July 17, 2006

Garbage contract trashed, finally!

SC dumps MMDA contract with Australian waste firm
By Francis Earl A. Cueto, Researcher

THE Metro Manila Development Authority’s solid-waste management contract with Australian firm Jancom Environmental Corp. (Jancom) was nullified over the weekend by the Supreme Court. The decision would have cleared the way for Jancom to operate the San Mateo waste-disposal site in Rizal.

The greater Metro Manila solid-waste management committee, along with the MMDA, filed a petition against Jancom and its mother firm, Canberra-based Jancom International Development Projects Pty. Limited of Australia.

In a 23-page decision Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales of the Supreme Court’s Third Division said that for lack of approval from the President, the contract with Jancom to dispose of Metro Manila’s 8,000 tons of daily trash cannot be executed. (Originally published in the Manila Times, July 17, 2006. Please click on blog title for rest of the story.)

I thought I would never see the end of it. This long-running menace that is Jancom, whose Philippine principals have been in cahoots with several high-ranking officials of the Gorilla Macapagal Arroyo government and several close lawyer-friends of the Gorilla's mister, is now finished.

Its project should never have been approved yet it was, with the help of several corrupt government functionaries over several administrations along the way. Its $350 milllion contract price was grossly overpriced. And its technical safety and health safeguards questionable because it is an incinerator project. Still, the people behind it kept it alive largely through their connections with TC and PV. After personal cost to us financially and health-wise, I hope we can finally relax and not see this project resurrected anymore. The Supreme Court has spoken and has finally put an end to it.

The Clean Air Coalition and Bantay Kontrata groups thank all those who helped push this fight, particularly the columnists, publishers and editors who did not fear the powerful and mighty who could clamp down on their newspapers and sites. Our sincere appreciation to Solita Monsod, Alvin Capino, Jojo Robles, Conrad Banal, Ces Drilon, Mar-Vic Cagurangan, Gerry Kaimo, Bill Huang and the late Larry Sipin, as well as all the various reporters who did not get tired writing about it and the broadcasters who ceaselessly commented about it. Special thanks also goes to my former editor-in-chief, Jullie Yap Daza, who allowed me to write my heart out about this issue in the old Manila Standard, and has always supported the environmental and anti-garbage campaigns I have undertaken. Mabuhay kayong lahat!

More news on the demise of the Jancom contract here and here.

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