Sanchez: Competence in the wrong place

I WAS confined at the Intensive Care Unit in 2009. My attending physician was perplexed. The reading of my systolic pressure hovered between 180 200 while the diastolic pressure second mm Hg remained constant.

My attending physician realized this is a case of high blood or even a heart attack. She consulted a neurosurgeon and confirmed her suspicion: subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening type of stroke caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. One-third of patients will survive with good recovery; one-third will survive with a disability; and one-third will die.

On hindsight, I salute Dr. Gloria Maris C. Escalante. She knows her limitation and asked for medical assistance from Dr. Mario Y. Marchadesch. To both of them, I owe my extended life and health. This year will be the 10th anniversary of that life. They are competent professional medical professionals.

Which perplexed me on other disciplines. Do highly-paid people know their professional limitations and competence?

Lately, Metro-Manila is gripped with water shortages. Are the movers and shakers of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) competent on handling water distribution of the Manila water.

MWSS Board of Trustees has six lawyers, two retired military men and one chemical engineer. The agency lacks a civil engineer, who would be knowledgeable about infrastructure. For that matter, most of the board members are lawyers.

As Senator Grace Poe put it, “Ang MWSS [board] dapat mayroon silang inhinyero, civil engineer. Puro abogado sila doon eh. Hindi talaga nila nakita ang problemang ito dahil hindi nila maintindihan.”

Look at the composition. Does the name of Franklin Demonteverde ring a bell?

He should be. Demonteverde is a retired Bacolod judge, with a degree in Business Administration-Management from the University of the East and then obtained a law degree from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos. He worked in the insurance industry and as a lawyer for various companies, including the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6234 (the MWSS Charter) states that MWSS board members “shall possess any one or a combination of the following qualifications: (a) duly licensed professional of recognized competence in civil engineering and/or sanitary engineering; (b) business management and finance, and law, or (c) recognized labor leader within the ranks with sufficient training, particularly in the field of labor-management relations or corporate practice.”

Would you trust your waterworks system on these people with no civil engineering background?

I’m writing this piece so Bacolod City Water District concessionaires have an idea of the duties of its board members and management. Perhaps the MWSS mess can enlighten us why Bacolod City is grappling with water shortages.


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