Excavation permits pending in the City

THE executive department of Cebu City Hall has denied allegations that it has not given the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) excavation permits that could have addressed the lack of water in the city’s upland barangays.

However, based on the records of MCWD through their contractors, three applications for excavation permits of pipeline expansion projects remain unapproved by the City since 2023.

Based on MCWD records, the pipeline expansion projects in Barangay Binaliw, Cambinocot, and Guba are still pending in the City Hall.

The application for an excavation permit for the one in Binaliw was submitted on July 3, 2023, the one in Cambinocot was submitted on May 11, and in Guba was on Nov. 11.

The same projects were discussed during one of the executive sessions conducted by the Cebu City Council last April 2, 2024, wherein Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival brought up such concern as the water district had given him a copy of a letter making a follow up to the City about their applications for excavation permit.

Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell, in an interview on Friday, April 19, said he was also present at the same session, wherein he asked the MCWD representative to give him a copy of the documents they submitted to the City so the City can approve it right then and there.

However, he said upon checking the documents submitted, the location indicated in the requirements does not correspond to the one indicated on the application.

“For example, the submitted application indicated was in Guba, but upon checking the requirements, the one stated there was Apas. These are the things that we really look into, we really have to check the supporting documents… because we’re talking about excavation here, it’s dangerous. Magpataka ra unya na sila og bangag,” said Rosell.

He even said that no excavation permit application and supporting documents reached his table that’s up for approval.

Rosell said they required the water district to submit their application on April 2, the same day the executive session was conducted; however, no documents had been submitted on that day.

“Wala man gihapoy naabot sukad niadtong adlawa nga ipasubmit man tanan aron tan-awon aron ipatagad diha-diha dayon,” Rosell said.

“Wala jud sila’y na submit laktod pagkasulti. Kun naa man silay na submit, asa mana nila gi-submit ug kompleto na ba na,” he added.

Rosell said should MCWD submit the documents in one of these days, he will mark the documents “late” as they were required to submit the application on the same day of the session.

The City administrator also challenged the MCWD to submit their applications to the City Hall so he can check if the requirements are complete so he can sign them right away.

MCWD information officer Minerva Gerodias, in an interview on Friday, said it’s their contractors who send an application to the City Hall for the excavation permit.

Gerodias said they are in constant communication with their contractors and based on their feedback, their applications remain unapproved.

Gerodias, however, said the water district has no idea what specific supporting documents their contractors had submitted to the City, explaining that it is the responsibility of their contractors to work on the permits based on their agreement.

The pipeline expansion project could have helped provide water to the barangays in the upland area of the city with water coming from the Lusaran bulk water project.

In a previous report of SunStar Cebu, the pipeline expansion project could have benefitted 10 mountain barangays.

With the absence of pipes that could have provided water to some upland barangays, the water from the Lusaran is currently supplying waters to Barangays Busay, Lahug, Pit-os, and Kamputhaw.

With the ongoing conflict between MCWD and City Hall, SunStar Cebu asked Rosell if MCWD will submit their applications, will the City approve it, to which he answered yes.

"The City approves applications as long as the supporting documents are complete," said Rosell.

He also added that there is no ongoing conflict between the City and MCWD, only with some of the sitting directors who refused to follow orders from the Local Water Utilities Agency (LWUA).

"There is no conflict between the City and MCWD. There are some people there, some directors, who were suspended by LWUA, but refused to step down. The point is I do not see any conflict," said Rosell in Cebuano.

Rosell said it’s the technical infrastructure committee who reviews applications for excavation permits.

He said some of the requirements in applying excavation permit include location, duration of the excavation, safety measures to be implemented, and excavation plan. / JJL, AML


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