Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella yesterday exercised police power and reopened the sanitary landfill in Brgy. Felisa, Bacolod City, that had been padlocked by the Lopez family in October.
“This opens the opportunity for Bacolod to use this property. After this, we will start the segregation of garbage as soon as possible,” he said.
Puentevella was accompanied by City Administrator Rolando Villamor and several of his executive assistants, department heads and executive assistant Joemarie Biasca, who cut the padlock using a bolt cutter, while the gate was opened by the Mayor.
The city had spent P20 million for the purchase of the 7-hectare property from Dynasty Agri Aqua Ventures, Inc. (formerly the Dynasty Agricultural Corp.). The sanitary landfill facility costs P23 million as contracted under A.L. Salazar, a Manila-based contractor, Puentevella said.
"The city has spent so much for this and this has become a white elephant for several years. We need to use this facility so we are forced to open what is ours," he said.
Puentevella said the city has all the right to file a case against the Lopez family, who has been paid but has not surrendered the title to the city. The title to the land is still reportedly under the name of the Mapua and Cabayao families, he said.
Out of the P23 million, the city has only paid P20 million to the Lopez family. “It also paid P33 million to the contractor, A.L. Salazar Construction.
Puentevella said he cannot pay the Lopez family the balance of P3.8 million because he is restricted by the Commission on Audit which had recommended that the purchase of the property was over-priced by P5 million.
"Even if I just pay P10, I will be liable for an Ombudsman case,” he said.
Puentevella said they will start segregation of garbage in compliance to R.A. 9003 and he will meet with the new barangay captains to ask them to support the city’s solid waste management project.
The Lopez family, which is at present doing relief efforts for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda, said they will issue a statement on the matter.*CGS