Rama keeps agri chief; MCWD sends siphon trucks to mountain barangays

CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. Photo from Cebu City PIO

DESPITE Cebu City Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr.’s call for the resignation of City Agriculture Department (CAD) head Joelito Baclayon due to alleged ineffectiveness, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama reiterated his decision to retain Baclayon, citing his management prerogative.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), under lawyer Jose Daluz III, deployed mobile siphon trucks (MST) to mountain barangays.

“It is only a call, but the mayor wants him to stay. They can have their call, but I have my management prerogative,” Rama said in a press conference on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Asked if he is satisfied with Baclayon’s performance, Rama said he knew his department heads more than anyone else.

In his privilege speech on April 3, Alcover accused Baclayon of lacking plans to address the plight of farmers in the city affected by the El Niño phenomenon. He noted that requests for farming equipment made by farmers last year allegedly remained unfulfilled.

When asked about the distribution of water hoses and barrels to farmers, Rama said they had been distributing these ever since.

However, in a prior interview with Casimero Pilones, head of the Alliance of Cebu City Farmers Association, Pilones said they have not received any assistance from the City Government this year.

He said the farmers are in a dire situation, noting the lack of water for their crops.

Pilones also suggested that the city could just provide them with drills so they could look for new sources of water, particularly in springs.

However, Rama assured that part of their long-term plan is to search for new water sources, emphasizing hoses and barrels would not be much of a problem.

Rama added that a private institution has committed to providing 11 water tankers, which the city can use to store water once they find new sources.

MST deployment

Meanwhile, in a statement released on Monday, April 8, MCWD said that in collaboration with the City government, it had deployed two mobile siphon tanks (MSTs) in barangays Cambinocot and Bonbon to mitigate the impact of the El Niño phenomenon in the mountain barangays of Cebu City.

The truck-mounted MST in Cambinocot, valued at approximately P15 million, can produce up to seven cubic meters of potable water per hour or 168 cubic meters of water per day. Similarly, the stationary MST in Bonbon, valued at P7.5 million, can produce up to 20 cubic meters of potable water per hour or 480 cubic meters of water per day.

Both MSTs were donated to MCWD by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 2016.

The water from these units can be shared with residents of Pulangbato, Binaliw, Sirao, Buot, Pamutan, Sapangdaku and Babag, providing potable water to these areas. All other barangays are also permitted to collect water from these MSTs.

The Cebu City government will cover the fuel expenses for operating the machines and the expenses of the personnel from barangays, and the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office will ensure the security of the MSTs.

MCWD has deployed personnel to operate the machines and will cover expenses for purifying agents in these areas.

These mountain barangays are currently not served by MCWD, as distribution lines are yet to be installed. / AML


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