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Engr. Joffrey Hapitan, President and CEO of Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc stresses a point

Engr. Joffrey Hapitan, President and CEO of Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc stresses a point in a file photo of the Mindanao Reporter.

City Council OKs Rio Verde Bid to Directly Supply Water to COWD

Cagayan de Oro City, April 8, 2024_With fifteen positive votes against two nays and one abstention, the city's Sangguniang Panglungsod approved a resolution to allow Rio Verde to directly supply water to the city's residents after April 12 this year.

In Resolution No. 2024-692, the City Council, in a special session Monday, approved and interposed no objection to the application of Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. to directly provide end to end Level III water to CDO's 80 barangays.

In a request, Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. President and CEO Engineer Joffrey Hapitan asked the city's legislative body to give the green light for Rio Verde to supply water amidst a looming crisis.

The present bulk water supplier, Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc. or COBI, has demanded, in four notices, that the Cagayan de Oro City Water District or COWD pay its outstanding collectibles amounting to P426 million to COBI or face disconnection of water supply after April 12, Friday.

COWD refuses to pay COBI, stating that the COWD's Board of Directors has not issued a resolution approving the payment. On the other hand, COBI wrote the 20th City Council that it will pursue "all legal remedies" but did not state in its letter whether or not it will disconnect their water service supply to COWD.

"We are not taking any chances, so we held a special session today (because of the disconnection threat)," said Majority Floor Leader Edgar Cabanlas.

Councilor Cabanlas is co-chairman of the task force created by Mayor Rolando "Klarex" Uy to establish contingency measures to ensure a sustainable water supply to the city's households in case of a COBI disconnection to COWD.

Certifying as urgent his request, Mayor Uy told the City Council that the resolution of objection is a legal requirement for the National Water Resources Board or NWRB to issue a permit for Rio Verde to supply water to COWD. Uy added that the City Legal Office sees no legal impediment to the resolution as the NWRB has the authority to issue such permit.

In 2007, Rio Verde was the first bulk water supplier to COWD until a court voided their contract and the Commission on Audit then ruled that the transactions between the two were 'held without legal basis'.

Councilor Cabanlas was quick to explain that the COA ruling applies only to COWD being a government owned or controlled corporation or GOCC. " We, (the City Goverment), are not part of the contract between Rio Verde and COWD and between COWD and COBI, " disclosed Cabanlas.

Cagayan de Oro City Councilor and Majority Floor Leader Edgar Cabanlas at work as co-chairman of the task force on water supply. Photo from Edgar Cabanlas FB page.


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