As urban cities grapple with the challenges of waste management, provincial local governments play an indispensable role in fostering interlocal cooperation and local government clusters.

This was shown in the study “Revisiting Metropolitan Governance: Improving the Delivery of Urban Services through Inter-LGU Cooperation”, authored by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Vice President Marife Ballesteros, Research Consultants Elmer Mercado and Amillah Rodil-Ocampo, Supervising Research Specialist Tatum Ramos, Senior Research Specialist Pauline Joy Lorenzo, and Research Specialist Jenica Ancheta. It was featured in a recent PIDS webinar themed “Unlocking the Potential of Interlocal Cooperation in Solid Waste Management”.

The study highlighted the cases of the Surallah Cluster Sanitary Landfill (SLF) and the Passi Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility.

According to Mercado and Rodil-Ocampo, the cases showed how provinces such as South Cotabato and Iloilo utilize their position of authority not just as regulatory bodies but also as essential intermediaries, offering member local government units (LGUs) a comprehensive range of policy, financial, and technical assistance.

Meanwhile, national government agencies act as regulators and financial and technological enablers. The private sector steps in as a major player, working with LGUs through joint venture agreements.

“The private sector and the municipal governments have few incentives to participate in the provision of urban services. The cost of social services and environmental services, such as solid waste management, is typically very high, with a low return on investment. Given the need for significant investments, the government has the flexibility to offer incentives to local government units,” Mercado said.

The Passi case demonstrated the merits of public-private partnership (PPP) as a dependable model that guarantees peaceful and durable cooperation among LGUs, the private sector, and the provincial government.

The Passi cluster, which consists of 39 LGUs from Iloilo and 1 from Capiz, entered into a PPP agreement with the private sector for the design, construction, and management of an engineered SLF and other waste facilities.

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