By NITZ ARANCON
THE chairman of the board of the Cagayan de Oro Water District on Wednesday called on groups interested on giving the city’s water supply a boost to submit their proposals.
“Kinsa tong gusto mo-supply sa tubig sa COWD, anhi lang kamo kanamo, ug pag-submit sa inyong proposal kay among tun-an,” said COWD chairman Eduardo Montalvan.
Montalvan said this as he brushed off Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr.’s claim that the COWD gave a cooperative that supposedly wanted to supply treated water to the city the cold shoulder.
Montalvan called Lao’s claim a “lie,” pointing out that not a single cooperative in Region 10 went to the COWD in order to submit a formal proposal to supply bulk water.
A group of cooperatives however earlier announced plans to compete with the COWD. In an earlier report, Montalvan said the COWD would welcome the competition.
Montalvan admitted that the COWD is financially incapable of investing on a facility similar to what Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. built in Baungon, Bukidnon. The Rio Verde plant is now being managed and operated by the Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc. (Cobi), COWD’s lone bulk water supplier since January.
COWD’s financial limitations, according to Montalvan, is the reason why the water district struck a 2017 joint venture agreement with Metro Pacific Water Investments Corp. in order to boost the water supply in COWD’s service area.
The Metro Pacific-controlled Cobi is working to increase its daily delivery of treated water to COWD from 40 thousand to 60 thousand cubic meters before May 15. Ongoing repairs and installations have disrupted the water supply in the western areas for weeks now.
Montalvan’s pronouncements came even as Councilor Lao blamed the insufficient water supply in the city on the management of the COWD.
Lao said COWD, for years, did not prepare for the increase in the demand for treated water in the city.
He said there was no clear planning on the part of COWD and it did not open the bulk water supply to as many players as possible to ensure an abundant water supply in the city.
Lao said there was no difference in the management of the COWD under the then general manager Rachel Beja and her successor, Engr. Bienvenido Batar.
He said the water supply was insufficient during Beja’s watch and it has remained that way under Batar’s.
Lao said COWD’s finances have also become problematic that it supposedly failed to make good use of its reservoir in Barangay Camaman-an.
The problems, he said, could only be addressed by allowing more water suppliers to invest here.
Lao said a group of cooperatives was “snubbed” by the COWD when it expressed interest in supplying treated water, a claim denied by Montalvan.