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Lito Osmeña sets terms: City can get free water provided officials agree

Ma. Fatima R. Secuya (The Freeman) - April 9, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - With Cebu City under a state of water emergency, former governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeña is willing to share the water produced in his private properties on the condition that city officials will work as one.

"Naniguro lang siya kay either way, it could be misconstrued man so he wants the City Council to endorse it and the congressmen and the mayor himself," said Oscar Canton, Osmeña's consultant.

Osmeña made the city the same offer six months ago but the same did not prosper because city officials could not reach an agreement.

In a letter he sent to the city recently, Osmeña said the city may access 6,000 cubic meters per day from springs in his properties in Barangays Taptap, Tagbao, and Lusaran.

"(It) is ready to be sourced immediately, provided, priority of supply be given to the mountain barangays and that this activity be endorsed by Congressmen (Raul) del Mar, (Rodrigo) Abellanosa, and the City Council," the letter reads.

Del Mar is the city's representative in the North District while Abellanosa is the representative in the South District.

To be clear, Canton said, Osmeña is giving the water for free and is even willing to spend for possible expenses, but it is up to the city whether or not it will charge for the distribution.

 "Because he (Osmeña) realized that this is not anymore a pending crisis but a real crisis that the city is experiencing, and that is why mayor has declared the city in a state of water emergency. He wants to help out," Canton said.

In a separate interview, Mayor Michael Rama said he has no problem with Osmeña's conditions.

"Because that's the good for the city that's why I'm bringing everybody to be involved," Rama said.

Rama will meet with government and private sector representatives tomorrow, Monday, to discuss ways to address the emergency.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña of the opposition group, Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), said she welcomes the former governor's conditions but she and fellow BOPK members may not attend the emergency meeting with Rama since they were not invited.

"The City Council already declared a state of preparedness in anticipation of this situation several weeks ago. What did they do since then?" she said in a text message.

Rama said yesterday BOPK members are welcome to the meeting.

"At the end of the day, what matters is everybody is helping," he said. (FREEMAN)

 

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