Rama: Razon group’s entry in Cebu City’s waste management ‘positive development’

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama sees the impending acquisition of Filipino billionaire businessman Enrique Razon’s firm of a local waste management company as a positive development in the quest to solve the city’s garbage issue.

If ever the Razon group would enter a business deal with the City Government, Rama said in a press conference Monday, Dec. 5, 2022 that he would endorse the matter to the City Council for its approval.

Prime Integrated Waste Solutions Inc. (Piwsi), a Prime Infra subsidiary, has announced in a press statement that it is set to fully acquire ARN Central Waste Management Inc., which currently receives around 1,000 tons of Cebu’s, including Cebu City’s, municipal solid waste on a daily basis. Prime Infra is Razon’s infrastructure arm that focuses on building assets that support the most urgent sustainability priorities — energy, access to clean water, waste management, and viable critical infrastructure.

Piwsi has projected that its investment will bring Cebu City’s waste management to be at par with world-class materials recovery facilities in other developed countries like Singapore.

ARN Central Waste Management Inc., the operator of a private landfill in Barangay Binaliw, is the first waste management business that Prime Infra is developing and upgrading in the country.

The Cebu City Government started to throw its waste at ARN’s landfill in May 2019 through a hauling service provider.

Rama said that he does not know yet the worth of investment that Piwsi will shell out to improve the waste management system.

‘Positive development’

The mayor added that he does not want to issue a conclusion on the effect of Razon group’s entry into the city’s garbage management, but the mayor considers this as a “positive development” and should be realized “as soon as possible” because “time is of the essence” in addressing the issue on garbage.

In 2018, some councilors opposed the construction and operation of the Binaliw landfill, citing health and sanitation concerns and the absence of transparency in the methods it will use for solid waste management.

The sanitary landfill has been receiving garbage from around 40 haulers coming from the cities of Cebu and Mandaue and the towns of Compostela and Consolacion.

According to Rama, it will now be the role of the City Council to hear out what innovation or improvement Piwsi will bring to the Binaliw landfill and how this would improve the garbage management system of the city.

Last Oct. 21, operators of ARN Central Waste Management Inc. said they want to acquire additional lots near their property in order to establish a “buffer zone” where they can plant trees that can help absorb the foul smell coming from the landfill.

The landfill is currently sitting in a 10.4-hectare property in Barangay Binaliw. (IRT)