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Cebu News

As Gov. Garcia recognizes Daluz as board chairman: Capitol inks pact with MCWD to avert supply loss

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Le Phyllis F. Antojado-Orillaneda - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu provincial government yesterday signed an interim agreement with the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to prevent a disruption in the supply of water for six Cebu towns and cities, with the impending termination of the contract with bulk water supplier Cebu Manila Water Development (CMWD).

This developed as Garcia said she recognized Jose “Joey” Daluz III as the true chairman of MCWD board amid the controversy hounding the water district.

She called a meeting with the MCWD board, which Daluz leads as chairman, to discuss the water supply concern.

“So there will be no stoppage of the distribution of water. It is only that the contract has been terminated between CMWD and MCWD, and I shall propose that a new contract be entered into,” Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said in a press briefing yesterday.

She made the statement after she announced the termination of the contract between CMWD and MCWD effective Dec. 1.

CMWD is a joint venture between the Cebu Provincial Government and Manila Water Consortium, with the Capitol owning a 49-percent stake in the partnership.

CMWD supplies 35 million liters of water daily to MCWD from Luyang River in the town of Carmen Northern Cebu through CMWD.

If the water supply is cut-off tomorrow due to the termination of the contract, the towns of Compostela, Liloan, and Consolacion, as well as the cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Cebu, would have no water.

In a regular session yesterday, the Cebu Provincial Board gave Garcia the authority to negotiate with and buy water from CMWD, sell this to MWCD, and sign the contracts for such purpose.

And with the end of CMWD’s contract with MCWD, the Cebu Provincial Government intends to deal directly with MCWD for the continued supply of water to areas under Cebu province.

As immediate measure, the Province and MCWD signed the interim agreement to ensure that there is no disruption or dislocation or disturbance to the water supply.

“The Province of Cebu will purchase the water from the bulk water supplier, CMWD, then enter into an agreement…with MCWD,” the governor said.

Capitol and MCWD have formally signed the interim agreement as the “most doable solution” for the parties involved.

In essence, the Provincial Government will come into the picture as a government entity negotiating with MCWD as CMWD, a private-public partnership firm, terminates its contract with MCWD.

“The Province of Cebu comes in and deals directly with MCWD, a government-owned and controlled corporation, and offers to purchase the water from CMWD at the same price and sell it to MCWD at the same price,” the governor said.

The Capitol will purchase the water from CMWD at P24.59 per cubic meter and then will enter into an agreement with MCWD.

Garcia said the interim agreement will last until MCWD "shall be able to bid out and award the 35-milliom liters a day...which is the gap of water to be supplied that would occur with the termination of the contract between CMWD and MCWD".

She believes this as the correct path to take, especially since they have been working to ensure that the interest of the Province is protected.

The governor said that while the Capitol has undertaken this move based on legal grounds, she is also protecting the thousands of Cebuano consumers who are dependent on the water supply. — (FREEMAN)

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