Part 2: Braverhearts Reveal

24 March 2024

A four-part series on Synergeia’s Solid Waste Management Project with the Coca-Cola Foundation- The Maluso Experience: Of Bravehearts and Green Warriors

When local leaders and communities acknowledge that they need help, it shows how their hearts are braver to confront their problems and challenges and seek better solutions that work best for the brighter future they are aiming for.

Maluso in Basilan portrayed a picture of honesty and resolve in their solid waste management issues that have in many ways crippled their vision of a clean, green and environmentally sustainable place.

Mayor Hanie Bud and his barangay chairmen and other municipal government officials listened intently to the orientation sessions of the Synergeia team whose objective was to further raise their awareness and understanding of the problems arising from the lack of a solid waste management (SWM) plan,  the inadequacy in knowledge of the best practices in SWM and the weaknesses in capabilities of communities to adopt the appropriate discipline and behavior in ensuring cleanliness, health and wellness and protection of the environment.

In particular, Dr. Milwida Guevara raised the importance of having an audit or mapping to obtain strong data, like among others, the quantity and type of garbage a normal household will have which may include recyclable materials like plastics and how they are disposed of, to support a more need-based strategy and approach.

Moreover, as a best practice model, Mayor Jimuel  Que shared Bongao’s journey on SWM and how formulating a 10-year SWM plan strategically helped in preparing and building capacities of communities toward implementing environmentally sustainable processes and practices, including the use and deployment of garbage trucks, the development of sanitary landfill, and the conduct of information and education campaigns.

On the part of Maluso, it was not indifferent to the problems associated with SWM. It has kickstarted major steps to demonstrate its seriousness in dealing with the issues and concerns. It has already organized sectoral consultations among market vendors, the business sector,  basura patrollers and other community stakeholders. Information drives through the barangay and youth programs have been done. A materials recovery facility has also been established in each barangay. Even tree and mangrove planting has been promoted.

But the concrete push comes from this partnership initiative of Maluso’s local government with Synergeia and Coca-Cola Foundation to test its wherewithal and commitment to provide more depth and truth to its SWM goals and expose and engage its communities to a new kind of culture that puts being clean and green a topmost priority.

Indeed, Maluso is one braverheart revealed and the real work is just beginning.

Read next: Part 3: Slaying with the Braverhearts and Green Warriors of Maluso

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