Rama calls MCWD directors he appointed as the ‘authentic board’

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WHILE the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) wanted the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) Board of Directors (BOD) led by chairman Jose Daluz III to step aside, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama maintained his position that his appointed BODs are the authentic board.

Rama is hoping that their assumption of office will bring order to the water district.

He said he would expect that the LWUA’s interim board that is tasked to oversee MCWD for six months should be replaced by the directors he appointed last October 31, 2023, emphasizing that they are the authentic board.

“I maintain that I wish nga akong gi-appoint na board, and I still maintain that they are still my board and they are the authentic board,” Rama said over Cebu City Hall’s online program “Ingna’ng Mayor” on Thursday, March 21, 2024.

On Monday, March 18, Rama expressed surprise at the intervention of the LWUA in the policy-making authority of the MCWD, emphasizing that his appointees should remain in their positions.

“Their (LWUA) coming in, that’s not the way I want it. I’ll have a meeting with my MCWD on Saturday evening and they’ll know what they ought to do. So I wish when I come back, things are already (coming) and there is no such thing as supremacy,” Rama said on Monday.

On Thursday, Rama said he viewed the recent actions of the ousted MCWD officials as a “desperate effort” to hold onto power.

“Gakupot lang gihapon bisan unsa kahait sa suwag sa kutsilyo,” Rama said.

“Iyang hunahuna nga mao na lang nay makuptan. Maypang mokanta sila og ‘My Way,’” he added.

Rama asserted that his authority to appoint MCWD board members is within his mandate under Presidential Decree 198, which was affirmed by a local regional trial court, leading to the reinstatement of those he dismissed and replaced.

“Ang-ang naman mag reappoint na pud ko,” Rama said.

MCWD chairman Daluz, vice chairman Miguelito Pato, and secretary Jodelyn May Seno were removed from their position last August 17, 2023.

Rama appointed retired major general Melquiades Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan, Nelson Yuvallos, Danilo Ortiz, and Earl Bunachita as new MCWD BODs last October 31, 2023.

On March 15, 2024, the LWUA took over the policy-making authority of the MCWD for a period of six months.

The intervention was authorized by LWUA Resolution 35, s. 2023, approved by the LWUA Board of Trustees, in accordance with Presidential Decree 198.

LWUA Administrator Jose Moises Salonga announced the intervention in a letter to Daluz and MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso.

Deputy Administrator Eileen L. Dela Vega has been designated to oversee the installation of LWUA officers, including Maria Rosan D. Perez, Engr. Noel A. Samonte, and Engr. Anabelle C. Gravador, who will serve as the Interim BOD of MCWD.

On March 21, LWUA chairman Ronnie Ong, together with Salonga and the Interim BODs, arrived at the MCWD building and shed light on the issues on partial intervention in a press conference.

MCWD building
Probe on MCWD issues goal of LWUA takeover

Ong said the LWUA Board of Trustees issued Resolution 35 in the purpose to “set aside” the current BODs of the MCWD.

The “partial intervention,” which is in the period of six months, is for the LWUA to investigate and check on some issues in the MCWD, according to Ong.

The investigation is for these reasons: MCWD has high non-revenue water, allegedly failed to comply with procurement laws, and questionable 70 percent water increase. (AML)


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