LWUA tells MCWD general manager to do his job

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THE Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) has ordered Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) General Manager Edgar Donoso to do his job in implementing orders after the water district decided to maintain status quo despite the intervention made by LWUA.

In a press statement sent to SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, LWUA chairman Ronnie Ong said the agency has lawful jurisdiction over MCWD, as the latter's regulator and policymaker under the Presidential Decree 198 or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.

Ong issued a show cause order against Donoso for circulating a memorandum with "false information" to the MCWD employee, and for allowing "unauthorized use" of the water district facilities for political use.

On March 15, LWUA Administrator Jose Moises Salonga placed an interim board that will partially take over the MCWD Board of Directors composed of lawyer Jose Daluz III, Miguelito Pato, Jocelyn May Seno, lawyer Earl Bonachita, and lawyer Danilo Ortiz. They were ordered to cease discharging their functions as MCWD Board for six months.

All MCWD personnel are also tasked to report to the interim board and follow its directives.

But Donoso, through a letter addressed to Salonga on March 18, said that he would seek the legal opinion of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), the legal arm of the Philippine government, concerning LWUA's partial takeover.

Donoso said the MCWD personnel still recognized the current BOD members to avoid hampering the water district's vital services.

Daluz also told SunStar Cebu on Friday that he will abide by the LWUA's directive.

In the same press statement, Ong said that he received reports of an MCWD memorandum on March 15, referring to LWUA's intervention as an "intention" to intervene, rather than a valid and legal order already implemented.

Ong said that under PD 198, the LWUA By-laws, and the Manual of Corporate Governance, Donoso's job was not to represent the Regular BOD but rather to represent the management through the implementation of a valid order from LWUA as the regulating agency.

“Instead of the GM (Donoso) meddling with the affairs not that of the management, he should do his job as GM instead by implementing valid orders from LWUA which has lawful jurisdiction over MCWD," Ong said.

Section 24 of the PD 198 states that "the general manager, who shall not be a director, shall, subject to the approval of the board, have full supervision and control of the maintenance, operation, and construction of water supply and wastewater disposal and administrative facilities of the district, with full power and authority to exercise management prerogatives as set forth in the district's personnel rules and regulations." (EHP)


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