Cebu News

Resolution of MCWD bod row: Mayor Rama pins hope on new LWUA chief executive

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — New hope sprung for the Cebu City government that the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) Board of Directors (BOD) leadership issue would finally be resolved, following President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s appointment of a new acting administrator and chief executive officer of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

In a press conference yesterday, Mayor Mike Rama said a source in Manila provided him a picture of the order dated February 19 stating that Atty. Vicente Homer Revil is being replaced with Jose Moises Salonga.

The order was coursed through the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

LWUA chairman Ronnie Ong also confirmed to The Freeman yesterday that Revil was indeed replaced as their administrator.

“Yes po, yes po. We have received the appointment papers of Malacañang yesterday (Friday), noontime,” he said, adding that they do not know the reason behind it.

“Wala pong sinabi. Basta, we were actually caught by surprise by the appointment…. So, yun lang, yun lang,” he added.

Rama said he was hopeful that the new LWUA administrator would bring harmony and would finally resolve the situation with the MWCD Board.

“We hope against hope,” he said.

Rama was referring to the current situation where Atty. Jose Daluz III (as chairman), Miguelito Pato, and Jodelyn Seno (as members) are still claiming they are members of the BOD and even conduct their own BOD meetings despite Mayor Rama firing them October last year.

Rama then replaced them with retired general Melquiades Feliciano (as chairman) and Atty. Aristotle Batuhan and businessman Nelson Yuballos (as members), so that in effect two BODs are holding their separate meetings.

The other two MCWD BOD members, lawyers Earl Bonachita and Danilo Ortiz, have sided with Feliciano’s BOD and refused to join meetings with Daluz’s BOD. Daluz, Pato, and Seno, though, enjoy the support of the MCWD officials and employees.

The LWUA plays a crucial role in selecting the composition of the MCWD BOD, as it has jurisdiction over the water utility.

In its webpage, LWUA identifies itself as a “government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) with a specialized lending function mandated by law to promote and oversee the development of water supply systems in provincial cities and municipalities outside of Metropolitan Manila”.

Last year, then Cebu City Attorney Jerone Castillo requested from LWUA the issuance of a "Certificate of No Objection" relative to Rama's removal of Daluz, Pato, and Seno from the MCWD BOD.

In response, Revil, in his capacity as LWUA administrator, and Atty. Roberto San Andres, LWUA legal department manager, said that local executives have no authority to remove the chairperson and members of the BOD of a water district.

With that, Daluz reiterated that they would not step down from the MCWD BOD, saying they might be charged with abandonment of their post.

Prior to that letter, LWUA’s Board of Trustees (BOT) had supposedly decided to take action on the MCWD BOD situation as part of its mandate as the primary regulatory body of the country’s local water utilities.

It was learned that as early as September 28, the LWUA BOT passed Resolution 35 where they agreed that LWUA should partially intervene in the MCWD operations for six months.

All BOT members, except for Revil, voted in favor of the said resolution, which supposedly had the effect of suspending Daluz and the entire MCWD Board for a period of six months and allowing the LWUA board to name temporary replacements, to prevent a water crisis in MCWD’s franchise area.

Accordingly, the resolution would have also allowed MCWD stakeholders, including the Cebu City Government, to name permanent replacements for Daluz and the members of the board within six months.

Despite the resolution being approved by the board, it has not been issued to MCWD allegedly because not all LWUA BOT members signed it.

According to Philippine Star’s sources, Ong reprimanded LWUA BOT secretary Danilo Beleno Jr. for pulling out the resolution while it was being routed for signature by the other BOT members, allegedly without Ong’s consent.

Beleno, meanwhile, has reportedly accused Ong of physically attacking him, which Ong denied.

Last Friday, on the eve of the 87th Cebu City Charter Day celebration, Rama received a copy of the president’s order replacing Revil with Salonga.

Revil, a former vice governor of Masbate, was appointed by President Marcos on Feb. 6, 2023.

Although the order that he be replaced was dated Feb. 19, Salonga was only sworn into office last Friday.

Salonga’s appointment was coursed thru the DENR since LWUA is now being supervised by the department following President Marcos’ creation of the Water Resource Management Office DENR Undersecretary Carlos Primo David.

LWUA used to be supervised by DPWH until the creation of the WRMO through Executive Order 22.

Based on available information about Salonga, he has spent his entire career as a lawyer in the energy sector, starting at the executive offices of the National Power Corporation (NPC), where he helped NPC back to profitability.

Yesterday, when asked whether Salonga is already aware of the MCWD situation, Ong said Salonga has yet to report since he took oath only last Friday.

“What we will do is when the new administrator reports, we will have our discussions with him. Meron naman talagang pending resolution from the BOT, para magkaroon ng enforcement. We will discuss first…. Hindi ko pa siya nakakausap, We’ll see from there,” Ong said. — (FREEMAN)

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with