Cortes backs expanding MCWD representation

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes. File photo

MANDAUE City Mayor Jonas Cortes has expressed support for a proposal to extend board representation of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to the highly urbanized cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu and the Cebu Provincial Government.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, for his part, has yet to issue a statement on this move proposed by Jose Daluz III, chairmand of MCWD board of directors.

In an interview Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, Mayor Cortes said Mandaue City must have a voice at the MCWD board to address consumer concerns, especially since the city is one of MCWD’s largest consumers.

“Dako na natong kalipay og madayon. Hopefully, ma-discuss na nila thoroughly ngadto sa board of directors nga mabalik ang tingog ngadto sa representative sa dakbayan sa Mandaue sa board sa MCWD,” he said.

(We will be very happy if it will push through. Hopefully, they will discuss it thoroughly with the board of directors to restore the voice of the representative of the city of Mandaue in the MCWD board.)

As of December 2023, MCWD had 205,882 service connections. Of the number of connections, the majority or 104,996 are in Cebu City, 33,474 in Mandaue City, and 17,639 connections in Lapu-Lapu City.

The combined service connections in the towns of Cordova, Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion and Talisay City totaled 49,773.

Cortes said around 20 years ago, former city councilor Alfonso Albaño Jr. represented Mandaue City on the MCWD board of directors.

However, Section 8, Chapter 3 of the Local Water District Law of Presidential Decree 198 does not specify that BOD members should come from each local government unit under the water utility’s franchise area.

It only states that the board of directors of a district should be composed of “five citizens of the Philippines who are of voting age and residents within the district. One member shall be a representative of civic-oriented service clubs, one member a representative of business, commercial, or financial organizations, one member a representative of educational or religious institutions and one member a representative of women’s organizations. No director may be an elected official of the government.”

Last Wednesday, Jan. 24, Daluz voiced his board’s desire to give the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, including the Cebu Provincial Government, representation on the MCWD board of directors.

The suggestion was made amid the ongoing dispute between the water district and the Cebu City Government regarding the appointment and removal of the MCWD board members.

Daluz said the assigned representatives of the city on the MCWD board would ensure that their respective cities’ consumers are well-represented.

Daluz said he aims to ensure fairness for the cities and towns outside Cebu City, which are also covered by the service of MCWD.

He emphasized that about 49 percent of the water district’s service connections are outside Cebu City.

Rama, on the other hand, has chosen not to comment on Daluz’s proposal.

Instead, he tasked Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell and Budget Officer Jerone Castillo, along with Melquiades Feli­ciano, chairman of his appointed MCWD board, to discuss the matter.

Additionally, he revealed that his son Mikel Francisco Rama’s law firm is focusing on the MCWD issues.

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