Formal Accomplishments

The project started off according to plan in March 2003 and accomplished the requirements in the ToR even faster than its initial time schedule requested.

Below on this page, the general development, experiences, accomplishments, and practical outcome in the initial - rather conventional - project are briefly described with texts and pictures.

You will find the more comprehensive and full Final Report here.

However, the real success of the project is found in the additional work carried out in the most active of the barangays, barangay Pinagkaisahan. The project developed a small scale Eco Center that now works as the heart of a concrete, hands-on Solid Waste Management System with an adapted Material Recovery Facility (MRF); all in order to serve as the desired Best Practice Example.

Owing to very strong and dedicated barangay Management, enthusiastic staff, and - with time - relatively cooperative inhabitants the project has managed to reduce the number of truck loads bringing residual waste to Payatas dumpsite from eight (8) per week in the beginning of the project down to two (2) today (March 2007) - and the project is now even in the process of reducing to one (1) truck per week. This remarkable reduction of 75% or even more shows that it is possible to achieve significant positive results with limited budgets.

More of the unique accomplishments, actions, experiences, etc that have led to the sustainable success and the good example in barangay Pinagkaisahan are found on a separate page (click here). (Please note that the page includes many pictures and will take some time to load.)

The brief descriptions and pictures of the general development, experiences, accomplishments, and practical outcome in the basic, initial project are divided into various sections. Each picture can be enlarged by clicking on it.


Project start-up

Initial studies

Basic facts

IEC material

Seminars, workshops, and formal training

Study visits to and from the project


Pinagkaisahan example of Best Practice


Project Micropolis was initiated by Regional Director Serafin Benaldo, DILG-NCR, in order to "create models for barangay development that shall be possible to duplicate in all urban areas in Manila and in other cities and urban centers on the country. The project is designed to strengthen barangay planning and development management and to improve DILG-LGU capacity for entrepreneurial governance, poverty reduction, slum upgrading and building resident-friendly neighborhoods in urban barangays. The project seeks to promote sustainable renewal by deepening the participation of civil society in community development and increasing involvement of the private sector in urban reconstruction and social transformation." (Quotes from the ToR.)

The pilot project focused on five chosen barangays in Quezon City:

Pinagkaisahan; Kamuning; Kristong Hari; Sacred Heart; and South Triangle.

Project start/up
(The picture quality in this section is low . It is getting better further down...)

A snapshot of part of the happy project team after the signing of the contract in March 2003.

Initial studies
(The picture quality in this section is low. It is getting better further down...)

More exact information about the amount of solid waste was needed so the project organized special teams to weigh the waste in some chosen areas.

The "basura boys" on the hauling trucks were also helpful despite the fact the all the weighing of the different fractions of the solid waste delayed their work.

Although some of the Swedish team members might have looked as leaders of a "punitive expedition"...

... especially the so-called "Eco Aids" in the chosen barangays (Pinagkaisahan and Kamuning in Quezon City) were happy to support and most helpful.

Around 3 tons of solid waste per round was manually weighted and checked in four "cells" in the chosen barangays four times a week during a two-month period.


A terrifying large portion of the solid waste is "treated" by being thrown into the creeks of Metro Manila. This naturally causes problems with flooding during the rainy season besides the direct hygienic consequences.

Basic facts

Several studies have been carried out and, as a general average, the solid waste composition in Metro Manila looked (1997) like this (according to a JICA study):

Kitchen waste






Grass and wood








Leather and rubber


Ceramic and stone




Information about the core barangays in Quezon City where the project was accomplished:

Barangay South Triangle Sacred Heart Kamuning Pinagkaisahan Kristong Hari
Land area (ha) 112 55 47 33 34
Population 7,799 6,812 13,646 10,195 3,542
Depressed areas 1,250 N/A ~10%


Households 1,884 2,099 3,062 1,906 788
Average persons per household 4.14 3.39 4.46


No of businesses N/A 600 3,000 46 70

IEC material

In cooperation with the stakeholders involved a set of specially design IEC (Information, Education, and Communication) materials was produced. The material was utilized in the Training of Trainers and in Echo Training during the project and the material is still being used even now when the project is formally finalized. A compendium on General Solid Waste Management with special focus on source separation and monitoring was produced to the training of trainers, and it was distributed to all participants in the seminars directed to trainers.

As a textbook and a reference the following booklet was distributed to all the 25 barangays involved in the IEC activities. The textbook is copied with the permission from the authors.

L.F. Diaz, G.M. Savage, L.L. Eggerth and C.G. Golueke (1998):
Solid Waste Management for Economically Developing Countries, ISWA 1998

The communication material for the households was a core objective among IEC material. The project used some of the limited contingency budget to produce a jingle called "Basura Sha-la-la". It has been produced in two versions;
a) Tagalog lyrics
b) Tagalog lyrics with English subtitles.
Several hundred CDs with the two versions have been printed and given away at various occasions.

The jingle has become the "theme song" of the project and is used by the barangay to announce the arrival of the collection vehicle, among other things. The jingle has also been used during all kinds of formal and informal presentations, follow-ups, etc for the project - to the delight of the participants.

Since the Philippine culture encourages fun, singing and human relations as a way of making things happen the value of a jingle of this kind must not be underestimated or considered as "stupid"!

The distribution is made via barangay Pinagkaisahan and Conexor AB in Manila

Some barangays produced leaflets and information material of its own, inspired by the material presented in the compendium.

Seminars, workshops, and echo training

Echo in the term "Echo Training" describes how information, knowledge and understanding are brought out to the society. Partly it is dissemination of knowledge; partly mobilization of different groups of people to raise their consciousness about the power of coordinated actions. The raised consciousness is often the start of the empowerment process and in order to achieve this people need to come together to discuss and share experiences.

The empowerment process starts when people get aware of their situation and begin to act coordinated to change it. The project has raised the participants' consciousness about Solid Waste Management which is then the base for actions.

Several seminars, workshops, and echo training sessions have been carried out to provide the participants with possibilities for different groups to meet, discuss and learn.

The gatherings from the start of the project intended to make the participants understand that their "unique" problems in fact were shared in some way with many other barangays. The exchange of experience and ideas were summarized and made the foundation for actions.

The first set of seminars and workshops was held 27--28 August 2003.

The entrance to DILG-NCR could do with a brush up but the dedication inside is better than the outside look...

Regional Director Serafin Benaldo explains the background and goals of the project.

Participants from all barangays focused on their unique problems during the workshop.

Interestingly enough the problems experienced in the barangays seemed to have very much in common...

The participants need some exercise under Eco Manager Malou's leadership.

... and what would a workshop be without lunch?

Continued workshops...

... and more experience exchange.

The second set of workshops was accomplished on 21 April 2004 for participants from around 20 barangays in Quezon City. It was combined with a study visit to barangay Pinagkaisahan in order to give a hand-on demonstration of the accomplishments achieved so far. The gathering was called "Basura Day". ("Basura" means "Waste" in Tagalog.)

More than 100 participants registered.

The barangay Captain, Mrs Vivian Quitiquit, welcomed everybody.

The whole chain from segregation in the household, collection of the different fractions of waste...

... to preparing the kitchen waste for shredding and composting...

... and the use of the various types of equipment and tools...

... was explained by Eco Manager Malou.

The afternoon was used for follow-up training seminars, experience sharing, and discussions.

All experience and questions pointed in the same direction:

  • All barangays have their unique conditions and problems - but at the same time often basically very similar;
  • How to get started;
  • Financing problems since it is impossible to finance Solid Waste Management on the barangay level with the current budget arrangements without either a subsidy from the city and/or the implementation of a Solid Waste Management Fee;
  • Clustering of barangays would probably create advantages since the volume of recyclables would reach levels where the revenues per unit would increase significantly;
  • How to inform the inhabitants;
  • How to make the project sustainable; and
  • Hands-on practical examples are the best learning experience instead of endless theoretical seminars.

Study visits to - and from - the project

Learning from the Pinagkaisahan Best Practice Experience

In order to disseminate the experiences from the project numerous representatives from LGUs and other organizations all over the Philippines have been visiting barangay Pinagkaisahan. Initially, the project was visited by at least two to three groups per week and the barangay captain, Mrs Vivian Quitiquit, and her staff joked:

- There is no time for Kapitana (the barangay captain) to do her normal work since the study visits take all her time.

Today, there is still at least one study group per week that wants to learn from the sustainable results. All in all several thousand persons have visited the project site to learn from the Best Practice Experience.

One example is when the Municipal Mayor of Bauang, La Union, Hon. Martin De Guzman and his staff learnt a lot from the barangay captain of Pinagkaisahan.

What would a typical Filipino get-together be without entertainment? The first performance of the project's special "Basura Sha-la-la" jingle was presented during the study visit and soon everybody joined in.

Learning from Sweden

Six project participants visited Sweden in May 2003 for a study visit. The focus was on learning how various Solid Waste Management activities are carried out at public and private organizations. Special effort was put on the illustration of collection systems for recycling and composting.

The participants were made up by three persons from the DILG-NCR, two from the core barangays, and one of the local consultants. The study visit worked much as an eye-opener for the participants. They could see various practical ways and means to handle solid waste from household segregation over newspaper recycling to metal recycling at a steel mill and modern incineration plants.

The general reaction naturally focused on the differences between the countries - and consequently the differences in the possibilities to implement the various functions, but the Swedish hosts emphasized over and over again that it took decades to get the relatively well-functioning systems in Sweden working.

During the progress of the project, the participants have often referred to and commented on their experiences from Sweden. It is obvious that the study visit contributed a lot to the general understanding of what is feasible to do. A hands-on experience is often worth much more than many theoretical seminars. So the general rule applies: "Seeing Is Believing..."

Learning from other Solid Waste Management projects visited

There were also several study visits accomplished during the project. Exchanging hands-on experience with the people directly involved in the work is often much better than all theoretical seminars and training together...

Barangay Pamplona Dos, Las Pinas, is a good example of the creation and maintenance of ecological Solid Waste Management. Under the strong leadership from the dedicated barangay captain Mrs Baby Castillo-Villalon (to the left) a collection system for recyclables and composting has been developed. The eco-boys are collecting in the morning and taking care of the composting process in the afternoon. The Happy Soil compost equipment is used successfully. The pedicabs used for collection are specially designed at the barangay.

In barangay Phil-Am Life the maids bring the waste to the composting site. Recyclables and mixed waste is hauled conventionally. The compost is manufactured at an open market and the barangay captain Mr Jose Diaz (to the left) claims that he can not satisfy the demand.

Santa Cruz, Laguna, is developing a good governance model for Solid Waste Management. A municipality wide program for Ecological Waste Management combines the idea of recycling with green area maintenance. Every barangay has to take care of a park or a part of a park, and many barangays are running different ecological waste management programs. As a special example, a campaign is introduced where all children eating fruit shall save the stone and plant it to fill the park with trees and bushes.

The manager for the production from waste in barangay Holy Spirit discusses with the Swedish Ambassador, H.E. Annika Markovic, during her one-day SWM tour 07 October 2003.

Barangay Holy Spirit was for some years well-known for its progressive ecological solid waste management - the "zero waste program". The barangay has a lot of green space, and was therefore able to arrange a vegetable garden where a certain amount of vegetables was produced. The former composting plant was used as a good example of low-tech composting. However the introduction of new technology failed and the composting plant was closed by the end of 2003 due to intensive complaints about foul smell.


The following is a brief review of the economic aspects of a solid waste management project on the barangay level. These issues are thoroughly discussed in the Final Report.

This section, although being a brief summary, is a bit extensive since the topic is very complex. By reading this section you will get a general idea of the economic conditions for a successful Solid Waste Management Project.

The conclusions are found by the end of this section.

Three main components of Solid Waste Management economy

The handling of the waste from an economic point of view on the barangay level can be divided into the following three components:

  1. Investments;

  2. Operational costs; and

  3. Revenues or other cost recovery possibilities.


  • Investment in equipment like shredders, composting, drums, pedicabs, etc;

  • Investment in buildings and other structures (so called eco centers);

  • Interest on the investments (handled here due to the public sector budget system); and

  • Depreciation of the investments.

Operational costs

  • Hauling of solid waste from the barangays to a dump site;

  • Central operational costs at the city level;

  • Eco aids (salaries) at the barangay level;

  • Maintenance of the equipment;

  • Electricity, water, etc.;

  • Spades, tools, eye-shield, gloves, etc;

  • Information material to the residents; and

  • Incentives like collection buckets, raffles, etc.

Revenues or other cost recovery possibilities

  • Revenues from property tax allocations;

  • Savings on hauling costs to be shared between the city and the barangay;

  • Possible selling of recyclables;

  • Possible selling of compost; and

  • Possible "Solid Waste Management Fee" from the residents.


The table below includes a schematic calculation for a barangay in Metro Manila with around 10,000 inhabitants of mixed population. Each item can naturally be discussed and modified, but the ambition of the table is to show the orders of magnitude and where the critical costs and revenues are found.







Depreciation of investments



Operational costs



Revenues or other cost recovery possibilities


To be covered in various ways
Discussed below

The investments can naturally vary a lot depending on the starting conditions in the specific barangay, the level of ambition, stepwise implementation of the new schemes, etc. However, the order of magnitude, 1,500,000 -- 2,000,000 pesos, is a good estimate for a barangay of 10,000 inhabitants.

An investment of this magnitude is very hard for a typical barangay to handle in one step. However, with a good planning of budget allocations over the years and a stepwise implementation it would be possible to build up a well-functioning solid waste management system within just a few years.

Experience from various other projects also shows that there are other sources of funding than only the barangay budgets.

  • Waste management fund as a part of the property tax allocations;

  • Savings and regular funding;

  • Soft loans/concessionary credits;

  • Donations from companies and individuals; and

  • Various "politically" allocated funds

are some examples of funding used in other projects.

Savings and funding are sometimes difficult due to administrative rules and regulations where a "saving" from one budget year can not be transferred to the following. However, it seems as if such transfers can be arranged given one of the basic rules fro successful projects:
"If there is a will - there is a way".

Operational costs

Just as is the case regarding the investments, the operational costs can vary a lot depending on the starting conditions in the specific barangay, the level of ambition, stepwise implementation of the new schemes, etc. However, the order of magnitude, 40,000--50,000 pesos/month, is a good estimate for a barangay of 10,000 inhabitants.

The annual budget of a typical barangay is roughly 4,000,000 pesos. Out of this budget, 5% is allocated to solid waste management, i.e., 200,000 or 17,000 per month. This amount is often used for employing street sweepers, buying plastic bags, and various costs related to environmental protection in general.

As seen from the table above, the standard budget added by potential revenues can not sustain the solid waste management activities.

It is difficult to significantly reduce the operational costs since the overall work is relatively labor intensive. This type of work is also a low-status job, but the activity could provide livelihood for people who otherwise would have severe difficulties in finding a job; hence probably saving on social costs.

Tabular summary of investments and operational costs




Shredder/hammermill, sorting table, mixing bed, pedicabs, etc


Shredder: 80,000.
Hammermill: 140,000--500,000 depening on size.
Sorting table: 10,000.
Mixing bed: 3,000.
Pedicab: 5,000.
Estimate average cost but heavily dependent on the type of barangay, amount of manual work, etc.

Construction of Eco Center


Varies with the initial conditions.

Composting drums


Drums can be small and "manual" @ 3,500 that can handle 100 kg of biowaste;
or large "automatic" @ 300,000 that can handle 1,000 kg of biowaste.
The figure estimates 2 large drums to serve the population of 10,000.

Various investments


Wheel borrows, etc.





Depreciation of investments 

Pesos/month (round numbers)


Shredder/hammermill, sorting table, mixing bed, pedicabs, etc


Depreciation over 60 months.

Construction of Eco Center


Depreciation over 120 months.

Composting drums


Depreciation over 24 months for the "manual" drums; and 60 months for the "automatic" ones.

Various investments


Depreciation over 36 months.





Operational costs 

Pesos/month (round numbers)


Eco Aids


Eco Aid @ 4,000/month.
Four (4) Eco Aids should be able to handle the whole process for a population of 10,000:
Hauling → Final Segregation at Eo Center → Shredding → Composting → Supplementary Work → Service and Maintenance.

Eco Manager


The Eco Manager is responsible for the overall operation, contacts with junk shops, hauling of residual waste to dumpsite, etc.
With well educated and motivated Eco Aids the Eco Manager is not needed.



The produced compost is used as mixing material.
The alternative cocodust is 80 pesos/sack.

Electricity for composting drums


"Automatic" drums electrical effect is around 400 W.
For manual drums = 0.

Enzyme or odor reduction additives






Gloves, aprons, goggles etc



Plastic bags, etc



Service and Maintenance



Incentives to residents


Semi-annual raffle.

Information to residents



Beautification (flowers)






Revenues and other cost recovery possibilities

Property tax allocations

5% (five percent) of the property taxes collected in a barangay (property tax fund) are said to be possible to transfer to the waste management fund.

In the case of barangay Pinagkaisahan the amount is around PHP 200,000.-/year which would cover a large portion of the operational costs.

Savings on hauling costs

Quezon City has passed a city ordinance which, in summary, allows the barangay to receive 50% of the savings on hauling trips from reduced amount of waste brought to landfill (Payatas).

Assume that each hauling trip is 1,500 pesos. Starting with a "standard number" of hauling trips for the kind of typical barangay discussed here, say eight per week, a reduction of 50% of the waste brought to landfill would give four saved trips per week. That is around 25,000 pesos/month - or 300,000 pesos/year, which in turn is 50--60% of the operational costs estimated above.

Since the biodegradable waste added with a part of the recyclable waste account for more than 50% of the total waste, these savings are certainly feasible with a full scale solid waste management system.

It is probably possible to save even more on the hauling trips since the garbage truck would collect only one fraction (residual waste) and through good management, that fraction could be more effectively collected. (This is in practice what has happened in barangay Pinagkaisahan.)

Unfortunately, this kind of incentive related to savings on hauling trips seems at this moment to be unique for Quezon City. There are various reasons for that, but one reason is probably that Quezon City manages its own landfill (Payatas) and consequently also has to carry the direct burden. In many parts of Metro Manila the solid waste is "managed" via illegal dumpsites...

Selling of recyclables

The possibility to sell the recyclable waste is a potential revenue source. However, it is arguable if it is an optimized use of resources to arrange the sorting and selling of recyclable items collected on the barangay level on a full scale.

Such activities would compete with the livelihood of the push carts boys. The amount of recyclable that will be available for the solid waste collection truck staff will, unavoidably, be less and consequently have a negative impact on their side-line income. The amount that will eventually be dumped at the dumpsite will also be less with a negative impact on the livelihood of the scavengers.

The volumes of recyclables might not be on such a level that it is really worthwhile the effort to handle them on the barangay level compared to the costs involved. (It should be noted again that the conceptual idea of clustering several barangays to effectively handle an enhanced recyclable waste scheme should really be tried.)

The experience from barangay Pinagkaisahan gives partly contradictory experiences in this field.

Selling of compost

High quality compost has a market value. An average a rice-sack sized compost bag is sold at 30--50 pesos provided the content is of good quality.

If the composting is run on a large scale, 10--100 tons per year, it can be of large-scale commercial value. However, the main market on that level is the agricultural sector, and any serious commercial activity on that market would need high and uniform quality, which is probably hard to achieve on the barangay level.

On the small scale it is naturally possible to sell the compost to the barangay residents or neighbors. However, it is again hardly the task for the barangay to organize the selling of compost on this level. It is therefore recommended that the compost is distributed back to the residents as an incentive. That would also pave the way for a barangay initiated and coordinated beautification of the surroundings.

Practically it has also turned out to be complicated to run small scale, low-cost composting facilities.

"Solid Waste Management Fee" from the residents

Assuming available solid waste management funds are needed for other activities than the ones outlined above, and the incentive from the city level is not available (due to lack of political will), there must be a way to cover the operational costs. Assuming again that the typical barangay has a population of 10,000 people with each household consisting of an average of 4.5 person, i.e. 2,200 households. Assume further that each property is occupied by 1.5 households, i.e. 1,500 properties which make around 7 persons per property.

A "Solid Waste Management Fee" of one (1) peso per day and property would give
1 peso/day * 1,500 properties * 30 days/month = 45,000 pesos/month or 540,000 pesos/year.

This is more or less exactly the amount estimated for the operational costs above!

It is interesting to note that similar discussions are on-going in other Southeast Asian countries. A "Garbage Fee" of 1 baht (roughly 1.4 pesos) per household and day is charged in Thailand.

Cluster of barangays

As mentioned under Investments above there should be potential additional savings to be made if the barangay - or a cluster of barangays - could handle its own hauling system.

Exempted costs in the calculations

Construction, maintenance, and long-term closure costs for the dumpsite is not considered in this calculation. However, that is certainly a most significant cost that must be handled in a more overarching and long-term calculation for the overall solid waste management on the city/municipal level.


The investments need to be covered by one-time funding or savings over a period of time.

The operational costs can be covered via a mix of the various options discussed above.

The issues above are thoroughly discussed in the Final Report.

Pinagkaisahan example of Best Practice

Now you have learnt about the general accomplishments in the project that initially was required under the Terms of Reference (ToR). As you can see it was mainly the conventional areas like seminars, workshops, training, studies, plans, etc.

However, the project management realized that in order to achieve something that would really provide a tangible learning experience and serve as a Best Practice Example for others, there was a need for a more hands-on approach.

The real success of the project is found in the additional work carried out in the most active of the core barangays, barangay Pinagkaisahan. The project developed a small scale Eco Center that now works as the heart of a concrete, hands-on Solid Waste Management System with an adapted Material Recovery Facility (MRF); all in order to serve as a desired Best Practice Example.

If you want to learn more about the unique accomplishments, actions, experiences, etc., that have led to the sustainable success and the good example in barangay Pinagkaisahan you click here to go to that separate page. (Please note that the page includes many pictures and will take some time to load.)

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If you have a link to another website that you think would be beneficial for people visiting this website - please send it to me and I might include it on this page. Then we can set up links to each other for the benefit of everybody.

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