By LITO RULONA
CAGAYAN de Oro Water District general manager Rachel Beja has appealed to councilors not to pursue plans to go to court in an effort to nullify the water district’s agreement with the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned Metro Pacific Water Investments Corp., saying the city’s water consumers would be the ones badly affected by it.
Beja told a news conference on Thursday that the COWD invited Metro Pacific to invest in order to ensure efficiency and improve the supply and distribution of treated water in the city.
She said the COWD had to look for other sources of treated water given that the water district and the present bulk water supplier, Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc., have already mutually agreed to terminate their over a decade-old contract.
COWD has long sought to void its contract with Rio Verde but a regional court has yet to decide on the case. Early this year, Rio Verde sent COWD a notice to end the contract following an agreement that they would drop their legal dispute.
A proposed agreement is still being reviewed by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel. If approved, they would submit it for court action.
Beja said she aknowledges the right of anyone to go to court, and there is nothing COWD can do to prevent it.
“Wala kami’y mahimo pero atong gi-awhag atong mga opisyales sa syudad nga usa kini ka babag nga molambo ang atong water district,” Beja said. “Dili kami kapugong ni bisan kinsa nga mo-file og sumbong pero nagahangyo kami nga dili na lamang tungod kay daghan ang maapektahan.”
Councilor Leon Gan has threatened to file a case for the annulment of contract signed by COWD-Metro Pacific last month, saying there was no public consultation.
Gan said it was made with the consent of Mayor Oscar Moreno and other local officials who were present during the signing of the joint venture agreement at the Makati Shangri-La.
Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr., chairman of the city council’s public utilities committee, said he has asked COWD and Metro Pacific executives to furnish the committee a copy of their contract.
But Beja said she cannot release copies of the agreement without the approval of the COWD board of directors and Metro Pacific.
“We are still waiting approval from them. Dili pud namo ma-release ang copy of the contract if they will not allow the management,” she said.
Meanwhile, Beja said shortcuts were not made and that COWD followed the guidelines such as the “public challenge”rule set by the National Economic Development Authority.
Beja said Metro Pacific submitted an offer, and no one “challenged” the offer. She said it was widely publicized.