The South Cotabato Health Care Waste Treatment Facility (SCHCWTF) implemented under the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) is this year’s CSC PAG-ASA awards (Group Category) during the recently concluded 2022 Search for Outstanding Government Workers conferred during Regional Virtual Awards Rites on 29 September 2022.
The South Cotabato Health Care Waste Treatment Facility (SCHCWTF) is the first local government-managed/operated Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD) Facility for M501 or hospital/infectious wastes in Mindanao.
The facility was conceptualized in response to the growing problem of the improper handling and disposal of healthcare/infectious wastes generated by hospitals, clinics, and diagnostic and dialysis facilities operating within the province. The program is incorporated within the province’s 10-Year Provincial Solid Waste Management Plan 2015-2024 as approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) through Resolution #193, series of 2015.
The project was proposed in 2010 when the provincial government tried to connect with other financial institutions for fund sourcing. Eventually, the project was presented to the South Cotabato Solid Waste Management Board in 2013 and endorsed for approval by the Provincial Development Council until a 4.9 hectares area was eventually purchased in 2014.
The PEMO also sees to it that the program is incorporated within the province’s 10-Year Provincial Solid Waste Management Plan 2015-2024 as approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) through Resolution #193, series of 2015.
It then formed a Technical Working Group and conducted countless meetings in the crafting of Ordinance #6, series of 2016, and subsequently Ordinance #, 22 series of 2016 which is “ An Ordinance fixing fees on the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of Health Care Waste Treatment facility of the Provincial Government of South Cotabato.”
The staff that will handle the facility undergo capacity-building training in close coordination with the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) Region 12 and the machine provider which is Radicor Solutions.
Situated at the Sprawling 4.9-hectare land inside the Integrated Provincial Environment Management Center (IPEMC) located at Brgy. Tinongcop in Tantangan town bought by the province, the South Cotabato Health Care Waste Treatment Facility (SCHCWTF) started its operation in November 2016.
It renders services such as collection, transport, treatment, and disposal of various HCWs as identified in Provincial Ordinance No.6, Series of 2016. The operation of this facility is in compliance with the standards and guidelines of the Department of Health, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and all other existing local and national ordinances, laws, rules, regulations, and issuances.
It was initially funded with Php5 million and has at least ten (10) personnel managing the facility under the Environment Management Division (EMD). Aside from the overall supervisor and Pollution Control Officer, the facility has one (1) Laboratory Technician, two ) drivers, One) Program Assistant, three ( 3) laboratory aids, and two (2) maintenance men.
At first, it only served all hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities owned, managed, and operated by the PGSC for free.
Realizing its importance, at least 20 private hospitals and health providers started to ink a Memorandum of Agreement with the province in 2016, and this is increasing on a yearly basis.
The facility operates from Monday to Friday and charges meager fees to private hospitals based on the ordinance.
In an interview, PEMO Chief Seigfred Flaviano disclosed that its first year of implementation has generated at least Php3 million in revenues.
As the year goes by, it increased to Php6-7 million on a yearly basis. Flaviano said the facility could already recover costs and sustain operations.
“This project already became an economic enterprise for the province,” Flaviano said,
The SCHCWTF is under the Environment Management Division of the Provincial Environment Management Office under the leadership of Elbe M. Balucanag who supervises the overall operation of the program, Ms. Jobie de Jesus -Sr. EMS/Pollution Control Officer, Mr. Leo Atangan– EMS II/SCHCWTF Supervisor, while Engr. Merchell Yaeso-EMS I spearheads the Monitoring Team in collaboration with the DENR-EMB XII, DOH Regional Office, PhilHealth Provincial Office, Provincial Planning and Development Office, Provincial Information Office, Provincial Engineers Office, Provincial Health Office, Municipal/City Sanitation Inspectors, and MENROs/City ENRO where the facility to be monitored are located. Mr. Reynaldo Fabrigar, CDA II looks after the Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Campaign. Under the Program, we have one (1) Laboratory Technician, 2 drivers, 1 Program Assistant, 3 laboratory aids, and 2 maintenance men.