DAVAO City's executive and legislative department are on a collision course over the utilization of Tamugan River. The water code of the city prohibits the exploitation of Tamugan water resource. When Inday Sara Duterte was vice mayor she refused to tinker with the code. It was not clear to me whether it was okay for her if the Davao City Water District is going to tap Tamugan or it is simply that because the code exists then that should be followed to the letter.
Because of the emerging energy crisis that is threatening not only Davao City but all of Mindanao, the need to look for other alternative resources for clean energy has become imperative. Mindanao, is almost dependent on hydro-electricity derived from Maria Cristina and Pulangi hydro-power plants. When drought hit the entire country we reeled from energy shortage and suddenly we realized that we will not only sweat it out but will economically suffer as a consequence.
As the water recedes in Lake Lanao the turbines in the Agus grids cease to deliver sufficient output. The same was obtaining in Polangi. What mitigated the Davao City power crisis was Davao Light & Power Company standby generators and Hedcor's newly launched mini-hydro plants in Sibulan, Davao del Sur.
Hedcor by the way had all the plans ready for implementation to put up a hydro-power plant in Tamugan but this was opposed by the Davao City Water District and a number of inter-locking environment foundations. DCWD contends that it has prior right over Tamugan while the pan-handling environment NGOs want us to believe that the water in Tamugan will be polluted and the river bed dried if Hedcor will be allowed to set up its plants. Both contentions are to me hogwash. DCWD indeed was given the privilege earlier but over three decades had passed but still they have yet to move a stone in Tamugan. When Hedcor found Tamugan to be very viable for a hydropower project, it decided to build one except that DCWD started raising a raucous.
I do not believe that the now Mayor Inday Sara is altogether averse to the idea of having a hydropower plant in Tamugan except that DCWD started invoking its rights and raising the issue of the water code. Having done that, both entities now suffer and we suffer. My take then was that had Hedcor been allowed to tap Tamugan river, we could be in a better shape now as far as energy requirement is concerned and still have the water we need for the growing consumers. Once, when she was vice mayor, I suggested to Inday Sara to bring the members of the city council along with the wailing DCWD technocrats to Iligan City and see whether the turbines in the hydro-plants there pollutes the river and whether a drop of water that passes through the turbines is lost. She told me the councilors and DCWD do not want to go there. So there you are.
Scared? Maybe. Afraid to discover the facts? That is quite certain.
And now comes Vice Mayor Rody. He has made it known that the council under him will evaluate the water code. I am in accord with this move as the code, like the Philippine Constitution, is admittedly no longer relevant to the time. Even for the prospect of having a more intensive reforestation along the tributaries of Tamugan and in the slopes of Mt. Apo which Hedcor planned to undertake, is reason enough to consider the project. But what makes sense here is that we can actually have both water and power if there DCWD is not bellyaching. Anyway, that move to restudy and maybe amend the city's water code is a good start. If we have the best of both worlds I firmly believe that there will be no family feud.