Minority bloc urges Rama, Daluz’s camps to get their acts together

POLITICIANS involved in the ongoing conflict between Cebu City Hall and the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) should come together and resolve their issues as soon as possible to prevent negative consequences for consumers.

This was the appeal of some members of the minority bloc in Cebu City amid the tension between the camps of Mayor Michael Rama and MCWD Board of Directors (BOD) Chairman Jose Daluz III.

City Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos urged Rama and Daluz to refocus their efforts on the people and deescalate the situation.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu on Sunday, June 25, 2023, de los Santos said that both the City and MCWD should work together for the greater good of the city, as well as of other towns under MCWD’s franchise area. MCWD serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay, and the municipalities of Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion and Cordova.

“What complicates the present situation is, as we all already know, the ugly head of politics forcing itself in the mix,” said de los Santos.

Fellow Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan party mate and City Councilor Nestor Archival said he’s concerned about the conflict between City Hall and MCWD, emphasizing the importance of both parties working together to avoid negative effects on consumers.

Archival urged City Hall and MCWD to prioritize consumer needs by ensuring timely implementation of projects.

The conflict between City Hall and MCWD came to light in May when City Legal Officer Jerone Castillo announced Rama’s decision to remove Daluz and appoint Miguelito Pato, the current BOD vice chairman, as Daluz’s replacement.

Castillo said Rama’s decision stemmed from MCWD’s “unsatisfactory” preparation against the threat of El Niño.

On May 22, City Hall demanded that the BOD submit legal formalities regarding Pato’s installation as the new chairman, but the board deferred discussing the matter during its June 2 meeting.

Daluz previously mentioned two reasons Rama wants him out as chairman: first, the board’s refusal to privatize MCWD, and second, his personal suggestions on the political succession of their party coalition.

In a press conference on June 16, Castillo recommended the removal of Daluz, Pato and Jodelyn May Seno, all of whom were appointed by the late Mayor Edgardo Labella in 2020.

On June 19, Seno disclosed that a meeting took place at Rama’s house in February, attended by representatives from PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp., a company owned by the Villar family.

Daluz recently said Rama’s actions against MCWD have started to affect the water district’s operations, citing the example of a water supply project for Barangay Mambaling, which has been stalled after City Hall revoked the extraction permit issued to MCWD.

“It’s disturbing to learn that this disagreement is now beginning to interfere with MCWD’s operations and projects,” said de los Santos.