River Basin’s 3rd proposal falters anew

THE Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) failed to get the city council’s vote in its third attempt to pass the Ecological Services Protection, a financial tool proposed by the river council for environmental preservation, conservation, and protection.

The river basin management council presented its new proposal during the weekly session on Monday, August 19, to get the council’s nod for the proposed city ordinance that aims to set up an Ecological Services and Protection Fund to protect watersheds in the city.

Dr. Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit, CDORBMC executive director, said the new proposal omits the ecological service and protection fee of P5-peso per household, which will reflect in the monthly water bill of consumers. This certain provision was the reason the previous council deferred the proposal as it entails additional expenses for water consumers.

Quiaoit said instead of charging households, the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD) will now shoulder the ecological fee, estimated to reach P6 million per year.

However, some provisions did not sit well with some city councilors.

Councilors Edna Dahino and Edgar Cabanlas proposed more changes to the ordinance, particularly asking more funds from big industries.

“These big businesses in the city are consuming more water than the residents. Why are we not requiring them to pay more? It’s more practical,” Cabanlas said.

In his video message to the city council on Monday, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said this ordinance should be a concern of everyone.

Ledesma said the human well-being is dependent on goods and services from the environment but we do nothing to take care of it.

“We advocate that we (the beneficiaries of these ecological services) reward the environment if we are to sustain for the youth and the next generations. Many say, God will provide through the bounty of nature. But, if we let nature re-generate itself, it will take thousands of years to recover. They also say this is the role of the government, yes, but if we do, it will take many generations to achieve results,” he said.

“But, why don’t we as one community of Kagayanons together help nature by giving back our time, talent and treasure to restore it,” Ledesma added.

Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya, sponsor of the proposed ordinance, said he is hopeful for its passage in the next city council session.


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