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

Rama: Let LGUs set up own water district

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama is pushing for a separate water district for each local government unit (LGU) currently being serviced by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD).

He said that under this setup, consumers will be better served if their respective localities attend to their needs.

Rama, in a report posted on the Cebu City Public Information Office (PIO)’s website on Sunday, May 5, 2024, renewed his call for LGUs under the MCWD franchise to buy out the piping system the water district installed within their jurisdictions and form their own water districts.

MCWD serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay, and the towns of Cordova, Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela.

But MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, said it is best if LGUs financially assist the MCWD in creating impounding facilities.

Instead of creating water districts in each city or town, he said LGUs should enter into contracts with the MCWD, providing capital so it can fund big water infrastructure projects.

He also said LGUs could also invest in replacing pipes through joint venture agreements.

Daluz does not agree with Rama’s proposal, saying there might be too much politics in LGUs.

“I think there is too much politics in LGU such that water service run by it will be compromised or even inefficient,” said Daluz.

Rama’s call came after some mayors of towns and cities serviced by the MCWD met with the camp of Daluz, whom the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) suspended for six months last March 15.

Last April 15, then LWUA-appointed officer-in-charge general manager John Dx Lapid and members of the interim board that LWUA appointed were barred from entering the MCWD main office in downtown Cebu City after Daluz’s camp passed a resolution, barring their entry.

The move prompted LWUA officials to ask for assistance from the Cebu City Government, which prompted City Administrator Collin Rosell, City Budget Officer Jerone Castillo and City Legal Officer Vincent Gimena to go to the MCWD main office.

That same day, Daluz and board members Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn May Seno, along with several mayors met with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the Capitol.

In a press conference, Garcia said the LWUA’s intervention was untimely, creating confusion among employees and consumers as the province faces the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

Rama said that this is why each LGU should have its own water district.

“... para way lalis (so no more arguments),” he said.

Rama said he already discussed his proposal with the LWUA, adding that the latter welcomed his suggestion.

He said the LWUA can probably help LGUs develop and build their own water districts.

Under the current setup, only Cebu City has the authority to appoint members of the MCWD’s board given that its residents make up almost 70 percent of the water district’s customers.

The LWUA partially took over the MCWD last March 15 after it suspended Daluz, Pato and Seno for six months.

On April 12, the LWUA also suspended MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso for 90 days for defying its request to turn over documents on the MCWD’s transactions.

Both Donoso and the Daluz-led MCWD board do not recognize the LWUA’s authority to suspend them. / JJL

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