Government-wide Performance Audit Report on
Solid waste, according to internationally accepted definition, is non-liquid waste material arising from domestic trade, commercial, industrial and mining activities. It also includes solid waste arising from the conduct of public services such as street sweeping, landscape maintenance and the clearing of debris brought about by typhoons.
Solid Waste Management (SWM), on the other hand, refers to an integrated approach of controlling the generation, as well as managing the storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing and disposal of solid wastes in a manner that is in accord with the best principles of public health, economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetics and other environmental considerations, which is responsive to public needs.
The fast economic growth, rapid urbanization and the escalating generation of solid waste are causing problems in the Philippines, particularly in Metro Manila. All sectors of society are responsible for solid wastes. As such, each sector has a major mission to fulfill its proper management. The problem of todays solid wastes, if improperly handled, carries implications not only upon our environment but also on the health and well being of our future generation. When wastes end up where they are not supposed to be, they become useless, cause pollution and pose health risks. When they are used and put in the right place, they become valuable resource.
SWM has six elements, namely: solid waste generation, transfer, recovery/processing, storage, collection and disposal. The audit did not endeavor to cover all stages but focused on solid wastes collection. Collection of solid wastes in urban areas can be difficult since generation of wastes is a widely spread process that takes place in every home, apartment, building, commercial and industrial facility, as well as streets and parks. If not given careful consideration, collection can become the most expensive function of SWM. The uncollected solid wastes piling up in the streets of commercial and residential areas of Metro Manila has been the subject of some media reports that ended up in the national newspapers.
The audit focused on the evaluation of the SWM program of ten cities and municipalities within Metro Manila including the City of Manila. Metro Manila, made up of 11 cities and 6 municipalities, is considered to be 100% urban. Its population density is 14,440 persons per square kilometer, 63 times more than the national average. The Philippine Yearbook reports that the high incidence of environment and health related problems in Metro Manila are due to scavenging and pollution.
The vision of the City Government of Manila is to develop a socially just, environmentally sustainable, politically participating and economically vibrant community. Manila strives to be a City that is beautiful and orderly, culturally vibrant and a wholesome center for recreation and tourism. The objective of the SWM operation is to maintain overall cleanliness and to develop a sound SWM and environmental sanitation program.
Manila has a land area of 38 square kilometers with an estimated night population of 2 million and daytime population of 4 million. The daytime population includes non-residents such as students and persons with commercial interests. The city is composed of 897 barangays which are divided into 100 zones and 6 congressional districts.
In view of the devolution of the SWM functions to the Local Government Units (LGUs), the responsibility for solid wastes collection and disposal and maintaining a clean environment was assumed by the City Government. This responsibility shall be carried out in accordance with national policies, standards and criteria.
The City of Manila is contracting collection and disposal of solid wastes by package/clean-up system, a system where the contractor is given the full responsibility to manage/administer and directly carry out actual collection, cleaning and disposal of solid wastes from various sources. These include households, commercial establishments, markets, institutions like offices, schools, churches and streets, alleys, vacant public lots or designated collection points in their area of assignment.
The Citys SWM is being implemented by the Department of Public Services (DPS), with 702 permanent personnel. Among the primary functions of DPS are:
In addition, the DPS performs the following related functions:
The City is operating on a budget of P493,468,800 each year for contracting out solid wastes collection for CYs 2001 and 2002.
The audit objective was to determine whether solid wastes collection is undertaken by the City in the most efficient and economical manner giving consideration to:
AUDIT SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
The audit covered the evaluation of selected contracts covering January 2001 to June 2002 of 7 cities undertaking SWM by contracts within the National Capital Region including the City of Manila. The audit also included evaluation of 3 Cities undertaking SWM by administration for comparative purposes. The performance of the Cities was evaluated using the following criteria:
The team performed the following audit procedures:
The audit was conducted from September 9 to September 30, 2002 pursuant to COA Assignment Order No. 2002-021 dated July 18, 2002.
The audit concluded that generally, the City had not efficiently and economically carried out its SWM function through the satisfactory selection of contractors and monitoring of contractors performance. This was due to failure of the City to establish adequate policies and procedures on selection of contractors resulting in their failure to consider some factors that would ensure the effective delivery of services. Documents such as technical proposal and comprehensive work plan indicating the strategies in undertaking the contractors activities were not required to be submitted. As a result, the obligations of the contractor were not clear, affecting the attainment of the Citys objective of maintaining clean environment.
Moreover, the performance of the selected contractors was not properly monitored due to the deficiencies in monitoring systems and absence of adequate performance indicators/standards to gauge the efficiency of their performance. As a result, the City was not able to initiate measures to improve contractors performance leading to its failure to attain the objective of having a solid wastes- free environment.
The team also noted that the City has not established methodology on calculating solid wastes generation by source. Using the JICA formula, the Citys estimates were found higher by about 25%. Since the estimated daily solid waste generation is the basis of the contract, the efficiency of the collection system could not be assured and the reasonableness of the contract cost is at stake.
The less-than-satisfactory performance of the City on SWM operation can also be attributed to its failure to establish SWM Board 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 City Officials in an exit conference conducted on November 6, 2002. The comments provided by the Officer In-charge of DPS on November 11, 2002, were incorporated in the report where appropriate.