Rama: Install my ‘authentic’ MCWD board

Rama: Install my ‘authentic’ MCWD board
SunStar Local News GPX

WHILE the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) wants the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) board of directors (BOD) led by chairman Jose Daluz III to step aside, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has maintained his position that his appointed directors are the authentic board and that their assumption of office will bring order to the water district.

Rama expressed hope that the LWUA’s interim board, which has been tasked to oversee the MCWD for six months, will be replaced by the directors he appointed last Oct. 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.

Last 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,” Rama said during an interview on Monday.

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

Citing LWUA Resolution 35, s. 2023, approved by the LWUA board of trustees, in accordance with Presidential Decree (PD) 198, LWUA Administrator Jose Moises Salonga announced the installation of LWUA officers Maria Rosan D. Perez, Noel A. Samonte and Anabelle C. Gravador as MCWD’s interim BOD, in a letter to Daluz and MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso.

However, Daluz and Donoso have insisted on maintaining the status quo, while they await the opinion of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) on LWUA’s takeover, angering the LWUA.


On Thursday, Rama described the actions of the MCWD officials as a “desperate effort” to hold on to power.

“Gakupot lang gihapon bisan unsa kahait sa suwab sa kutsilyo,’ Rama said. (They’re still holding on no matter how sharp the knife’s edge.)

“Iyang hunahuna nga mao na lang nay makuptan. Maypang mokanta sila og ‘My Way,’” he added. (They think that’s the only thing left that they can hold on to. It would be better if they just sang “My Way.”)

Rama asserted that his authority to appoint MCWD board members is within his mandate under PD 198, which was affirmed by a local regional trial court.

Rama fired chairman Daluz, vice chairman Miguelito Pato and secretary Jodelyn May Seno from the MCWD board on Aug. 17, 2023.

On Oct. 31, 2023, Rama appointed retired major general Melquiades Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos to replace them, while he retained Danilo Ortiz and Earl Bonachita as board members.

Shed light

In a press conference at the MCWD building last March 21, LWUA chairman Ronnie Ong and Salonga shed light on LWUA’s partial intervention.

Ong said the Daluz-led board is just being “set aside,” meaning suspended for six months, while the LWUA investigates issues in the MCWD, particularly the water district’s high non-revenue water, alleged failure to comply with procurement laws, and seeking of a questionable 70 percent water rate hike.

LWUA’s Ong and Salonga also agreed to wait for OGCC’s opinion on LWUA’s takeover, during which time they said MCWD would provide them with the documents they needed for their investigation. / AML


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