Government-wide Performance Audit Report on
The escalating generation of solid waste brought about by fast economic growth and rapid urbanization is the responsibility of all sectors of society. The problem of todays solid waste, if improperly handled, carries implications not only for our environment but also for the health and well being of future generations. When waste ends up where it is not supposed to be, it becomes useless, causes pollution and poses health risks. When it is used and put in the right place, it becomes a valuable resource.
Section 17 of the Local Government Code of 1991 provides that Local Government Units (LGUs) shall exercise such powers and discharge such functions and responsibilities as are necessary, appropriate or incidental to efficiently and effectively provide basic services and facilities such as solid waste disposal system or environmental management system and services of facilities related to general hygiene.
Pursuant to the above mandate, LGUs initiated the institutionalization of their area-wide waste management system which includes the establishment of garbage transfer stations, programmed garbage collection, maintenance of cleanliness on streets and sidewalks, consistent monitoring of garbage and waste disposal, instilling public awareness on right and appropriate waste/garbage disposal and launching such other projects and programs relative to environmental management, hygiene and sanitation.
The Solid Waste Management (SWM) system has six elements: waste generation, transfer, recovery/processing, storage, collection and disposal. The audit focused on SWM collection which is critical among the six mentioned elements. If not given careful consideration, collection can become the most expensive of SWM function. The uncollected solid wastes piling up in the streets of commercial and residential areas of Metro Manila has been the subject of media reporting.
The Government, in its efforts to introduce improvements in the present system of SWM, enacted Republic Act No. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000), providing for an ecological SWM program, creating the necessary institutional mechanism and incentives, declaring certain acts prohibited and providing penalties therefor.
The audit focused on the evaluation of the SWM program of ten cities within Metro Manila including the City of Malabon. Malabon is a coastal City situated in the northern part of Metro Manila. Because the City is dissected by a river and a great part is below sea level, some barangays are often flooded during high tides and rainy seasons. Inspite of these conditions, the City provides industrial, commercial and environmental support to the development process of the Metropolis. It is along this line that the City government exerted efforts to push environmental projects that will help ease the flooding problem.
The City adopted several strategies to address the ever-growing problem on solid wastes. It aims to achieve high level of cleanliness characterized by proper waste management facilities to ensure a clean, friendly, healthful and a solid waste-free locality.
To attain this vision, the City sets the following objectives:
The SWM Office is in-charge of SWM function. SWMO is divided into 2 units headed by Public Services Officer III with 4 permanent staff. The Office is supported by 338 casual/contractual employees in performing the following functions:
The City Government appropriated an amount of P16.5M for CYs 2001 and 2002 which are not enough to cover its expenses as shown below:
* Expenditures from January to July 2002 only
The objective of the government wide audit was to determine whether the LGUs had undertaken its SWM function in the most efficient and economical manner giving consideration to solid wastes generation, selection of contractors and monitoring of contractors performance.
The Citys SWM function was undertaken by administration and not by contract and therefore not within the bound of the audit objective. However, since this is a government wide audit, the audit was pursued for comparison with LGUs undertaking the SWM function by contract either on a clean-up or per trip basis. For this reason, the evaluation was focused on the performance of SWMO.
AUDIT SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
The audit covered the evaluation of selected contracts from January 2001 to June 2002 of 7 Cities undertaking SWM by contracts within the National Capital Region. The audit also covered evaluation of SWM operation of 3 cities undertaking SWM by administration for comparison purposes.
The performance of the City was evaluated using the following criteria:
The team performed the following procedures during the audit:
The audit was conducted from August 26 to September 6, 2002 pursuant to COA Assignment Order No. 2002-021 dated July 18, 2002.
Generally, the City had not efficiently and effectively carried out its SWM functions through establishment of adequate guidelines and policies in implementing SWM strategies and monitoring its accomplishments to ensure that the program implemented addressed the SWM objectives. Although the City had identified strategies to implement SWM plans, these strategies were not accompanied by adequate guidelines to ensure proper collection methods and maintenance of equipment and define responsibilities of the collection crews. As a result, the City was not able to manage operational risks associated with SWM operation. In a survey conducted by the team, 59 respondents claimed that there were instances where solid wastes were not collected.
Moreover, in view of the absence of monitoring guidelines, the monitors were not properly guided. While they were assigned to look into specific accomplishments, they were not required to prepare and submit reports. Hence, the adequacy of monitoring activities and efficiency of SWM operation could not be evaluated. This hinders the City from instituting measures to improve its performance.
The team also noted that the City has not established methodology in calculating solid wastes generation from other sources other than from household population. Its factor however for household population of .50 kg. per person is considered within the standard set under the JICA study of .50 kg. per person in 1997. Under the JICA study, wastes generation in Metro Manila is escalating by 2% yearly. Hence, the team considered the factor to be .552 kg. per person for CY 2002.
The less than satisfactory performance of the City on SWM operation can also be attributed to the failure of the SWM Board to fully operationalize to oversee and coordinate the implementation of SWM operation.
As SWM is a continuing activity of the City and mishandling of this function would have a great impact on the environment and health of the Citizens, the City should seriously consider addressing these concerns.
MANAGEMENTS REACTIONS TO AUDIT OBSERVATIONS
The results of the audit were discussed with the Acting City Mayor and concerned officials of the City Government in an exit conference conducted on November 7, 2002. The Acting City Mayor submitted the following comments:
The team appreciates the City Governments concern in improving their performance.