LWUA okays termination of water district execs

THE removal of the five members of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) board of directors has been completed after the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) approved the termination notice issued by Mayor Edgardo Labella on Oct. 15, 2019.

The LWUA, under the leadership of acting Administrator Jeci Lapus, conducted a review of Labella’s notice of termination, which the mayor issued as he lost trust and confidence in the board members following complaints from MCWD’s consumers over their services.

Given termination notices were MCWD chairman Joel Mari Yu, former Cebu City councilors Procopio “Coping” Fernandez and Augustus “Jun” Pe Jr., former city attorney Ralph Sevilla and lawyer Cecile Adlawan, who serves as board secretary.

Yu and MCWD general manager Jose Eugenio Singson Jr. resigned from their posts a few days later. Singson was not included in Labella’s termination notice.

Poor service

MCWD’s alleged poor service has prompted local government units in Metro Cebu and the Cebu Provincial Government to issue resolutions expressing their dissatisfaction with MCWD’s current service.

The LWUA finalized its decision last Dec. 5, or 50 days after Labella’s issuance of the termination notice. It conducted a thorough review and it gave the board directors a chance to respond.

However, the directors did not respond to the LWUA’s letter sent to them last Nov. 15.

“To make sure that the consumers are properly and fully

represented in the MCWD board, our office is mandated to initiate the necessary changes which include terminating the members of the MCWD board and proceed to the process of solicitation, nomination and appointment of the new set of members of MCWD board,” read a portion of Lapus’s ruling.

The LWUA official further states: “Therefore, foregoing premises considered, this office leaves no other recourse but to cause their termination to save the MCWD from further public disgrace and to regain public trust to MCWD.”

The LWUA’s decision only affect Adlawan, Pe, Fernandez and Sevilla as Yu already resigned from his post.

Superbalita texted and called Pe, who was appointed as board of directors acting chairman after Yu’s resignation. He did not respond to phone calls. Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara, MCWD spokesperson, could not be contacted as of press time.

According to Lapus’s order, the interim MCWD board appointed by the LWUA can now begin receiving nominations for the next members of the MCWD board of directors. This process is in accordance with the provisions under Presidential Decree 198, or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.

The MCWD board should have representatives from the education, professional, business, women and civic sectors.

Lapus said they scrutinized Labella’s termination order, after noticing that it did not follow the proper process.

The terminated board members, he said, were deprived of administrative due process. They were not given the opportunity to explain their side. The LWUA, however, has no other recourse but to approve Labella’s order after the directors did not cooperate with the agency. (PAC / KAL)


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