THE Bacolod City Council urged the board of directors (BOD) of Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) to conduct public consultations as regards its water supply project and programs in relation to its joint venture with a private firm in accordance to Section 26 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
The resolution, authored by Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., was approved during the regular session of the City Council Wednesday.
Gamboa, chairperson of the City Council committee on history, cultures and arts, said that it has been almost a year now that the City Council has been requesting the Baciwa Board to be open and transparent in their plan to enter into a Joint Venture Agreement with a private partner.
“But these were met with denials, justifications and challenges for reason of confidentiality. But, now that the matter is at its “clearest level” that Prime Water is the winning water private proponent to operate, manage and run Baciwa, therefore the Board has no reason not to disclose all official documents to the public. They could no longer invoke confidentiality,” he said.
He added that Article II Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balance and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.
Gamboa also noted that Section 26 of the Local Government Code provides that it shall be the duty of every national agency or government-owned or controlled corporation authorizing or involved in the planning and implementation of any project or program that may cause pollution, climatic change, depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of cropland, rangeland or forest cover, and extinction of animal or plant species, to consult with the local government units, non-governmental organizations, and other sectors concerned and explain the goals and objectives of the project or program, its impact upon the people and community in terms of environmental or ecological balance and the measure that will be undertaken to prevent or minimize the adverse effects thereof.
“Cognizant also that the Baciwa Board has said that they spent 3-5 years of careful and extensive planning regarding the problems of Baciwa therefore the City Council is asking for the official copies of these related business plans and feasibility studies,” Gamboa said.
He said they also asked Baciwa to submit its appraisal report of all Baciwa’s properties and assets, and to inform all affected water consumers to be apprised and to study the provisions of the Term of Reference Contract as well as its consequences in terms of water rates and the quality of service. (MAP)