Gordon backs bill seeking national energy policy, regulatory framework for waste-to-energy facilities

Published September 22, 2020, 1:07 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Richard J. Gordon has expressed support for a bill that seeks to establish a national energy policy and regulatory framework for facilities utilizing waste-to-energy technologies as solid wastes produced by Philippine cities are expected to increase by 165 percent to 77,776 tons by 2025.

Senator Richard Gordon
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

During the interpellation after the sponsorship of Senate Bill No, 1789, the “Waste-to-Energy Act” under Committee Report No. 106, Gordon said that it is a very important legislation that senators should ensure that it could immediately be undertaken.

“I congratulate Senator Sherwin Gatchalian for having ushered in a new dimension on how we are going to dispose our garbage and at the same time generate electricity. Ako’y nakikiusap sa lahat na bilisan po natin ito at magawa itong magandang plano na ito. This is an idea that should have come a long time ago. I believe in it and I support it. I certainly want to make sure that this succeeds,” the senator said as he asked to be named co-sponsor of the bill. (I plead to all that we fast track the approval of the measure and implement it.)               

Senate Bill (SB) 1789 seeks to ensure protection of the public’s health and the environment through a systematic and comprehensive ecological solid waste management program and to strengthen the government’s commitment to solid waste avoidance and volume reduction by supplementing the latter with other solid waste management treatment technologies to include waste-to-energy.

It also seeks to encourage the development and utilization of environmentally sustainable new and alternative technologies in resource recovery, resource conservation, processing, treatment, and disposal of solid waste, such as waste-to-energy facilities; and support the utilization of WTE facilities in order to attain sustainable energy and energy security, among others.

Gordon, who was the first to build a solid waste plant in the country when he was mayor of Olongapo City, pointed out that other countries in Asia have already taken leaps and bounds in terms of solid waste management while the Philippines is still hobbling along.

Vietnam produces 70,000 tons of wastes per day but with waste and energy plants in place, it is estimated to produce one billion kilowatt per hour from waste this year and six billion kilowatt per hour by 2050.

Malaysia’s WTE plant will be operational this year while 12 WTE plants will be operational in Indonesia by 2022.

In the Philippines, a $48-million plant is set for construction in Davao, a $40.5-million plant is in the pipeline in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and a facility is already operational in Lapu-lapu, Cebu.

“We ought to commend our colleague for having had the vision and energy to transform waste to energy, literally. There really is money in garbage, there’s money in waste. It minimizes our cost in power, it allows for more employment, it allows more money to be used in other productive measures. The Department of Interior and Local Government should make sure that they police local governments to make sure that they succeed right away. Because once people see that something can be done successfully in one locality, that is the point upon which we can turn the curve. We turn the curve into something a lot better for our country,” Gordon said.