Councilors question proposed P632-M water projects

THE Cagayan de Oro City Water District (Cowd) needs P5 million worth of funds for its rehabilitation to cope up with the city's growing demand for adequate water supply.

City Councilor Edgar Cabanlas bared this during the City Council session, after some councilors raised their eyebrows on a proposal requesting Mayor Oscar Moreno to support Cowd's water projects worth P632 million.

The proposal, sponsored by Cabanlas, chairperson of the committee on urban and rural poor housing development, asked the mayor's support to back its projects "under such terms and conditions that may be agreed upon by the Cowd and the City Government" to serve the water needs of barangays Indahag and Balubal.

It stated that the Cowd needs P104 million for the Proposed Water Supply System in Barangay Indahag and another P159 million in Balubal. The Cowd also needs P172 million for the Proposed Septage Management Program and P195 for the replacement of pimples in Phase I water supply improvement project.

Cabanlas said the support could be in the form of financial assistance from the city or a loan from financial institutions.

"We must not stop looking for solutions. We understand Cowd is having a difficulty getting a loan from Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). And if Cowd will borrow from banks, it will take so many years, before they can do that because they are government owned corporation," he said.

However, Councilor Edna Dahino quickly questioned the proposal, pointing out that the city already allocates P6 million worth of funds annually to the Cowd.

Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr. and Eric Salcedo, meanwhile, expressed worry that the Cowd might not be able to deliver its part of the agreement.

"Maybe because of the support of the City Council, the mayor would ask for a loan to support the Cowd, then who will pay? It is the same, the taxpayers. Simabako dili makaya sa Cowd pagbayad. Tun-an pa dapat nato ug maayo kung mahimo ba ug collateral ang City Government, then how the payment would be made. Dili ta magdali-dali ug hatag ug decision," Lao said.

But Cabanlas said the proposal's approval meant that the city will start looking for solutions, not appropriate funds.

Cabanlas reminded his fellow councilors that supporting the rehabilitation of Cowd is their campaign promise.

"We are not appropriating here. We are requesting the city mayor to start the process of assisting Cowd in providing adequate water supply. Our water system was not able to be at par with the growth of the city. The supply cannot compete with demand," he said.

"We are only requesting the mayor to fast-track the process, the discussion, look for ways nga madali kini because we cannot wait, we have to start now," Cabanlas added.

The proposal, however, was deferred for further discussions at the committee level.

During the campaign period, Moreno repeatedly pointed out that Cowd needs a massive rehabilitation and vowed to prioritize it in his last term as mayor of the city.


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