Too much politics kills our water needs
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - October 21, 2019 - 12:00am

For our special presentation on our talk show “Straight from the Sky” we talk about the flavor of the month topic in this country, the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF). Thanks to Gov. Gwen Garcia’s quick response in preventing the importation of swine meat from places affected by ASF, today we are proud that Cebu is still free from ASF.

Meanwhile, we have as our special guest for tonight’s show Dr. Eduardo Oblena, National Meat Inspection Service regional director. We also discussed issues like why Cebu City no longer has a meat processing plant and where we can have a meat processing plant worthy of having animals slaughtered professionally. So please watch this very timely show on SkyCable’s channel 53 at 8 p.m. with replays on Wednesday and Saturday same time and channel. We also have replays on MyTV’s channel 30 at 9 p.m. Monday and at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.

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It turns out that I really had an invitation to The First 100 Days speech of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, but the invitation was sent to The FREEMAN office last Monday. First of all, I do not hold office there. I was told of this late Monday afternoon and I no longer had our messenger available. As I’m very busy with my work, I only realized that I forgot to get that invitation.

Last Friday afternoon, I asked my daughter to get it. It was only then that I realized that the event was scheduled for October 16, two days past already. For the record, all invitations for me should be sent either to JESA Management Office or to MyTV office because that’s where I hold office. So if I didn’t write anything on the 100 days of Labella, it is not my fault.

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It turned out that the members of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District’s (MCWD) board of directors will not yield to the termination order of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella who ordered their termination because of their supposed failure to solve the water shortage problem of the city and Metro Cebu. In a letter dated October 17, MCWD Board chairman Jose Mari Yu told Labella that “after a careful perusal of your termination letter, it is with deepest regret that the MCWD BOD, with the full support of the entire MCWD organization, cannot imprudently accede or comply to the same.”

As Yu pointed out, the order is “illegal and invalid” because it allegedly violates the provisions of the Philippine Constitution, Presidential Decree No. 198, as well as existing circulars and issuances and jurisprudence. In short what is happening to this issue has become a legal case and this means we can only wait until this legal issue is formally and finally resolved.

Meanwhile, I already warned Labella not to fill up the vacant slots of MCWD with another bunch of political allies because in the end, he isn’t solving the water problems. He should fill up those positions with people who aren’t politicians and are willing to find solutions to our water crisis. If there is anything that Yu said was true, it is that the water problems of Cebu was due to the fact that Cebuano politicians did not give any importance to our water needs.

If you folks didn’t know, the German government offered a huge grant to study Cebu’s water solutions. This money would have gone to MCWD, but unfortunately the mayor at that time wanted the money given to Cebu City, and the Germans did not agree. So we lost that huge grant thanks to a political leader who wanted a part of that money.

If you drove along the Transcentral Highway, you will get a glimpse of the Malubog Dam near the Biga Pit of the Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp. I knew of a group that wanted to tap that fresh surface water and pipe it to Cebu City, but again they approached a politician for support. But this politician only wanted the project for himself and threw out the group making that proposal.

Today, there is a group willing to invest in the Mananga Dam project, but if it is having a hard time getting the deal, it is because another group wants our water system to be privatized. Is this how we want to solve our water crisis in Cebu? I think not!

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