By NITZ ARANCON
MAYOR Oscar Moreno over the weekend called on Cagayan de Oro Water District officials and employees to observe professionalism amid what he called as “internal bickerings” that he feared could affect the utility’s operations.
Moreno said he hoped “that the men and women of COWD will observe professionalism in the highest order. We cannot allow the operations of COWD to be mired by internal bickerings.”
The mayor said this after COWD chairman Eduardo Montalvan confirmed that Engr. Rachel Beja was dismissed by the water district’s five-person board of directors for “loss of trust and confidence” and that her assistant, Engr. Bienvenido Batar Jr., took over as COWD general manager effective March 1.
Beja has gone to the Civil Service Commission to question the COWD’s decision.
Moreno said the decision of the COWD board “was purely its own, and based on grounds the Board had independently assessed.”
He said he respects the independence of the COWD board, “and I recognize that the members’ loyalty is not owed to the appointing power, but rather to the company (COWD).”
This, he said, is a fundamental rule in corporations.
The COWD directors are appointed by the city mayor.
“I do hope, however, that the situation will be resolved in a friendly manner soon,” reads part of Moreno’s statement.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the city council’s public utilities committee, Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr., criticized the COWD board’s decision to boot Beja out of the water district.
Rather, he said, the members of the COWD board composed of Montalvan, Mateo Delegencia, Soc Anthony del Rosario, Concepcion Quiblat and Dr. Hilly Roa Quiaoit “should resign.”
All the COWD directors unanimously approved Beja’s dismissal.
“Dili man competent sa ilang katungdanan nang mga membro sa board of directors sa COWD kay dili man sila experts sa water services. Sila unta ang miesign,” Lao said.
But Lao was soft on the new COWD general manager, Engr. Batar, saying he has competence and years of experience if the COWD “unlike the inexperienced directors of COWD.”
“Walay experience unsa-on ang mag-manage ug pag-decision sa water services sa Cagayan de Oro. Kay ngano, kon magpa-agas tag tubig, nagkinahanglan ba di-ay tag abogado o professor?” he asked rhetorically.
Lao said reforms in the COWD would start if the mayor is stripped of the legal authority to appoint members of the water district’s board. He called it “kinara-an” and “wala ma mosibo ning bag-ong henerasyon sa panginahanglan sa water supply.”