AFTER returning from his six-week family vacation in Melbourne, Australia, Cebu City Mayor Michael Lopez Rama added "with Melbourne features" to his vision for Cebu City to become "Singapore-like."

A check a year and a half into Mayor Rama's term, however, reveals the gap between the vision and reality. Take the garbage collection. Some neighborhoods don't have any scheduled garbage collection at all. Visitors are treated to the sight of uncollected and scattered garbage on roadsides and vacant lots. This problem isn't new, of course. But it suggests that local officials have been very slow to connect the dots. This is despite the more than 20 years of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the abandoned policy of the city government to implement waste segregation at source more than a decade ago, and zero efforts to minimize waste generation.

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