Cebu City Council grills MCWD proposed subsidy program

By: Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | August 12,2021 - 12:02 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The water subsidy program for households consuming less than 30 cubic meters of water is in limbo.

The Cebu City Council is apprehensive of granting a P200 million yearly financial assistance to the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) in exchange for free water for households consuming 10 cubic meters or less and discounted water charge for households consuming 30 cubic meters or less.

READ: MCWD consumers in Cebu City with usage of 10 cubic meters or less get water for free

The MCWD board members faced the City Council during their regular session to discuss the proposal for financial assistance to the utility in exchange for the water subsidy.

“We were thinking that with a little bit of financial assistance to MCWD, we will use the subsidy to exempt those consumers which are consuming 10 cubic meters and below,” said Jose Daluz, III, the chairman of the MCWD board.

However, many councilors were not convinced of this “exchange,” especially Councilor Nestor Archival, who said the city needs to be careful on its expenditures claiming that the city’s “financial health” is not in good shape.

“I can say that the city government’s financial health is not good. If you are going to get P200 million, we should focus on those who do not have water at all. Dili kay ilibre tong naa nay tubig daan,” said Archival.

Daluz explained that the P200 million will be used to develop new water sources in Barangay Tagbao that can provide 5 to 500 millions of liter per day (MLD) and Barangay Budlaan that can provide 15 MLD.

The water subsidy is only an incentive for the city for granting financial assistance. Essentially, the money will be used to provide water to households that have yet to be serviced by MCWD because the utility does not have the resource to supply them.

Councilor Joy Augustus Young is not convinced of the exchange as he said that the city cannot blindly give money to MCWD without the assurance that these projects will push through.

“Di mahimo nga money down. Di pwede nga mohatag ta dayon because MCWD has a poor record on delivering promises. Unsa ta ka segurado nga madayon na nga projects?” said Young.

Councilor Alvin Dizon agrees with Young, saying that the MCWD must provide a project scope for the two developments they plan and present these to the council.

He said that the MCWD must present the current status of the project, feasibility studies, and other plans before the council can approve the P200 million financial assistance.

The Alliance of Government Workers in the Water Sector (AGWWAS) said they support the MCWD’s direction towards developing more water sources and helping low-income families through the subsidy.

However, Victor Chiong, AGWWAS president emeritus, said that they need clarification on how MCWD came up with the P200 million amount.

The City Council will be deliberating on whether to grant financial assistance to MCWD or not.

Despite concerns, Daluz hopes the city government will see the necessity of developing these water sources to solve the long term problem of water supply.

/bmjo

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TAGS: Cebu City Council, Metropolitan Cebu Water District, water subsidy program

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