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Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr. GSD FILE PHOTO BY NITZ ARANCON

COWD chair on Lao claims: ‘Fake news’

By NITZ ARANCON
Correspondent .

THE chairman of the Cagayan de Oro Water District yesterday turned the tables on a councilor for claiming that the COWD has agreed to allow the group of Manny Pangilinan to engage in water distribution here five years from now.

Without naming Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr., COWD chairman Eduardo Montalvan labeled the councilor’s assertions as “fake news.”

On Tuesday, Lao asserted that the 2017 joint venture agreement between COWD and Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Water Investments Corp. provides that the latter would be involved in water distribution here after five years of supplying treated water to the utility.  That, according to Lao, is the second phase of the COWD-Metro Pacific agreement.

Lao said the third phase comes after that: the Pangilinan group would supposedly take part in the management of COWD.

He said this was confirmed by dismissed COWD manager Rachel Beja during a meeting of the city council’s public utilities on Tuesday.

“It’s not true that Metropac would distribute water or get involved in the COWD management. That’s fake news,” said Lao.

This paper has been asking Lao to show or cite a provision in the 2017 agreement to support his claims. Lao, who claimed to have a copy of the COWD-Metro Pacific agreement, has not cited any as of this writing.

“Wala g’yud ’na sa contract,” said COWD general manager Bienvenido Batar Jr..

Batar said he suspected that the COWD’s five-percent share in the Cagayan de Oro Bulkwater Inc. (Cobi) may have been misunderstood to mean that Metro Pacific would involve itself in managing the COWD.

Cobi is the COWD’s new bulk water supplier. It was created as a result of the 2017 COWD-Metro Pacific agreement.

Batar said, “COWD has a five-percent share in Cobi. If it earns, COWD would earn, too. But to say that Metropac or Cobi would engage in water distribution or in managing the COWD is wrong.”

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