By LITO RULONA, Correspondent .
THE board of directors of the Cagayan de Oro Water District has fired the water distribution firm’s general manager, COWD chairman Eduardo Montalvan confirmed yesterday.
Montalvan said COWD general manager Rachel Beja was replaced by her assistant, Engr. Beinvenido Batar Jr..
“Jong (Batar) should have been the general manager a long time ago,” said Montalvan.
According to Montalvan, Engr. Beja continued reporting for work despite the COWD board’s decision until yesterday when she was advised to vacate the general manager’s office.
“I was informed that she no longer showed up today,” Montalvan said.
He said Batar has already taken over as COWD general manager and he has been managing the water district since March 1.
Asked why Beja was removed, Montalvan said, “All I can say is, it’s loss of trust and confidence. That’s all I can say right now.”
Over local radio, Beja said the COWD board decided to terminate her services on the grounds of loss of trust and confidence but she said she has brought the matter to the attention of the Civil Service Commission on Tuesday.
Beja hinted that she would put up a legal fight as she questioned her dismissal and asserted that she is a government employee with rights protected based on civil service rules.
She said she has also continued reporting for work, pointing out that she has disputed the COWD board’s decision before the CSC and would wait for its decision.
“Wala ko gihawa sa akong opisina bisan wala ko’y specific function,” she told local radio.
According to Beja, she received the termination order in Feb. 21, and she was only given a week to vacate the position.
She said the board also stopped her from signing administrative and financial documents of the COWD.
Beja said there was no official turnover of her office to anyone.
She spoke of a conflict between the COWD board and the management that surfaced in Jan. 8 when she was “scolded” for supposedly being disrespectful.
“They cited three incidents ngano daw ko disrespectful sa ila,” she said.
Beja said the first was when she had the joint venture agreement between COWD and Metro Pacific Water Investments Corp. reviewed last year. She said the COWD board questioned why she had it reviewed by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.
“Disrespectful kuno ko kay makadaut sa imahen sa water district,” she said.
Beja said the second was when she and other COWD managers went to Cebu on Dec. 13, 2017 to discuss the water district’s budget. She said it was a managerial discretion and despite being informed about it, the Cebu trip did not sit well with the directors.
The third, according to Beja, was when the COWD hosted a thanksgiving party and planning activity for the water district’s partners. She said Montalvan questioned the program. “Gusto sa chairman of the board nga dili siya ang mag-welcome sa maong program but he should be the main speaker.”
Beja said she was unaware that the program hurt Montalvan’s feelings “kay gi-bypass kuno siya.”
She added: “Pagkahuman, they lost their trust and confidence na sa akoa.”
Beja said she has spent 26 years of her career in the COWD where she rose from being an ordinary worker until she secured her engineering license and became general manager.