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Town residents enjoy water service despite legal battle
Mayor Danilo Diamante said the municipality has been operating the water system since July last year pending resolution of the petition to rescind the joint venture deal.

Town residents enjoy water service despite legal battle

Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - January 24, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Residents of the Municipality of Tuburan are enjoying sufficient water supply despite an ongoing legal battle in court.

Mayor Danilo Diamante said the municipality has been operating the water system since July last year pending resolution of the petition to rescind the joint venture deal.

Diamante said the municipal government had spent P8 million for the repiping and improvement of the water system. The project was completed last month, making water available 24/7 to consumers.

The Regional Trial Court in Toledo City did not proceed with the pre-trial of the petition last Friday after defendant, SAVS Tuburan Water Corp., asked to resolve first its affirmative defenses to the complaint.

Atty. Donato Villa Jr., the counsel for the Municipality of Tuburan, said the move further delays the case that was filed in court on March 3, 2020.

“Pending lang una, sunod hearing March 12 para pre-trial,” Villa said.

Atty. Rodulfo Dacalos Jr., also a counsel for the municipality, said he is hoping the court will deny the affirmative defenses of SAVS Tuburan Water Corp.

Dacalos said the court earlier denied the injunctive relief, citing general welfare.

“Di man pwede ang mga tawo mag-suffer sa failure to perform sa obligation,” Villa added.

In a complaint, the municipality alleged that within the two-year period of operation by the defendant, the water service of the Tuburan has become very poor and the improvement that was promised was never materialized.

Aside from poor service, sometime in 2017, the water was also allegedly positive of fecal coliform organism based on water analysis conducted by the Provincial Laboratory of the Provincial Health Office.

SAVS Tuburan Water Corp. president Arlene Villaroel issued a final demand to cease and desist from performance of any act of interference and/or obstruction in the operation and management of the company against the municipal government.

The demand letter dated July 3, 2020 was sent to Diamante and all members of the municipal council, the municipal treasurer and 42 barangay captains.

Villaroel has clarified that the joint venture dated December 1, 2016 and concession agreement dated April 25, 2017 entered into by the company and the municipality of Tuburan has not been declared null and void and remains to this day valid and effective.

WATER SYSTEM
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