COWD clarifies Water Fund from their budget, not City Hall

THE REGION
By MIKE BAÑOS
April 1, 2019

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The Cagayan de Oro City Water District has clarified that the P6 million fund for potable water supply development projects the City Council wants the water district to account for is actually funded by COWD.

As provided through Cagayan de Oro City Council Resolution No. 7732-2006, COWD voluntarily established a P6 million annual fund for various water system projects or water services improvement in the city and suspended the 10% surcharge on the “city water bills” which was passed and approved on Jan. 30, 2006.

“The fund is actually a token assistance from COWD meant to augment the city government’s and the barangay or school concerned funds for small water projects identified by the sitting Local Chief Executive (now Mayor Oscar S. Moreno),” explained COWD Acting General Manager Bienvenido V. Batar, Jr.

“We submit an annual report to the Office of the City Mayor on projects covered by this fund and anyone who wishes to look into the details of these projects can submit a request to his office,” he added.

Earlier, Councilor Edna Dahino, chair of the City Council Committee on Budget, Finance and Appropriation of the City Council requested COWD for an immediate accounting of the P6 million per year fund which totals P78 million for the past 13 years.

Among the city councilors who endorsed the resolution were incumbent city councilors Annie Daba, Ian Mark Nacaya, Zaldy Ocon and former city councilors Jose Benjamin Benaldo, Alvin Calingin, Edgar Cabanlas, Alfonso Goking, Maryanne Enteria, Simeon Licayan, and Alexander Dacer.

Batar cited the recent experience of the Suntingon Elementary School at Reyes Main Road in Barangay Bugo which had been reported to have a water problem by the Check My School program through the DepEd School District Superintendent due to the relatively high elevation of the school.

“Mayor Moreno referred the project to us for possible funding through our fund allocated for such special projects. Our technical department surveyed the area and COWD constructed a cistern to stock water, a pipeline to pipe it to the higher elevation where it was stored in a water tank and distributed to the various classrooms and buildings downhill by gravity,” Batar noted.

Batar said Mayor Moreno evaluates the requests for such water projects from barangays, schools for water supply systems, pipeline extensions and the like, and endorses to the COWD which ones he considers the priority projects to be funded from the P6 million annual fund.

COWD then prepares the program of works and other related documentations, fund and implements the priority projects from its P6 million annual fund.

Batar further clarified that COWD does not receive any form of subsidy from either the local or national government.

“COWD relies solely on its water sales to fund its operations and implement improvements and expansion projects,” Batar noted. “The only payment the city makes to the water district is for the monthly bills incurred by city hall and its various offices.

In the City Mayor’s Annual Report for 2018, the City of Cagayan de Oro is listed as having undertaken the construction of five water supply systems in barangays Balubal, FS Catanico, Lumbia, Mambuaya, and Tuburan;  two water improvement projects in Barangays Cugman and Tumpagon; and the rehabilitation/construction, and expansion of the water system in Barangay Taglimao.

These were undertaken by the Office of the City Engineer through the Barangay Panubig Project Point Person Engr. Sid  Obligado, who has subsequently been assigned as the current City Building Official.

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