Daluz-led MCWD board ‘to stay’

MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso (left) and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (middle) both question the Local Water Utilities Administration’s takeover of the water district’s policy-making body. But Jose Daluz III has said he will abide by LWUA’s decision. /
MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso (left) and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (middle) both question the Local Water Utilities Administration’s takeover of the water district’s policy-making body. But Jose Daluz III has said he will abide by LWUA’s decision. / SUNSTAR FILE / CEBU CITY PIO FB PAGE

THE Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) will maintain the status quo with regard to its board of directors (BOD).

In a letter addressed to Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Administrator Jose Moises Salonga dated Monday, March 18, 2024, MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso said they had asked for an opinion from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) on Salonga’s appointment last Friday of an interim board to take over the policy-making body of the MCWD for the next six months.

Pending the OGCC’s response, Donoso said they would recognize the board led by chairman Jose Daluz III to ensure a “continuous and unhampered delivery of public service.”

“In view of this, and for the time being, we therefore cannot yet acknowledge LWUA’s authority on this intervention/takeover and appointment of an interim board of directors,” Donoso’s letter to Salonga read.

Signing the letter to show their “conformity” were the presidents of the Association of MCWD Managers, Christine Caballes; MCWD Supervisors Association, Joseph Caballes; MCWD Employees Union, Samuel Suson; and Non-Regular Manpower Resources Association, Daniel Lim.

Last Friday, however, Daluz said he would abide by LWUA’s takeover order.

In a statement released on Monday, Donoso also assured all consumers and stakeholders that despite the circumstances, MCWD operations would continue as usual.

“There will be no disruptions in the delivery of water services to our community. We are fully committed to prioritizing the needs of our consumers, and our efforts to mitigate the impacts of the El Niño phenomenon will persist,” he said.

Surprised

Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he was surprised by LWUA’s latest action and insisted on his own appointees remaining in their positions.

“Their (LWUA) coming in, that’s not the way I want it. I’ll have a meeting with my MCWD on Saturday evening, and they’ll know what they ought to do. So I wish when I come back things are already (coming) and there is no such thing as supremacy,” Rama said on Monday.

The mayor refused to comment on whether LWUA’s intervention would affect his appointed board.

Rama reiterated that he has the authority to appoint the members of the MCWD board.

“My MCWD appointment should stay,” he said.

Last Oct. 31, Mayor Rama appointed Melquiades Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos to replace Daluz, Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno.

Existing board members Danilo Ortiz and Earl Bonachita supported Rama’s appointment of the three new members.

The mayor said City Hall was tired of waiting for LWUA to act on their request to issue a “certificate of no objection” to the termination of Daluz, Pato and Seno’s services last August.

Takeover

LWUA implemented the takeover of the MCWD board last March 15, for a period of six months.

In a letter addressed to Daluz and Donoso, Salonga announced the partial intervention of LWUA, which he said was authorized by Resolution 35, s. 2023 duly approved by the LWUA Board of Trustees in accordance with Presidential Decree 198, as amended.

In line with this, Salonga announced the installation of LWUA officers Maria Rosan Perez, Noel Samonte and Anabelle Gravador to the interim board of MCWD, with LWUA deputy administrator Eileen dela Vega overseeing Friday’s installation.

In a phone interview last Friday, Daluz confirmed the implementation of the takeover, saying the five board members—Daluz, Pato and Seno appointed by the late mayor Edgardo Labella, and Rama’s two appointees Ortiz and Bonachita would abide by LWUA’s decision.

“We will abide by the order of the LWUA. I think that is for the best interest of the MCWD,” Daluz said.

Daluz said the intervention also applied to Rama’s appointed board. / AML

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