MCWD ‘loses’ P3.5M in revenues

MCWD
MCWDFile Photo

A TOTAL of P3.5 million would have gone to the coffers of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) if the Cebu City Government had paid the rent for using the MCWD-owned building across City Hall to house its satellite office.

The money would then have been used to procure water, according to MCWD board chairman Jose Daluz III.

Daluz said the MCWD initially proposed to lease the building for P700,000 monthly, but the City did not agree with the amount even though it has been occupying the building since July 2023.

Hence, five months’ worth of back rent.

The City’s satellite office moved in at the MCWD-owned building on July 21, based on the Facebook post of the Cebu City News and Information office.

The rent money would have gone to the general fund of the water district, in which the largest allocation is for the purchase of water from its suppliers, Daluz said in an interview on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024.

Daluz said other expenditures under their general fund proper are for pipe replacement, repair and expansion and distribution; electricity; personnel expenses; and other operating expenses such as the purchase of office supplies.

He blamed Mayor Michael Rama for the non-payment of the rent, considering that the mayor had dismissed him more than once as board chairman last year.

“Pait kaayo ni si Mike, abuso kaayo sa power (I don’t know with Mike, he is very abusive with his power),” he said.

Last August, the MCWD released a statement, saying it proposed a monthly lease rate of P700,000 to the City, but the City came up with a counterproposal of P200,000.

The amount was computed based on the standard set by the Commission on Audit Circular 88-282-A, or the Uniform Standards/Guidelines to Determine the Reasonableness of the Terms and Rental Rates of Lease Contracts for Private or Government Buildings/Spaces.

The MCWD board of directors also approved the rental rate through a resolution which was approved on May 18, 2023.

Daluz, in an interview last Jan. 7, said there were ongoing talks up to last December to come up with an agreement on lease rates, deposits and other lease terms, but to no avail.

This prompted the MCWD to consider sending a demand letter to the City to vacate the building within the month of January.

In earlier reports of SunStar Cebu, City Administrator Collin Rosell said all offices under the executive department that were housed in the legislative building, but are not policy-determining offices, would be transferred to the satellite office.

These included the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor and the City Hospitalization Assistance Management Program, among others.

Daluz earlier assured that they would follow the legal process in removing the City Hall departments that are occupying the MCWD-owned building.

“I think it’s futile because the price, deposits and other term, until now we cannot agree so it’s better to remove them,” he said, referring to the negotiations.

Rosell, in an earlier phone interview, said any demands or transactions with the City should be put into writing, considering the City would be using the public’s money to pay MCWD.

Rosell said that if there is an ongoing negotiation between the two government entities, the matter should then be settled by representatives of both parties, and not through a media interview.

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