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Water crisis: Rama says this could have been prevented if…

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 07,2024 - 11:26 AM

Water crisis: Rama tells MCWD this could have been prevented if....Water crisis escalates in Cebu City: Bureaucratic delays hamper desalination projects

CDN File Photo (2024)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama believes that the water crisis could have been prevented.

The fiasco over the management of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) had “definitely” affected the services of the water district, said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

“Definitely [the services are affected.] More cooks spoil the broth. One leader being listened to differs,” Rama said in an interview with the media on Monday, May 6.


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Rama also confirmed that if there were no differences over the management of the water district, the water crisis could have been prevented.

“Looking back, obviously, yes,” the mayor said. Rama also believed that the water district was no longer serving the public anymore, hence, he would want the MCWD board of directors “out.”

In a separate interview with MCWD Chair, Joey Daluz III, over phone, he said that the “real issue was his (Rama) undue and unwarranted interference in the MCWD.”

“He has made known his preference to privatize the district which is the main reason for his actions. The water crisis is brought about by first and foremost the El niño event but he has exacerbated it by denying the permits for our Lusaran and desalination projects which would [have] improved the conditions of our supply,” Daluz said.

As of May 6, 2024, according to the information officer of MCWD, the deficit of MWCD’s water production was 60,356 cubic meters while the total production was 240,644 cubic meters from the 301,000 cubic meters per day without the El Niño phenomenon.

Consistent with the call

Meanwhile, the new officer-in-charge general manager (OIC GM) in the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) appointed by the interim board of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) has supported Rama’s statement, calling it “consistent” with their call.

Lawyer Joselito Thomas Baena, appointed MCWD OIC-GM, said that Rama’s statement was “consistent” with their “call to uphold the rule of law and respect the directives of the duly constituted authorities” referring to LWUA and the city mayor.

“The continued defiance of the removed directors and the suspended general manager are counter-productive. Instead of helping everyone move forward and look for solutions to the current problem, their attitude of non-cooperation and defiance is proving to be a great roadblock to the detriment of the consumers,” said Baena over phone interview.

It can be recalled that the ongoing leadership dispute arose when Rama removed three board of directors from their posts and appointed three new members.

In October 2023, Rama replaced Daluz with his appointee, Melquiades Felicano, following accusations that Daluz and two board members, Miguelito Pato and Jodelyn Seno, violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act related to three bulk water supply projects in Mactan Island and mainland Cebu.

However, the previous LWUA administrator, Vicente Homer Revil, reportedly delayed the execution of LWUA’s Resolution No. 35, claiming that “local executives had no authority to remove the chairperson and members of the Board of Directors of a Water District.”

As a result, Daluz, Pato, and Seno remained in office. | with reports from Pia Piquero

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TAGS: Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), water crisis

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