MCWD employees union votes to drop petition vs. Daluz, 2 board members

File photo
File photo

THE new officers of the employees’ union of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) has decided to withdraw its petition filed on Sept. 21, 2022, before the Office of the Ombudsman, seeking the removal of three board members, including its chairman Jose Daluz III.

However, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said in an interview on Thursday, June 29, 2023, that such move would not change the fact that the MCWD employees had petitioned against their chairman and two other board members.

Daluz, for his part, has welcomed the support of the employees’ union.

“I am very thankful to our employees, to the management for their unity in our MCWD institution. It is clear that our management, union, and employees as a whole, along with the Board of Directors, are united for the welfare of our consumers,” Daluz said.

With this development, Daluz said they can now focus on managing the water district, while the mayor can concentrate on serving the city.

He said the MEU’s decision will “give peace to MCWD.”

“Ang importante dinhi nga magmalinawon na ang MCWD aron maka-focus ta sa atong trabaho (The important thing is for MCWD to be peaceful so that we can focus on our work). I’m so happy nga nahitabo ning tanan (all this happened), and I hope that the mayor... he is a very understanding person. I think, he will understand nga wala nay problema (there is no more problem), mayor,” he said.

General assembly

During the general assembly attended by at least 400 members of the MCWD Employees Union (MEU) on Tuesday, June 27, a resolution was approved categorically repudiating, rendering ineffective, and abandoning the petition.

The former MEU officers had filed the petition, seeking the removal of Daluz and other members of the MCWD Board of Directors due to various issues. These issues included the alleged deteriorating corporate health of MCWD, undue interference in the appointment and personnel selection process, and the proposed increase water rates by 60 percent in July 2023, and another 10 percent in the succeeding year 2024, or a total of 70 percent.

The Ombudsman has endorsed the petition to Cebu City Hall for appropriate action, which the City used as one of the bases for its decision and recommendation to remove Daluz in May this year. This recommendation later extended to include vice chairman Miguelito Pato and secretary Jodelyn May Seno.

The new MEU members, led by its president Samuel Suson, condemned “all resultant political action” that stemmed from the Sept. 21, 2022 petition.

According to the resolution of the new MEU, the previous petition was made “without due consultation and discussion with the MEU membership” and it was “based on unfounded allegations. It also lacked “sufficient proof, and was taken as an initial step towards privatization by the previous MEU officers.”

The new MEU officers and members said they are against the privatization of MCWD.

Allegations

Based on their resolution, the new MEU officers and members clarified the following points, which were used as reasons by the previous MEU officers in filing the petition:

Regarding the increase in non-revenue water (NRW), the incumbent MEU officers and members explained that NRW was due to leaks from damaged pipelines during Typhoon Odette (Rai), pilferage and damage to pipelines caused by independent parties conducting digging activities.

On the allegation of minute management, including undue interference in the appointment and personnel selection process, the incumbent MEU said that no data was presented to support the allegation. They said the appointment and selection of personnel do not involve the board.

Regarding the issue of a planned 70 percent increase in water rates by 2024, the MEU clarified that it was presented without proper context. It explained that the proposed adjustment of water rates is necessary to address the rising capital and operational expenses incurred by the water district.

Addressing the allegation that MCWD does not meet the needs of the communities, the MEU debunked such claims, stating that it is unfair and uncalled for, particularly to the hardworking employees of MCWD who strive to provide the best and adequate service to consumers.

“The present MEU membership sees the declaration of the previous MEU officers as detrimental to the morale of the employees,” read a portion of the resolution.

Guise

The current MEU alleged that the previous MEU officers used the petition for the removal of board members as a guise, claiming that it was actually a declaration supporting the privatization of the water district.

It assures the current MCWD management and board members of its support, particularly acknowledging the board members’ independence, integrity and exceptional leadership in prioritizing the interests and progress of MCWD.

Rama’s reaction

Rama acknowledged the current effort by the MEU to withdraw the petition filed by its former officers.

However, he pointed out that there is already a record of MCWD employees accusing their chairman of the aforementioned issues.

The mayor said it will be up to the Ombudsman and Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to decide and act on the petition and the recommendation of the City.

“The fact remains that there is a petition, and that petition, what? Should we burn it? We cannot just be burning it. It’s a document,” Rama told SunStar Cebu.

Timeline

In a press conference on May 18, City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo informed reporters about Rama’s decision to remove Daluz from his position as chairman of the board in the MCWD.

The reason cited for this decision was the water district’s “unsatisfactory” preparation for the threat of El Niño. Rama chose Pato as the new chairman.

On May 22, the City Government, represented by City Administrator Collin Rosell, sent a letter to the BOD members demanding that they submit the necessary legal formalities related to the appointment of Pato as the new chairman.

However, the board decided to defer the matter during its meeting on June 2.

In a press conference on Friday, June 16, Castillo announced the recommendation to remove Daluz, Pato and Seno. All three board members were appointed by the late mayor Edgardo Labella in 2020.

On June 19, Seno revealed in an official statement that a breakfast meeting took place last Feb. 16 between the executives of PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp., a company owned by the Villar family, and Rama at the mayor’s residence in Espina Compound, Barangay Guadalupe.

Daluz said that on Feb. 17, PrimeWater presented its proposal to the board and MCWD management, which, according to him, seemed like a complete takeover.

Both Rama and PrimeWater denied the allegations made by Daluz. (with PAC / TPT)

Trending

No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.
www.sunstar.com.ph