Daluz: 3 board members won’t step down from MCWD despite termination notice

File Photo
File Photo

METROPOLITAN Cebu Water District (MCWD) chairman Jose Daluz III has shrugged off the announcement made Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023, that Cebu City Hall had removed him and two other members from the board of directors (BOD) of the government-owned and -controlled corporation.

As long as there is no notice coming from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), he, along with board members Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno, will continue to hold their respective positions, Daluz told SunStar Cebu on Friday, Aug. 18.

Pato is the vice chairman of the board, while Seno serves as the secretary.

Daluz made the comments on the same day that a group of unidentified individuals organized a rally outside the MCWD building to demand his resignation.

In a video sent to SunStar Cebu, the group of rallyists could be heard shouting, “Daluz, out na!”

Minerva Gerodias, MCWD spokesperson, told SunStar Cebu Friday that those individuals were not employees of MCWD or members of the MCWD Employees’ Union.

According to an MCWD security guard who spoke to SunStar Cebu, the rally occurred between 10 and 11 a.m. The guard estimated the participants to number around 15 to 20.

The guard, who declined to be named, said the rally began on Magallanes St. and ended on Lapu-Lapu St. after approximately 40 minutes, and that the rallyists also protested about MCWD’s proposed water rate hike.

In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu, MCWD said it could not ascertain whether the participants were MCWD consumers. However, the water district acknowledged and respected their exercise of freedom of expression as they held their rally.

The statement highlighted that the gathering did not affect the water district’s operations.

Termination

Regarding their termination from the board, Daluz, in a text message to SunStar Cebu, said the board members will go through the process.

In a press conference on Thursday, City Hall announced that it had terminated the services of Daluz, Pato and Seno.

The Cebu City Legal Office furnished them a copy of the notice of their removal and termination dated Aug. 1, which was received by the MCWD management, BOD and LWUA.

However, Daluz said if the process is followed, the LWUA will still have to ask them to answer, following the recommendations of City Hall.

“It’s just a notice. The LWUA will still act on it,” said Daluz.

“Until now, status quo... we continue to hold our positions,” he added.

In the notice of removal and termination of the three MCWD board members, Cebu City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo said the notice was “in consonance with the legal doctrine that the power to appoint carries with it the power to remove or to discipline.”

Castillo said the termination was effective immediately, yet he also said at the press conference Thursday that the City had requested that the LWUA issue a Certificate of No Objection concerning the termination.

Water rate adjustment

Regarding MCWD’s proposed 60 percent water rate hike, which was to have taken effect last July 1 had it been approved by LWUA, MCWD said it had conducted public hearings to provide an appropriate avenue for individuals to voice their viewpoints.

In its statement, the water district claimed that during these hearings there were no objections to the rate adjustment as long as a steady water supply was assured.

In view of the recent events, the water district assured its consumers that it remained committed to providing a reliable water supply and securing an additional water volume. (AML, JJL)

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