MCWD consumers left in limbo

CEBU. Some consumers of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) went to its main office Tuesday, April 16, 2024, only to find out that the office was closed.
CEBU. Some consumers of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) went to its main office Tuesday, April 16, 2024, only to find out that the office was closed. Photo by Earl Kim Padronia

INSTEAD of paying their water bills at the main office, consumers of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) experienced hassle, dismay, and confusion, as the local water district main office was closed on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

Rock Nacario, a resident of Barangay Labangon, Cebu City, told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday that he was surprised that the streets leading to MCWD main office were barricaded. He was even more surprised to see the main door of the office closed.

Nacario said the security guards in front of the main door could not explain to him well the reason behind the closure and he was asked to transact or make payment on Bayad centers or via online.

"Mag-inquire unta ko sa akong billing sa tubig, kaso lang pag-abot nako diri kay sarado na. Wala sad ko kahibalo nga naa diay problema sa MCWD," Nacario said.

(I was about to inquire about my water bills, but when I arrived here, the office was already closed. I also did not know about the MCWD problem.)

CEBU. The main door of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) was padlocked on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.
CEBU. The main door of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) was padlocked on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.Photo by Earl Kim Padronia

Ymee Enciereto, a resident of Barangay Mambaling who went to the MCWD with her child, said she wanted to pay her water bill despite the intense heat of the sun, as she received a disconnection notice.

But her worries elevated more when she was told by the guards to visit the nearest Bayad centers or pay online.

She said she has two pending water billing statements that have to be settled with MCWD.

"Nahasol gyud kanang padulong na unta ta diri, unya abi nato nga makabayad ta unya nagdala pa baya ta og bata kay walay kabinlan. Moadto na noon tag Guadalupe; lain na sad nga sakay," Enciereto said.

(It was a hassle on my part as I expected to settle the bill today only to find out that I need to go to Guadalupe, which means another ride. I even carry my child.)

The MCWD security guards advised the consumers to make payment via online or through the Bayad/Collection centers, the list of which can be found on their billing statement.

Road closure

Also on Tuesday, the Cebu City Government implemented a road closure along Magallanes and Lapu-Lapu Streets, temporarily blocking the roads in the vicinity of the MCWD main office.

As a result, motorists and public utility vehicles (PUVs) were rerouted to MJ Cuenco Avenue and then right turn to Osmeña Blvd. to return to their intended path.

Before 12 p.m., however, the road closure on Lapu-Lapu Street was lifted, allowing the PUVs and motorists to use the road.

Protest rally

Amid the closure of the MCWD main office and the roads surrounding it, a group of concerned consumers staged a protest rally in front of the main office, demanding for the resignation of the Board of Directors composed by lawyer Jose Daluz, Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno. They also called for the resignation of general manager Edgar Donoso.

Daluz, Pato, and Seno were suspended for six months by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) on March 15. Donoso, on the other hand, was suspended for 90 days on April 12 for continuing to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents on MCWD’s transactions and failing to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision.

Evangeline Abejo, lead convenor of Supak sa Kalisod Cebu City Basic sectors, who staged the protest rally, asked Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia not to interfere with the squabble at the MCWD.

Garcia earlier expressed support to Daluz’s group.

Services unavailable

The conflict between MCWD and LWUA also rendered some services of the MCWD unavailable on Tuesday reportedly due to "security breach," which happened on April 15, at its main office.

"Due to an ongoing security breach at our main office and for the safety of all, our frontline services will not be available today. The invasion of our office has instilled confusion and fear among our employees," read a portion of the MCWD advisory.

It asked its consumers to refrain from visiting the water district's main office.

The water distributor, in a separate statement posted on Facebook page Tuesday, stated that it "vehemently condemns the brazen actions of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), interim board of directors (BOD), Cebu City Hall and lawyer John DX Lapid for their atrocious disruption of our services."

MCWD accused Lapid, who was designated by LWUA as officer-in-charge general manager of MCWD following Donoso’s suspension, of barricading and cordoning off the MCWD building, which is a stone's throw away from the Cebu City Hall.

This was also after Donoso barred the entry of Lapid and other LWUA-appointed officials from the MCWD main office early Monday morning, April 15. (EHP)


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