BWD to ask for damages

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014


THE City Council on Monday urged the Baguio Water District to take full independent action on the issue of the massive land development in Mt. Kabuyao in Sto. Tomas and damages it caused to the city's water sources.

This developed as assistant manager Ma. Luisa Tenedero explained during the City Council session the BWD board is contemplating filing criminal and civil cases due to the damage caused by the land development on the alleged property of city Representative Nicasio Aliping Jr.

However, she said the criminal case, which will be based on the Clean Water Act of 2004, will require endorsement from the Environmental Management Bureau.

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The civil case will be based on the cost of damages, which includes the cost of rehabilitation of water sources in Amliang specifically Spring 1, 2 and 3 and the opportunity cost the water district will incur.

However, Councilor Peter Fianza questioned the dependence of the BWD on the EMB citing Section 31 of the Presidential Decree No. 198, which provides the protection of water and facilities or a district.

The provision states, "A district shall have the right to commence, maintain, intervene in, defend and compromise actions of proceedings to prevent interference with or deterioration of water quality or the natural flow of any surface, stream or groundwater supply...."

"While it may be true that we can commence and file an independent action, 'yun nga po general law 'yun so we still have to go to a specific law," Tenedero clarified referring to their mandate to seek an endorsement first from the EMB.

She shared the BWD already requested copies of the necessary documents and is awaiting the endorsement from the EMB and DENR.

"The damages will be within our control, but the endorsement from EMB is not really within our control," she added.

The BWD is still in the process of computing the cost of damages.

Tenedero maintained they would want to come up with an accurate data first before filing a case.

Upon completion of the requirements, criminal and civil charges will be filed against those who will be proven main perpetrators of the illegal activities in Mt. Kabuyao.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 11, 2014.

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