2016 ‘Waste-to-Worth’ contract is still on but…

UNILATERAL CANCELLATION REJECTED

THE Waste-to-Worth project, a joint venture agreement between the Dagupan City government signed during the term of former Mayor Belen Fernandez with Sure Global Philippines, Inc. in 2016, is still on course.  

This was underscored by Julia Courts Boughton, chief executive officer of Sure Global, in a talk before the city council on November 12, where she clarified certain misconceptions about the project that will convert plastic wastes into diesel fuel, and food wastes into compressed gas. 

The misconception she referred to was based on reports that Mayor Brian Lim is not inclined to continue the project and instead bent on inviting other proponents that can offer similar technology as gleaned from a recent letter to the city council by City Administrator Alan Dale Zarate.    

Boughton was accompanied to the City Council by Commissioner Crispian Lao of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, DENR Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio and Bobby Batungbakal, country manager of DOW Philippines, an international company based in Michigan, USA, one of the investors of Sure Global whose head office is in Singapore.  

“We are ready to go. The machine was already built. But there is one thing that we need to move the project forward at this point. What we need from the city of Dagupan is a letter of support that the new administration is supportive of the project and will cooperate”, Boughton said.

According to Boughton, the unit already built in Korea for Dagupan can process 30 tons of wastes, which a small city like Dagupan is capable of generating daily, is ready to be shipped.   

The proposed project started in 2014 when her company signed a memorandum of agreement with Mayor Fernandez to study the waste situation in Dagupan is already five years in the making, she said.

Among the activities already undertaken were: identification of the site, request to the Office of the President for the segregation of the selected site in Bonuan Binloc from the public domain in 2016, which was eventually granted in 2016; several technical studies in 2017, and mini-groundbreaking of the project in September 2018.

She added that the Environmental Clearance Certificate applied for by the company since 2016 was finally issued by the Department of  Environment and Natural Resources on September 25, 2019 after a series of soil and water testing at the proposed site, and technical studies of the entire project.

Showing a copy of the approved ECC of the project, Boughton told the councilors: “Take a look at it. Everything that we need to do is already done. There is nothing to hide.” .            

Boughton said once they have the Letter of Support from the city government, they will start to bring in 3 million U.S. dollars (more than P160 million) worth of investment into Dagupan.  

“In a nutshell, what we really want to do is to gather support from the new city administration before moving forward into this project,” she said, adding that the construction phase of the projects will take a couple of months to complete.

After her talk before the City Council, Boughton was led to the office of Mayor Lim where she was reportedly told they will study all the documents that she presented. (Leonardo Micua)      

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