MCWD Board of Directors refuses to step down: Termination order ‘illegal’
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) Board of Directors (BOD), who were recently terminated by Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, said in a statement that they were refusing to step down from their posts as their termination was “illegal and invalid.”
In a statement released to the media on Thursday afternoon, October 17, 2019, Chairman Joel Marie Yu and General Manager Jose Eugenio Singson Jr. said the termination was in direct contravention of the Philippine Constitution and Presidential Decree (PD) 198 or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973.
“It is with deepest regret that the MCWD BOD, with full support from the entire MCWD as an organization, cannot imprudently accede or comply to the same,” said MCWD.
The PD 198 Section 11 Term of Office states that “Directors may be removed for cause only,” which means the directors may only be removed if absolutely necessary.
“At the onset, such order is illegal and invalid. However, despite your illegal order, MCWD shall remain steadfast in performing its mandate given all the fortuitous circumstances that hinder it from doing its job,” the MCWD said.
“It shall continue to cooperate with the local government units within its service area to find ways and solutions to serve the people,” said MCWD.
In previous statements, Yu said that a water crisis indeed exists in Cebu, but he denied that this was the Board’s fault, but was caused primarily because of the growing gap between demand and supply brought by increased in-migration, booming tourism, and expanding industries.
“Our Board, barely 2 (two) years in office, is the cause of the water crisis?…. as an aside, the first thing I did when I assumed the Chairmanship was to put the Mananga Dam and a 100 million liter/day desal[ination] plant into motion. These projects are now ready to bid… and we get fired instead?” said Yu.
Yu also said he believed that the termination was allegedly caused by opponents of former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who appointed most of the board into office.
Labella early on Thursday already said he expected the board to refuse to step down, and he was prepared to face charges against him and the Cebu City government by the terminated board members.
The mayor also said he would stand by his decision and reiterated that he dismissed the Board because of the various complaints in the recent months that had caused other local government units (LGUs) to demand better service from MCWD./dbs
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