and the Local Government of Albuquerque with a status report on the project and responded to all queries raised by the latter on it and presented as well documentations to support their position.
â€œItâ€™s now time to move forward on this project.Â The Operations and Maintenance aspect must now be set in place. We hope to work with the stakeholders in a positive environment of cooperation to ensure the full completion and operation of this system,Â Â Â â€ Atty. Asido said in a statement issued toÂ The Chronicle.
â€œExcept for a few equipments which are now on its way to being delivered in the site, the project under its current phase is now 87% completed. We note the technical issues and concerns raised by the local government, and we appreciate that. We shall respond to them accordingly and provide the local government of Albuquerque and the Provincial Government with all the documents being requested. While we do recognize the delay in the project completion time, we have appropriately advised the contractor that we will impose liquidated damages on their end.â€ Atty. Asido said.
â€œWe have committed as well during the joint inspection to make the appropriate representations with the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) on the conduct of trainings for the key stakeholders on the project. This coordination shall also be made with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).â€
â€œBefore the project is turned-over, we shall conduct another technical inspection with the Provincial and Municipal Government and also the Provincial Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). â€œ
However, for Mayor Tungol last Thursday’s meeting at the project site failed to conquer the main stumbling block that has delayed the first major sanitary project in the province.
Sensing that time was running out for an inspection, Tungol called Chatto requesting for a reschedule the next day but provincial officials demurred because of previous commitments.
Tungol, armed with a 16 point must see list for the scheduled site inspection expressed disappointment on the failed inspection saying “we came here for a joint project inspection as agreed but were treated with a litany of justification on the part of TIEZA for their admitted delay”.
Despite the lapse of almost a month since the scheduled completion date of the landfill project on April 12, 2015, Asido insisted that the project accomplishment is 87%Â “based on our own reports” while “completion of the phase lll will be finished upon the delivery of several equipments by June”.
Taking the cudgels for the contractor, Lourel Development Corporation who has yet to turn over to TIEZA the P55 million phase lll project, Aure explained that “equipments like the vibratory compactor ordered from the United States was delayed due to a labor dispute in the US West Coast while the installation of gas vents was caused by a design flaw”.
“The revised design of the 230 pieces of gas vents have been completed and is now awaiting shipment to the site”, said Aure while the “vibratory compactor is also readied for shipment to the Philippines by June”.
Asido also assured Chatto and Tungol that the inspection and certification of the landfill equipments in “good running condition” – one backhoe, two dump trucks and the vibratory compactor which are all reconditioned are to be done by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Asido also guaranteed the “structural soundness and safety” of the motor pool building after the undersized steel trusses were increased to six trusses from the specified three trusses per column to compensate for the seven millimeter loss from the specified size against commercially available trusses.
A palpable air of animosity between Asido and Tungol surfaced during the meeting after the mayor raised the issue of the presence of a consultant in the project.
Aure blurted that he was always present during the construction phase and showed proof of travel orders coming from the head office which explanation was unacceptable to Tungol.
At this point Asido told Tungol “if you are questioning my personnel please don’t do that here. This is not the proper forum and you raise the question to the Commission on Audit”.
But the exchange revealed that TIEZA did not contract a consultant for phase lll unlike phase l and ll but used Aure as project manager, an employee of TIEZA, according to Tungol.
“This is highly questionable because we were made to believe that there was a consultant to oversee technical matters yet here comes a certain Aure who is acting as a consultant and project engineer”.
On several occasions during the meeting, Asido countered Tungol’s response to clarifications made by Aure with a dismissive “let’s move on” prompting Chatto to remind the TIEZA official that “it is not only TIEZA’s concern to “move on” but more so with the Provincial Government and the LGU”.
But a disappointed Tungol saidÂ “The meeting did not accomplish anything except that they admitted that they were delayed. We came here with a 16 point reference for the ocular inspection”.
“The reasons for the delay should have been explained by the contractor and consultant and not by TIEZA since the project has not yet been turned over”, added Tungol
Tungol brought the issue of the absence of gas vents and vibratory compactor, crucial components of a landfill as part of a list of 16 areas of serious concern that was personally submitted to Asido during the meeting which should have served as their guide for the aborted inspection.
Upon perusal of the list, Asido said “we have addressed most of the concerns of the LGU except the new ones which is subject to our inspection” adding “these can be easily answered and we will provide documents to support our position on the matter”.
Sharply differing interpretations on the provision of geo-synthetic liner and flooring for the fishpond which the LGU requires but TIEZA finds unnecessary.
Aure explained that “there is no need for a liner, as raised by the Mayor because the water seeping from the fishpond will determine if the water table has been contaminated as measured by the ground monitoring well”.
But Tungol disagreed saying that “at the level of the fishpond the toxicity of the water can be gauged since the fish will not survive aÂ certain level of toxicity while the location of the monitoring wells is at least 90 meters underground”.
A key area of concern listed in the 16 point list were the 3 ground monitoring wells amounting to Php6.5 million which according to Tungol ” only one has been installed, a certification of the G.I. pipe used and the depth of the wells which should be at least 90 meters”.
The delayed completion of the ACSLF sitting in an 18 hectare area in Dangay, Alburquerque with 8 hectares actually occupied by the landfill is now considered in the tail end of more than 10 years of controversies.
TIEZA, has been plodding towards the final completion of the project while the LGU of Alburquerque, as the end user is in full alert mode to ensure that the landfill they are mandated to operate fully complies with the stringent requirements of environmental laws and regulations.Â (CMV)