Water district urged to hold hearing on 12-percent rate-A A +A
Thursday, May 1, 2014
THE Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) wants to forgo the public hearing the Cebu City Council has scheduled for the proposed 12-percent increase in water rates.
The legislative body set the hearing on May 7 during its regular session. But MCWD General Manager Armando Paredes asked the council in a letter to cancel the public hearing.
He said MCWD is planning to conduct an “information dissemination” forum about the rate increase to consumers in its entire franchise area, not just Cebu City.
“We believe that the conduct of the public hearing will not serve the purpose of information dissemination as it is specifically for the constituents of Cebu City only," said Paredes.
But the council, during its regular session last Wednesday, denied MCWD’s request.
Councilor Alvin Dizon said the activity proposed by MCWD will not allow consumers to air objections.
MCWD has almost 150,000 service connections in its franchise area, which covers the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay City, and the towns of Cordova, Compostela, Liloan and Consolacion.
Paredes said MCWD will set the forum as soon as the Local Water Utilities (LWUA) acts on its proposed rate increase.
MCWD hopes to increase its rates in July.
Water supplied by MCWD is priced at P13.60 per cubic meter for consumers who consume up to 10 cubic meters a month. If the increase is approved, they will have to pay P15 per cubic meter.
Concessionaires who consume 11 to 20 cubic meters a month pay P15 per cubic meter at present will have to pay P17.65 per cubic meter.
Consumers that use more than 31 cubic meters a month pay P48.40 per cubic meter at present.
MCWD corporate communications manager Charmaine Rodriguez said that it is up to LWUA to approve the water district’s proposal or reduce the increase.
MCWD last increased its rates in 2006 yet.
Dizon said the City Council has the right to call for a public hearing on issues that concern its constituents, such as a water rate increase.
“We should know the basis and justifications for such increase because it will be another burden to consumers,” he said.
Dizon's sentiments were echoed by Councilor Gerardo Carillo.
“It is the primordial responsibility of the local government unit to conduct consultation and public hearing on issues,” Carillo said.
The council decided to send another invitation to MCWD to appear during the May 7 public hearing. Rodriguez said LWUA had ruled that MCWD is no longer required to conduct a public hearing on the proposed increase, having conducted one in 2005.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 02, 2014.