Bohol LGU wants neighboring town’s water facility removed

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The municipal government of Sevilla in Bohol has asked its neighboring town Balilihan to remove a P95-million water facility built on its property.

The municipal council of Sevilla passed Resolution 2023-75 asking its counterpart in Balilihan to remove all existing structure, facilities, machinery and equipment that are connected to Bugwak Spring, which is located in Barangay Magsaysay.

The Sangguniang Pambayan of Sevilla said the municipal government of Balilihan and its representatives built a water pumping station in Bugwak Spring without first securing its consent and approval.

“Repeated requests by Sevilla officials, both verbal and in writing, to remove or dismantle the facility have been ignored by the local government of Balilihan,” the resolution read.

The councilors said it is their duty to protect the interest of their municipality over Bugwak Spring against all illegal intruders, violators and usurpers.

“The officials of Balilihan remain deaf to our request and plea. They refused to recognize our rights over Bugwak Spring, to the detriment of our municipality and our people. Balilihan’s actions on matters relating to the Bugwak Spring shows total disregard for the rights and authority of Sevilla over all lands and resources located within its territorial jurisdiction,” the councilors said in the resolution.

Records at the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) show that the National Irrigation Administration provided wrong area coordinates, which resulted in claims that the spring is located in Barangay Sto. Nino in Balilihan instead of Barangay Magsaysay in Sevilla.

Sevilla officials said the NWRB approved the Balilihan water project despite the error in the location due to wrong coordinates.

The case started in May 2022 when residents of Barangay Magsaysay complained to Sevilla Mayor Juliet Dano about the then ongoing installation of water lines in their community.

The dispute has been raised to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Office of the Ombudsman and the courts, which have yet decide on the matter.

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