CEBU Gov. Hilario Davide III signed an executive order during a water summit yesterday, formally organizing the Provincial Water Resource Authority.
“It’s a milestone. Gipirmahan ni gov ang executive order to convene the Provincial Water Resources Authority, so naa na tay institution nga motan-aw sa kinatibuk-an (We now have an institution to oversee everything),” said Architect Socorro Atega.
This means that only one institution will look into the safety and condition of the province’s water, unlike before where numerous agencies, like the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Department of Environment, are involved, said Atega, executive director Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water (CUSW) Foundation.
“The executive order will formulate programs and policies on how we get and conserve water, provide adequate potable water supply and save water,” said Davide.
“Anybody who will help in the wise use and management of Cebu’s water resources is welcome to MCWD,” said Charmaine Kara, MCWD public affairs manager.
The Provincial Water Resource Authority was created by an ordinance authored by then Provincial Board (PB) member Victor Maambong in 2006.
But its composition was convened only yesterday.
“The ordinance declares as a policy of the Provincial Government the equitable conservation and the wise and effective utilization of Cebu’s water resources, potable or otherwise, for the benefit and service of its constituents,” read the ordinance.
It declared that all constituents must have affordable, safe, consistent and efficient potable water through a systematic and comprehensive bulk water distribution system.
“It is timely that we have this drought, (highlighting) the need to really look at an integrated approach to managing our water resources,” said Atega.
The water resource authority is chaired by the governor, with Engr. Edgar Sibonga as executive director, and Engr. Sayade Alcoseba as secretary.
Its members are three PB members who chair the committee on environment, committee on planning and development, and committee on trade and industry and public works.
Other committee members are the president of the League of Municipalities, Association of Barangay Councils, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) head, CUSW head, the head of Central Visayas Federation of Water Services and Sanitation.
But the authority only recommends and has no power to regulate, Davide said. He said there are national laws that provide the prohibitions.
The body will also assist the Philippine Water Resource Authority by endorsing water extraction permits to the national body.
Among the authority’s concerns, Atega said, are province’s drinking water and sanitation, water pollution and watershed land management.