Arta plans meeting on Lapu’s desalinated water endorsement

Arta plans meeting on Lapu’s desalinated water endorsement

THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (Arta) has planned to convene a clarificatory meeting with the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) and other concerned agencies regarding the Lapu-Lapu City government’s pending endorsement for a desalinated water supplier.

This follows a conversation between Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan and Arta Secretary Ernesto Perez on Friday, June 21, 2024, about a five-year-old “letter of no objection” issued by the City for a water supplier applicant, which was endorsed to the MCWD in 2019.

Chan said residents of Barangay Punta Engaño are reportedly suffering a shortage of water supply for years and this can be mitigated if an additional water supplier were to become available.

The proponent, whom Ahong declined to identify yet, can reportedly supply 30 million liters of water per day.

“Ang among application tua na didto...application to sa proponent bale they are applying for as a distributor of water of MCWD, but mao na (Our application is already there...application of the proponent, they are applying to become a distributor of water from MCWD, but that’s it). The question is, why is it until now...It has been five years (since) we endorsed the supplier of water. There is no water yet,” Chan told SunStar Cebu in a phone interview on Saturday, June 22.

Chan explained that the endorsement, through a letter of no objection, is necessary for the proponent, as the water district has the pipelines for water distribution.

Perez was in Lapu-Lapu City on Friday to witness the package awarding of Project PinasBilis eBoss to the Lapu-Lapu City government.

“Kanina nga po bago tayo nag-umpisa, the mayor was sharing with me the water problem in this area... This should not be happening,” he said in his speech.

“We cannot afford to let our people suffer from lack of water which is a basic necessity and I saw immediately thereafter I have called on our people (Arta) to call immediately for a clarificatory meeting to act with urgency and ask this government agency to explain the delay in the action,” he added.

Perez said Arta would investigate and file charges if there was a violation of the Ease of Doing Business Act.

The official, however, has not yet specified the schedule or details of the clarificatory meeting. He said among the agencies to be invited to the meeting is the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Perez said that under the Ease of Doing Business Law, once the application is filed complete with all the requirements, government offices have a standard processing time to act on the application, otherwise, they may be held liable under Sec. 21 of the Ease of Doing Business Law.

Chan, during an interview on the sidelines of the package awarding ceremony held at a hotel in Mactan on Friday, said he had not yet been informed of the primary reason why MCWD purportedly has not processed the paperwork for water distribution.

“The local government unit is helping MCWD produce water but I don’t know where the processing of the papers stopped when the City has already done our part,” said Chan in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Aside from Barangay Punta Engaño, shortage of water supply is also a problem for residents in barangays Babag and Mactan, Chan said.

MCWD response

Meanwhile, MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso, through MCWD spokesperson Minerva Gerodias, welcomes the planned clarificatory meeting.

“Open kaayo si GM and welcome kaayo na niya nga move sa Arta para ma explain sad namo ang among side ngano naay mga inani (GM is very open and he welcomes the move from Arta so that we can also explain our side regarding these),” Gerodias told SunStar Cebu.

Temporary solution

Chan said in the meantime, the Lapu-Lapu City Government, with the office of Congresswoman Cindi King-Chan, is addressing water supply issues by providing water tanks to each household in Punta Engaño and remote areas such as Olango and Caubian Islands.

The water rationing happens around four times a week. / with WBS


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