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CDO Council Grants Mayor Uy Emergency Powers

By Mona Lagbas

Cagayan de Oro City,May 1, 2024_ In a special session Wednesday, the City Council granted Mayor Rolando "Klarex" Uy special emergency powers to address the city's looming water crisis.

With four abstentions and no objections, the Sangguniang Panglungsod adopted Executive Order No. 196-2024 declaring the City of Cagayan de Oro under a state of emergency and gave the local chief executive special emergency powers to address the water supply issue.

In earlier discussions before the reading of five proposed resolutions, City Councilor Rustico Ian Achas expressed his concerns, among others, on why the Cagayan de Oro Water District or COWD refuses to pay its obligations to the Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc.or COBI, thus creating a water supply crisis in the city.

For her part, Councilor Imee Moreno questioned the absence of the members of the COWD Board of Directors during a series of meetings between COWD, COBI, and the Local Water Utilities Administration or LWUA regarding this water supply issue saying that the BOD could help much in resolving this situation that is stressing Kagay-anons.

Councilor Girlie Balaba then manifested that it is not stipulated in the contract between COWD and COBI that COBI can cut off its water supply to COWD if COWD's obligations to COBI are not paid. Majority Floor Leader Edgar Cabanlas clarified that the main issue is that Kagay-anons are being "jeopardised", adding that emergency powers for the city mayor would pave the way for an immediate solution to this crisis.

In a separate resolution, the City Council requested the COWD to make an emergency purchase of bulk water from Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc., South Balibago Resources Inc., JE Hydro and Bio-Energy Corporation, Mindanao Cooperatives Water Service Federation and other independent water concessionaire, to ensure the continued supply and distribution of bulk water in the city due to the decision of COBI to cease supplying bulk water to COWD effective May 1, 2024. Also resolved was the declaration as persona non grata the management of the Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc., COBI, for its decision to cut off its bulk water supply to COWD. The final resolution approved last night was the request for the Commission on Audit to look into the contract between COWD and COBI.


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