Perhaps, no other dumpsite can evoke perspectives so extreme. From a scene of tragedy and shame, to become a showcase of best practices, recognized not only locally but internationally. From a poster child of hopelessness, to the Payatas residents’ becoming entrepreneurs, learning about consolidation and expansion.
All these in just seven years. All it took was a determined local government that refused to be locked by traditional approaches. Stubborn political will, practical sense the dumpsite had to be managed well because it was all that Quezon City had), and orientation to be a pioneer (Quezon City liked being first), the availability of technology and the resources to engage that technology were the key ingredients in this dramatic transformation.
Former Mayor Mayor Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte reduced the main considerations to the following, “We had to follow the full spirit of the law (the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 or Republic Act No. 9003); we had to take care of the people; we had to keep the City clean.”
On January 26, 2009, the Payatas Disposal Facility rehabilitation program of the Quezon City government, will receive an award from the President of the Philippines and the Galing Pook Foundation, highlighting the many forms of recognition that it has received over the past few years. The program is pioneering. Quezon City is the first Urban Center to implement the Solid Waste Management Act. The Department of Environment and natural Resources’ Special Award was given to the Quezon City local government in August 2004, recognized the LGU’s “promising and innovative program in achieving environmental improvements with the conversion of the Payatas Dumpsite into a Controlled Facility and being the first in the country to capture methane gas from the dumpsite as an alternative energy source, thus ensuring the health and safety of the community.”
The Administration of Mayor Herbert Bautista is continuing the previous administration's reengineering interventions to improve the dumpsite’s operational efficiency, restructure, and upgrade the dumpsite, while resulting in savings on its operating costs, and at the same time, making the facility safer and more environment-friendly. The program is widely recognized for being a laboratory and showcase for solid waste management initiatives and a model for other local governments.