The city government has formed a team to look into the issue involving Datu Bago awardee Darell Blatchley, city environment officer Engr. Marivic Reyes, and Barangay 37-D Chair Prime Atillo.
“The city government has a team working on this and we also recognized that Blatchley is a Datu Bago awardee and we are thankful for his help in cleaning the city,” City Administrator Zulieka Lopez told reporter yesterday.
Lopez did not elaborate on the nature of the team as she admitted that she did not read the exchange between the two camps.
Blatchley, the proprietor of D’Bone Collector Museum, has demanded a public apology and the resignation of both Reyes and Atillo as he felt insulted that both officials questioned his act in cleaning a filthy canal in an urban poor community in poblacion district.
While there was no statement from Reyes, Atillo yesterday refused to issue a public apology.
The barangay captain reiterated her doubts on Blatchley’s posting of the photo of the filthy canal.
The issue stemmed from Blatchley’s posting of the photos of the filthy canal in San Pedro Extension in Barangay 37-D, Poblacion District, just in front of the D’Bone Collector Museum in the adjacent Barangay 76-A (Bucana), Talomo District.
Blatchley said he took the photos on April 10 and immediately posted on his Facebook account so the barangay officials may take notice.
That day, a follower challenged him to clean the canal. The next day, he accepted the challenge and his group cleaned up the canal for two days.
Reyes and Atillo thanked the American for cleaning the canal but also questioned the time in the posting of the photos as they claimed those could have been old photos.
But Blatchley said the first day of the clean up on April 11 was documented by the media and representatives from the City Mayors office, City Canal Division, and City Disaster Administration.
On the next day, he said the City Canal Division came with a dump truck to further help the cleaning.
Yesterday, Atillo said the photos could have been taken on March 16, the day a whale was found dead in a nearby shore and was only recently posted online.
Blatchley dissected the whale and found some 40 kilos of plastic bags and sacks inside the whale’s stomach. That story became an international headline.
Atillo said they conducted a clean-up drive on March 23 on the said area.
“I would like to point out that when the news about the whale was highlighted, so we called for a cleanup on that area,” Atillo said.
Atillo contested Blatchley’s statement that they are not doing their responsibilities.
She pointed out that the previous barangay administration neglected garbage issues for four years.
Further, the barangay captain reiterated that her barangay is a “catch basin” of all garbage from various areas of the Poblacion district, such as Tomas Claudio, Claveria, San Pedro, and Bonifacio.
This, according to Atillo, is their challenge because despite their effort to clean, wastes are washed down to their area during rainy days as they have open canals.
Atillo said she does not want the issue with Blatchley to get bigger as she and the barangay council are even thankful to him “because he has called the attention of the city government” over the garbage issue.
Atillo pointed out the lack of discipline among the city residents who threw garbage anywhere.
“All residents must be cautious on the issues relating to garbage management,” she said.
Despite conducting clean up drives, Atillo said they could not totally clean all clogged canals.
“We already requested the City Engineers Office to really dig the sand. But, still to no avail because they also lack manpower. We are still waiting that they grant our request,” she said.