'Use DAP, PDAF to resolve waste management woes'

Posted at 07/06/14 2:20 PM

Open, dirty and dilapidated garbage truck. Photo by Atty. Romulo Macalintal

MANILA – Lawyer Romulo Macalintal thinks it is high time that some of the billions of pesos involved in the controversial Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) be used to resolve the country’s waste management problem.

In a statement issued Sunday, Macalintal lamented at the working conditions of the country’s garbage collectors, which he personally witnessed as he was driving along Coastal Road, Las Pinas City on Saturday.

“It is sad to note that our government officials seem unmindful or have no concern at all over the health and sanitation of the truck drivers and the garbage collectors who are exposed to the hazard and danger in collecting garbage,” he said.

Open, dirty and dilapidated garbage truck. Photo by Atty. Romulo Macalintal

Macalintal also cited studies in the United States which, he said, should alarm those who have position in the government.

“In previous research undertaken by the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health between 1980 and 1992, it said that garbage collecting is not only ‘extremely hazardous but it can in fact be both dangerous and even deadly. Unfortunately, the risk of injury and health hasn’t improved much since then. In 2007, the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that refuse and recyclable materials collectors had a fatality rate of 22 per 100,000 workers, placing them among occupations with high fatality rates.’

“If garbage collectors in the US would still belong to the job with high fatality rates despite all the protective gears given to them by their government and their high salary rates, then Filipino garbage collectors are now in so pathetic and pitiable condition because of the apparent lack of concern by our government officials over their welfare and benefit,” he said.

Unlike the sanitary engineers in the US, Macalintal noted that Filipino garbage collectors “do not have the luxury of wearing heavy gloves, shoes or protective gears while collecting garbage. Some even use their bare hands, some without shoes nor slippers. Some in sleeve-less shirts; others have no clothing at all. And they are not paid that much, sometimes even underpaid.”

As such, Macalintal is urging government officials to immediately act on the “very poor waste management system in our country,” and be more mindful to all the potential hazards to the lives of Filipino garbage collectors.