CAGAYAN de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno on Wednesday, October 4, told the management of Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) to shape up in the wake of public complaints arising from the water shortage in the western parts of the city.
“We need to level up especially that Cagayan de Oro is a growing city. You can’t support the growth of the city with an anemic water district. Dili na mahimo nga ang pagdumala nila karon sa water district pareho lang gihapon sa una, they have to shape up," he said.
Moreno said COWD seems to be mismanaged, pointing out the need for “massive rehabilitation, reorganization, and a management revamp.”
He said the water district has been "insensitive" and has neglected its obligation which, Moreno, said has led to the current water crisis.
"Then came about mismanagement, kining nahitabo sa COWD, mao kini ang common problem sa mga water districts that have failed, mao kining nahitabo sa MWSS (Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System), mao kini ang nahitabo sa uban," he said.
Moreno also took aim at the bulk water supply deal between the water utility firm and its supplier, Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc. as the main reason behind the water shortage problem.
"Kini man gud bulk water supply ang culprit diha, pero ang problema ang Cowd has failed to ensure sufficient supply of water. Why need bulk water supply nga pwede man unta maka-source sa tubig nga dili kinahanglan kana? Pero di man niya makaya, misulod ang Rio Verde. But the bulk water supply would not have been necessary, or ang water district na unta ang mukuha sa bulk water if it had grown through the years, kaya na unta," Moreno said.
Moreno said COWD needs a "white knight" to make it more "bankable" and to improve its operations.
A white knight is a person or firm that gives money to a company in order to prevent it from being bought by another company, especially one that saves a firm from being taken over by an unacceptable purchaser.
He said several areas in the city has not been served by COWD such as the villages of Indahag and Balubal.
Moreno called Rio Verde’s explanation for the water crisis as just an "alibi."
Engineer Joffrey Hapitan, RVWCI vice president, told the City Council that the August 5 and September 24 earthquakes caused damages to water pipes in Cagayan River.
"Kadtong ilang rason nga naigo sa linog was a lame excuse. To me, that was an alibi. Insulto kana sa katawhan. Wala pa maatiman, unya imo pang tagaan og rason, tuntohon pa ninyo," Moreno said.
Moreno, however, clarified that he is not playing the blame game but just wants the water district to correct their mistakes in the past.
Moreno stressed that city needs a stable, reliable water supply, if it wants to elevate its competitiveness and attractiveness to investors.
“You can never dream of becoming a very competitive city kung ang imong water supply is inadequate and poor, and worst, inefficient,” he said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 05, 2017.