MCWD: Digging permit requests pending before City Hall; Rosell: What requests?

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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 10 of the city’s upland barangays.

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

Based on MCWD records, the applications for excavation permits for the pipeline expansion projects in barangays Binaliw, Cambinocot and Guba are still pending in the City Hall.

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

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

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

However, he said upon checking the documents submitted, he noticed that the location indicated in the requirements did not correspond with 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 (They might excavate indiscriminately),” said Rosell.

He even said that no excavation permit application and supporting documents reached his table that was 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 were 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. (Nothing has arrived since that day since everything has to be submitted so that it can be attended to immediately.)

“Wala gyud sila’y na submit laktod pagkasulti. Kun naa man silay na submit, asa mana nila gi-submit ug kompleto na ba na?” he added. (They really did not submit anything. If they submitted anything, where did they submit it and is this complete already?)

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

Contractors’ word

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

Gerodias said they communicate with their contractors and based on their feedback, their applications remain unapproved.

Gerodias, however, said the water district has no idea what supporting documents its contractors submitted to the City, explaining that it is the responsibility of the 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 areas of the city with water coming from the Lusaran bulk water project.

According to a previous report of SunStar Cebu, the pipeline expansion projects could have benefitted 10 mountain barangays.

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


With the ongoing conflict between MCWD and City Hall, SunStar Cebu asked Rosell whether the City will approve the applications if MCWD will submit the applications, Rosell answered, “The City approves applications as long as the supporting documents are complete.”

He 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 Administration (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 that reviews applications for excavation permits.

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

The LWUA suspended chairman Jose Daluz III, and directors Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno for six months last March 15, replacing them with an interim board as the LWUA sought to look into issues at the water district, including the alleged failure to comply with procurement laws. The trio has not recognized the authority of the LWUA to suspend them.


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