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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeFront PageOpinion SectionLWUA. BAD CREDIBILITY?


I was reading through some of the media stories about this troubling saga between the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD), Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Incorporated (COBI), Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc. (RV), Cagayan de Oro government officials, and the very recent entrance of President Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr.

In the saga comes along President Marcos’ decisive directives to finally resolve this water predicament that both endangers water supply for the Cagayanons, and compromises Cagayan de Oro’s image as an investment destination. He has tasked the Local Water Utilities Authority (LWUA) to sort things out.

Cagayan de Oro Councilor Edgar Cabanlas said that local officials were looking into the President’s directive, and expressed apprehension because they think that LWUA as a government entity has a “bad credibility.”

I see Cabanlas’ statement as an “irresponsible challenge,” even disrespectful to the President’s wisdom and intent to protect the welfare of CDO’s water consumers. It is tantamount to questioning the President’s directives. Talk about “bad credibility.”

Who hasn’t been participating and cooperating well in the negotiations before, including that critical April 30, 2024 meeting? As reported, COWD’s representation in the said meeting was incomplete. At stake in there was the people’s water supply. And Cagayanons rely on these executives for their water supply security?

Who has been repeatedly flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) for several operational and management irregularities including its consistently high Non-Revenue Water (NRW)? COWD was consistent with over 50% NRW performance, way above the acceptable 20% NRW Standard.

Years ago, who came in to avert a water crisis because of COWD’s and RV’s contract problem? COA flagged their transactions as having been conducted without legal basis, and their 2007 contract was voided by a court. This led to a 2017 deal with the water district and COBI, with an investment over P1.4 Billion, averting a potential water crisis in Cagayan de Oro.

And when COBI asserts its contractual rights, COWD failed to constructively and actively participate in the negotiation meetings. Therein, a resolution could have been reached and could have resulted to the President not having to intervene and issue the directives.

I’m also appalled by some grandstanding in the city’s council—filing several resolutions, including declaration of persona non grata against COBI and its officials. Is this the image and reputation Cagayanons want their city to be regarded by investors?

With all due respect Councillor Cabanlas, with the President’s directives, can do better service to the people of CDO if he and the rest of the CDO Council can fully support PBBM’s orders. The local government had enough time to sort things out. Sadly, it failed. The President’s intervention is what Cagayanons deserve.

It’s not good for your credibility to undermine President Marcos Jr.’s decisive solution.


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