By LITO RULONA
A COOPERATIVE leader here yesterday said the group that once petitioned to turn the Cagayan de Oro Water District into a cooperative is just waiting for Mayor Oscar Moreno’s cue.
Dr. Anselmo Mercado, chairman of the First Community Cooperative Community Outreach Foundation, said city hall should take the lead in fixing the COWD.
“If the local government wants us to initiate, then we can initiate. But it has to start with them,” said Mercado, convenor of a group of cooperatives that campaigned and petitioned to take over the COWD during the Jaraula administration.
The cooperatives wanted to pool their resources and run COWD like a cooperative but the campaign did not prosper due to the lack of local government support at that time.
Mercado said city hall can opt to manage and run COWD itself but it has to infuse fresh capital into the public utility company.
He said, “If the city government really wants good services, then they have to fund it to resolve the issue of poor services. It can become a partnership with a cooperative.”
Another option, he said, is for COWD to be privatized. Under privatization, it can either be run by a company or a cooperative.
But Mercado said he prefers to see COWD under the ownership of the people — the water consumers.
“It takes many months to prepare. But by doing this, we can improve the management of COWD,” he said.
Mercado said the mayor and the city council can disband the COWD board and replace its management with a cooperative.
“It is a local issue and we don’t think that it needs approval by the Congress. The local chief executive can make the city council disband the COWD board of directors and the management group. They can appoint or replace them with a cooperative to manage, and this can be done locally,” he said.
Mercado said the controversy surrounding COWD and bulk water supplier Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. has been discussed in the Cagayan de Oro Advisory Cooperative Council.
“We already started discussing the controversy. But the real issue with COWD is its services to the people. They could not improve the services because they don’t have enough funds. Wala man sila’y funds to improve their facilities,” he said.